La Playita Mexicana
6194 Macon (Bartlett)
When Warren and I had to drive out to Germantown Road to pick up the monkeys’ new bunkbed it gave us the perfect excuse to finally try out La Playita. Chip, who loves Mexican food like I love Asian food, had been raving about it for weeks, and I was desperate to try it. Even though it was 7pm on a school night, we went for it.
La Playita is in a strip mall with the giant Bass Pro Shop in Bartlett. It doesn’t look like much from the outside…or inside, really, but they’ve made an honest attempt at making it as beachy as possible considering the locale. There are giant oceanside murals on the wall and there’s a fun looking bar in the back with a raffia roof and a neon sign blaring “cold beer.” The plaid tablecloths kind of throw off the look, but like I said, they gave it an honest attempt.
Warren, as a result of extreme hunger, decided to give each monkey (Satchel, 5, and Jiro, 3) a quarter as soon as they saw the standard conglomeration of vending machines by the front door. (Normally, we opt for the “If you behave at dinner, I’ll give you a quarter” approach.) Each monkey quickly purchased a tiny plastic ninja and carried on like theirs was the greatest ninja ever. This would have been fine had they not decided to start launching their ninjas into the air and all over the table. Jiro’s was soon wedged between his booth and the wall. He burst into tears and caused a scene until we swore up and down that we would free his ninja from captivity when dinner was over.
Both Satchel and Jiro were squirmy and antsy and generally annoying. I think we waited a little too long to feed them (and ourselves) and they got all jacked up in the bunkbed store. I was busy cajoling, “Put.Your.Butt.On.Your.Seat!” while Satchel was simultaneously exclaiming, “I’m STARVING!”
Thankfully there were chips on the table (and four salsas). We immediately put in an order for cheese dip and it arrived quickly. Once the monkeys were calmly chipping and dipping, Warren and I began studying the menu. There were pictures which was good since I couldn’t remember what Chip had instructed me to order. Another friend had raved about the whole fried tilapia, and I knew I wanted one of those. I love me a whole fish and I thought the monkeys might get a kick out of it. Warren and I decided to split the one with diabla sauce, but with the sauce on the side, as well as an order of shrimp tostadas. They had a whole page of tostadas and the one in the picture looked very tasty. We ordered steak tacos (with extra cheese and without cilantro and onion) in corn tortillas for Satchel and a cheese quesadilla (by request) for Jiro.
The shrimp tostada came out first and it was fantastic. It was basically shrimp ceviche with avocado slices and pico de gallo piled on a crispy corn tortilla. It was large and I wanted it all to myself. Just writing about it makes me want to get in my car and drive to Bartlett.
We tried to get Satchel to try the tostada, but he would only barely touch his tongue to one of the shrimp. “It tastes weird,” he reported. “Bad weird.”
Next I gave him a slice of avocado, formerly one of his favorites, and he claimed that it was too “spicy.” My only guess is that it had a little lime juice on it. Oh well, more for me.
Had we just left after the tostadas we would have had a very nice dining experience. Everything seemed to go down hill after that. Satchel’s tacos came out with both cilantro and onion and no cheese. The waiter was very apologetic and sent them back. He very quickly brought out plain tacos with meat and tortillas. There was still no cheese, but I was hoping Satchel wouldn’t notice. Yeah, right. I kindly asked him to bring us some cheese. Once he did, Satchel complained that he wanted melted cheese, but I told him to zip it. Jiro’s quesadilla was just fine, as were his accompanying rice and beans.
Our fish arrived with no diabla sauce so we had to also ask the waiter for that. He was clearly having a bad night. He said, “I’m so very sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.” We had eaten most of the fish by the time the sauce arrived, but we got over it. The fish also came with oranges, cucumber, tomato, avocado, red onion, potatoes, lettuce, rice and beans. It was quite a little feast. The fish was a little over fried and probably would have tasted better with the diabla sauce on it, but all-in-all we were very happy. Satchel had a little bite, but was too busy with his tacos to get interested in our dinner. We did however, have a nice conversation about the fish's eyeballs and how they are a delicacy in Cameroon. (Remind me to tell you about the time I ate two eyeballs to impress someone...)
Once the monkeys had full bellies they were eager to start playing under the table, climb over the booth, and run around the restaurant. I allowed Warren ample time to suck all the tiny pieces of meat left on the fish's bones before crankily declaring an official end to our meal.
Warren wanted to take home the diabla sauce, so, once he freed the lost ninja, I sent him and the monkeys out to the car while I paid the bill and got a to-go container. Our poor waiter must have forgotten about the to-go container immediately after I asked him and after a few minutes, I just poured the diabla sauce into one of the monkey’s empty water cups and paid at the register.
I would definitely go back to La Playita, even if the monkeys were wired and the waiter was having another bad day, just for the tostadas. I may go back now.
Side note: Not a single member of Team Oster visited "the facilities" so I cannot report on their cleanliness.