My Sol Got Me In Trouble
How I Spent My Cinco de Mayo
I am apologizing in advance to anyone I may offend and please note that I am expecting hate mail.
I don’t even know where to begin. It isn’t even the restaurant or the food that is giving me writer’s block. The food was perfectly decent, the staff was friendly and efficient, and the dining room was clean and tidy. I wasn’t even expecting authentic Mexican food in Noblesville, (confirmed by the red, green, and white chips we were served upon sitting down.) Dave and I had already been downtown for the past two days for the Mini Marathon and we did not have the energy nor the time to go the west side for truly authentic Mexican food.
I had found El Palenque on Urbanspoon and decided to try it. It was one particular review on Urbanspoon that convinced me that this may be the most authentic Mexican joint nearby. The review mentioned a Spanish-speaking staff and that on Sundays this restaurant had a big after church crowd. Another review mentioned outstanding tacos, and being a taco aficionado, I wasn’t going to be frightened away by an after church crowd on Cinco de Mayo.
Dave and I were welcomed by the already mentioned red, green, and white chips with salsa as soon as we sat down. We were handed menus, and our drink orders were taken. I ordered a lime margarita on the rocks, and Dave chose the Sol. It was approximately 12:03 and in my family, the saying goes, “Its noon somewhere!” Besides, it was Cinco de Mayo, and in my estimation, it is our duty as Americans to celebrate with adult beverages. (wink and nod)
The menu itself is pretty typical “Mexican” fare with chimichangas, burritos, and whatnot, but there was one half page of the menu that looked a little more authentic. I settled on three fish tacos served with onions and cilantro. I felt confident enough in the authenticity of the tacos to not to mention to the server to not give me sour cream. When I received my tacos, they were simply dressed with onions, cilantro, and lime wedges, just as advertised. They were marvelous. I noticed that the window in the front of the restaurant had a painted advertisement stating “Best Tacos in Town”, and indeed, they are probably the best tacos in Noblesville.
Now back to my margarita. It was a great margarita served in a big as your head glass rimmed with salt. Only problem, the aforementioned church crowd was the “no hair cutting, no make-up wearing, no bare skin showing, no-alcohol drinking variety.” So as I am sucking down my “devil juice” in a big as my head glass rimmed with salt, I was being stared at like I had literally sprouted horns on my head. Not just at first, the entire time I was there. As the contents of glass decreased the horns grew bigger much like Pinocchio’s nose. Dave and I kept nervously giggling, and mentally asking each other, “What dimension are we in?” Dave and I have been in many restaurants where no one spoke any English, restaurants in areas where we were slightly afraid that our car might not be where we left it when we were finished, and restaurants where we had no idea what we might have been eating. But I have never felt more uncomfortable than I did at that moment. The other situations just lend excitement to a food adventure. This was just unfortunate.
Dave’s View: I asked Andrea, “Do you know approximately where this place is located?” Her response, “Yeah, it’s just off State Road 37 on Conner Street.” There is no Conner Street off State Road 37. It’s Main Street that turns into Conner Street going to Noblesville. So if you go to this place, just remember, take the main road to Noblesville from State Road 37 and the constant bickering and arguing with your significant other will cease to exist before you enter your car. Garmin Andrea does not work.
We came to El Palenque Mexican Restaurant to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. We were greeted and escorted quickly to an open table. The place was getting full and I noticed one other patron drinking a Margarita. I decided, why not, let’s have a 32 ounce size of Sol beer to go with my meal. It’s Cinco de Mayo! Andrea and I ordered our drinks and a huge Margarita is placed in front of Andrea and a jug of Sol is placed in front of me. Yes, a jug, one quart of Sol beer. When a beer is bigger than your head, you know trouble is heading your way. So we’re sitting there looking around at the restaurant with its decorative foyer and interesting paintings on the wall. Then all of sudden, the church crowd enters.
Tables of full of couples with their children followed by aunts, uncles, and grandparents, plus their second cousins, followed by third and fourth cousins of the aunt and uncle, followed by step children from the first wife, plus the children of the second wife all having a great time until they see us drinking alcohol on a Sunday at 12:05, 16.1 seconds Eastern Standard Time. (Yes, I have a very accurate stopwatch in my head.) Now, if people had a small billboard that would protrude from the tops of their heads that would state what they were thinking, all of these church patrons billboards would say, “You are going to Hell.” The stare downs and the sideway glances on people’s face was priceless. I asked Andrea on why she thought there was so many church people here. Andrea replies, “Yeah, one review said there was a lot of church people here on Sunday.” Why didn’t you tell me this Andrea? Now, my Sol is getting me in trouble.
So Andrea and I are sitting at the devil’s table and I ordered the Chile Verde Pork. Before the plate came out, I was thinking that the pork would be chunk size. Well, they were chunk size if you were a small kitten. I looked down at this plate, thinking I was about to eat my cat’s 9 Lives tender slices of pork. It literally looked like they went into my pantry at home, opened the can and plopped it down on the plate. The dish has a spicy kick that was pleasant, but the so-called “chunks” of pork were too small and were overcooked. The side dishes of rice and beans were typical and the tortillas were sticking to each other. What I really wanted to do was to eat so fast that the green sauce would be dribbling out the side of my mouth and then slowly, I would spin my head around, spew, and rise above the table. But it didn’t happen. I think, though, the church goers were prepared if it did happen.
The service here is fantastic and they don’t care what walk of life you come from. They treat everybody equal. They will sit you down, get you a jug of beer, and have other people sprinkle Holy water on you as you eat. Just wear dark sunglasses on Sundays. Your insecurities will be protected.
Service: 9 Food: 6 Ambiance: 8 Total: 23 out of 30
$25-$35 will large adult beverages