In all previous trips to Australia, we had actively avoided eating any Mexican food. The logic was: why would we eat Mexican food here when we can have great Mexican food (for obvious reasons, like proximity to Mexico) back in the U.S.? But in recent years, there’s been a huge surge in Mexican restaurants in Australia. Each time we’d come back, I’d notice more and more. I never seriously looked at the menus, but it was clear that the interest and trend were growing here.
Chris’s cousins organized a cousins dinner nearby for us, as they were being considerate and thoughtful that we had a baby, so they wanted to pick a restaurant that would be a quick drive back in case Kaia got too fussy with Chris’s parents on their own with her. I knew it was Mexican and didn’t really think much of it until we got to the restaurant. It was certainly outfitted the way you’d stereotypically imagine, with sombreros, brightly colored paintings, and cactus everywhere. When I opened the menu, I thought… oh great. There’s lots of things I’d expect on the menu, so I stuck with what seemed safe — two tacos, shrimp and fish, plus a nonalcoholic coconut/lime/pineapple drink.
Chris got jackfruit tacos, so we sort of shared our food. The tacos were absolutely horrendous – at least, the jackfruit ones were. They were mushy, the sauce was disgusting, and they were clearly canned jackfruit pieces. The shrimp and fish ones were decent, but considering how much they cost, I feel l like I could have made better Mexican food as a child than this. And the service was even worse than the food: they took our orders but warned us that the kitchen AND the bar were closing in the next 15 minutes (at 8pm?! We had just arrived at around 7:15!), so we had to make up our mind on regular food, drink, AND desserts then and there. The food took ages to arrive, and they arrived with our drinks and jugs of water. We had nothing to drink, not even basic water, until all the food arrived. I couldn’t even remember experiencing service so awful at a restaurant until that evening.
I normally never say anything about restaurants when it comes to Chris’s family’s gatherings because the main focus is not really the food — it’s about all of us getting together and catching up. Plus, I’m not technically a cousin, so why should my opinion overrule anyone? But after that experience… the next time someone tries to suggest Mexican here, I’m definitely going to have to chime in and veto it.