Now I’ve been to the Tequila bar twice, once when I was first staring this food blog—so long ago—and once just recently. Both experiences were definitely positive, but for different reasons. I’ll talk about the first one first, and get to the actual review of the food last.
A new friend took me here as a thank you for helping her out filling out new hire paperwork for a new job as a medical transcriber. Mary and I had never met before, but a family member who is visually impaired introduced us over Facebook and since I only live a few blocks away, and do paperwork like this for a living, offered to help. Mary is totally blind and so is her roommate. It seemed like hours passed filling out the same information, name, DOB, SSN, address, over and over and over again on 20 or more pages of legal documents. We finished the task, and as I excused myself, they offered to take me to lunch as a thank you.
This lead to some interesting topics of conversation that I have previously not thought about: the restaurant experience for the blind. Their first criteria for dining was the location, mainly if they knew how to navigate their way there safely. Second was the menu, did they have a Braille menu? Was the waiter patient enough to read them everything on the menu? Their third criteria was how the staff treated those that couldn’t see.
I drove them this time, so the navigation wasn’t an issue, so that made the menu a priority. Tequila Grill doesn’t have a Braille menu, but apparently few places do. The waiters had been patient at some point and described the menu for them, so they were ready. The food escapes me now, I think I got some brunch omelet, and commented that the place was full of pre/post-church goers. There were a few tidbits that make this breakfast stick in my mind, one being that the waitress treated them as she did everyone else, with respect and politeness. The second was the use of touch that the waiters used with Mary. In the service industry, it’s inconceivable to touch a guest at all unless it’s a friendly pat on the back or a hand shake. These folks were directing Mary’s had to the glass of water once they refilled it, and touched the plate and silverware with their hands so they knew where everything else was. Amazing and thoughtful.
Anyhow, I have been made more aware to the difficulty of the blind, and it bears more thought. If going to get something to eat is this complicated, imagine commuting 30 miles by public transportation to a new job.
Now back to the food! This time around I went with an old friend from college days. After I managed to sway people away from the fru fru mango or raspberry margaritas, we got a hugantic pitcher of a top shelf margaritas for just $25! Much better choice, and here was more than enough to go around for the three of us.
I ordered the steak fajitas, hoping that they came on that super fun sizzling platter, like they sometimes do, and I was not disappointed. The steak was a bit stringy, and a bit over cooked, but the seasonings were good. I’ve never had fajitas that had tomatoes before, but it was a welcome addition. There were all the fixings on a separate plate, the tortillas, beans, rice, salsa, and lettuce. I did have to ask for more than the three tortillas they gave me, but they at least came out quickly.
Our house guest got the tortilla soup, asking the waitress if it was enough for a whole meal. She got the polite response “Depends on how hungry you are.” Turns out that it was the perfect amount of food for her, even though she ate most of my leftover fajitas as well. It was just the right thickness and spiciness, really chickeny and with a depth of flavor. The limes and avocado were a nice touch too.
We also tried the sopa, it’s basically a thick, fried corn tortilla filled with all the tasty goodness that might come inside a burrito. Yummers!
This restaurant looks like it was once a 1950s diner, with a long counter, and a wheel ticket holder in the middle. Anyone know what this place was before? I’d be curious to see if my guess was correct.
There weren’t too many people here on a Saturday night, maybe 10 or so, but with so many choices for good Mexican food in San Leandro, how do people make their choices? Sounds like they do a lot more business Saturday and Sunday mornings with their breakfast menu.
No website to link to (maybe I should offer my limited web design skills for these locals, eh?) but their menu is available through a third party.
Tequila Grill: 2.1 miles roundtrip
Total traveled so far: 24 miles