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Not-so-happy hour

June 23, 2010

At the end of a long day, you can’t go wrong with a good happy hour. Cold drinks, hot food — what else do you need?

There are tons of restaurants within walking distance of my apartment and for our inaugural roommate happy hour, we checked out the scene at Tia Queta, just across the street. (This is actually one of two Mexican restaurants right across the street — we’re lucky girls!)

I was attracted to Tia Queta after reading about its rooftop patio. Gotta love open air dining! We arrived shortly after happy hour ended and before the dinner rush, and were greeted by a server (or manager?) who looked like she’d rather be doing anything besides seating us.

“You can sit here, I guess,” she said, gesturing to one of several empty tables. Gee, lady, thanks for taking the time to seat us. Sorry if having more customers inconveniences you.

Once we got our drinks, we were happy campers  – Brittany with a margarita and me with sangria-in-a-boot.

The brief shining moment that was delicious drinks quickly disappeared. Our complimentary chips-and-salsa consisted of oversalted chips clearly from a bag and salsa that fell short on spice.

For dinner, I went with the vegetarian enchiladas: “Folded tortillas with vegetables and spices.”

Okay, you know those frozen bags of mixed vegetables at the grocery store?

That is seriously what these enchiladas were stuffed with, plus some bell peppers.

The accompanying rice was tasty but the refried beans were disgusting. I love my beans — there are about six cans, including one of refried black beans, sitting in my cabinets right now — but even I couldn’t scrape this up. Blech.

Meanwhile, neither the woman who eventually proved to be our server nor the original woman who “greeted” us at the door ever so much as smiled. Every exchange was with an unhappy expression, despite Brittany and I consistently saying “thank you” and being polite.

We finally just started laughing about it because, well, it was ridiculous.

The verdict: If you’re looking for tasty drinks and a low-key atmosphere, Tia Queta is a great spot. Enjoy the breeze while sitting on the roof.

If you want good food and friendly staff, go somewhere else. There’s a claim that Bethesda has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in the United States. Avoid places that don’t appreciate your business–or don’t live up to your standards–and try somewhere new.

I’m happy to say that the other Mexican place across the street is both delicious and amiable. We’ll definitely be going there next time the tacos-and-sangria craving hits — and it hits a lot.

Have you ever experienced rude service at a restaurant? How do you deal with it?

16 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    June 23, 2010 5:28 pm

    Actually, Tia Queta used to be really amazing, but changed owners about five years ago. It used to be the only restaurant my Mexican-raised dad considered acceptable. The chef would gladly make whatever you wanted, even if it wasn’t on the menu. And the chips and tortillas were made in-house. I think the only thing the new owners kept were the leather menu cases.

    • June 23, 2010 7:27 pm

      Wow, very interesting! I *love* Mexican food and this was possibly the worst I’ve ever had. (I say that having never eaten Taco Bell… 😉 )

  2. Kristin permalink
    June 23, 2010 8:39 pm

    I was going to say, sad that it was terrible because the menus are SO COOL–but like Carolyn said, they’re leftover from original owners, so nevermind. That looked disgusting! Mexican food is my fave, and I would not eat enchiladas made with corn and carrots. WTF? The little sour cream squiggly art is also really weird. haha. Thanks for making me laugh!! 🙂

    • June 24, 2010 7:51 am

      I love the menus, too! Tried to scrape off the sour cream, etc. on top. I wish they would put *on the menu* that it comes with toppings like that.

  3. June 23, 2010 8:42 pm

    That sucks. I never understand why waiters are rude like that– do you WANT a sucky tip?

  4. June 24, 2010 6:46 am

    I really have no patience for food rude service- if it happens more than once at a restaurant, I usually won’t come back. Like you said, there are so many other choices, why waste my time and money?

    Good thing you have 2 Mexican places across the street because it doesn’t sound like you’ll be back at that one too soon!

    • June 24, 2010 7:52 am

      Exactly! Not planning to go back, even with the cool rooftop vibe. There are literally hundreds of restaurants within walking distance and plenty others have outdoor seating. 🙂

  5. June 24, 2010 7:46 am

    My favourite Mexican restaurant is Mexicantown in Detroit (I’m sure there is better food in the South but sadly I’ve never been).

    …actually, scratch that. The food isn’t amazing but the maragritas are. By the time I get seated at a table after waiting at the bar I’m so wasted I’d think a leather boot was delicious.

    • June 24, 2010 7:53 am

      hahahaha! Sometimes it’s worth it just for the drinks! 😉

  6. June 24, 2010 9:33 am

    I’ve experienced rude service many times and have ALWAYS complained about it, if not on the spot then later via email.

    Oh, I wish we would live closer to the city.. I would LOVE to have to restaurants (ANY!) at our street 😀

  7. Simone permalink
    June 24, 2010 1:04 pm

    i love the sangria boot! another visit might be in order 🙂

  8. June 24, 2010 10:45 pm

    Portland has notoriously bad service. The wait staff seem to have a “I could care less about helping you” kind of “too cool for the room” attitude. Hipsters/yuppies. Yuck. Hate it. If the service is bad, I will not tip and I’ll write a horrible review on Yelp, Twitter and Facebook. AND my blog! 🙂 If it’s atrocious, I’ll tell the manager.

  9. June 25, 2010 6:33 am

    I’m trying to figure out what the other Mexican restaurant across the street is! And, did Austin Grill close?? I drove by it yesterday and there was a sign for some other restaurant.

    • June 25, 2010 7:51 am

      Yep, Austin Grill is no more!

      And the restaurant across the street is Guapo’s. Not exactly like being in Mexico (or even the south!) but still good. 😀


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