Thursday, July 5, 2012

Family Night Out in Austin - Lupe Tortilla and the Arbor Walk

Today, we had an appointment with Home Depot to complete an installation order so the perfect area to enjoy this week's family night out was an easy choice. We decided to try the newest restaurant addition to the Arbor Walk - Lupe Tortilla.

First though, we decided we'd try to get there a bit early so that we could get in a quick browsing session to our favorite local home consignment store - Home Consignment. We love the place with it's eclectic selection and continuously changing options. They close at 6 on some weekdays and we weren't sure if we'd get there in time. We did. The kids enjoy the place too with so much to look at. My 9-year old daughter can quickly fall in love with the perfect decorative vase, especially if the design/pattern includes some type of Chinese script.

We did a quick tour today as Dad was hungry and his mind already had him sitting at a table armed with chips and a bowl of salsa.

Next stop, Lupe Tortilla. I believe the restaurant has only been open here for a few months. It seems like we were at Home Consignment on Cinco De Mayo and the place was overflowing with patrons and music. Today we had a short wait, maybe 5 minutes, but we did get there pretty early. I would guess we showed up around 6 PM. It wasn't long before the wait for those behind us was up to 20 and 30 minutes.

The interior was very festive with the use of lots of Spanish decorations that really gave the place character. The aroma in the air was rich with the smells of fresh made tortillas and sizzling meat.

We ordered up drinks and decided we wanted to give the queso a try. It's definitely one of those things that we like to check out with every Mexican restaurant we visit. For dinner, I had the tortilla soup (a little high at $8.95), my son had the Pedro (a combo plate featuring one beef and one cheese enchilada with rice and beans), my daughter had the kids' cheese enchilada, and my husband went for the beef fajitas. While we awaited the queso we tried the dips that came with our trips -- one bean salsa (similar to charro beans) and one red salsa (very fresh and not too hot, which was great for my daughter's tender palate).

The queso showed up and received mediocre reviews from everyone at the table. Granted, we have a favorite neighborhood restaurant with queso that just can't be beat, so our view on this one could be a little skewed (but I don't think so ; )). Then the manager brought out a free sample, mini fajitas in little tortillas dressed all the way. One word for that one -- YUM! We were all jealous that Dad had clearly made an amazing choice.

When all the food showed up, it all looked really enticing. And even though I scoffed at the idea of an almost $9 tortilla soup, I was pretty pleased with the result. It was a very good size bowl (I had to take half of it home) and was loaded with lots of beautiful grilled chicken chunks, cheese, avocado, cilantro, yum! My daughter devoured her cheese enchilada and my husband's fajitas were amazing. In fact, after I tasted it took me back to a little local's favorite kind place in the Houston area where we enjoyed phenomenal fajitas (I believe that's all they served and we had to stand in line for nearly an hour to get in) with a group of our friends. After reading Lupe Tortilla's description, I think that might have actually been the original location of what is now this larger much more shined and polished version.

In the end, I think we were pleased. Be warned, it's not cheap, but at the same time I don't think it was crazily priced. You could probably feed a family of four with two entrees that you simply split and come away with a pretty reasonable bill.

My daughter's favorite part? When the waitress brought the bill and asked if we wanted the ice cream that came with the kids meal. There were like 5 or 6 types of ice cream to choose from. She went with the Nestle Crunch bar.

Speaking of the kids' meal. The price was $4.95 and featured one of seven choices (crispy or soft taco, cheese enchilada, chicken quesadilla, chicken flautas, mac n cheese and more), with a drink and a free blue bell ice cream. Not bad.

If you go, and you have a young lady on hand, you can also check out one of my daughter's favorite stores when you are done with your meal -- Sam Moon. The place is loaded with blingy purses, earrings, hats, scarves and more. And most is very reasonably priced. Be warned though, they close early. I think doors shut around 6 or 7 PM.

Would I go back? Definitely.

Was it kid-friendly? Absolutely.

Favorite thing? Toss up between the amazing fajita meat and the giant freshly made tortillas that came with them.

Another Family Night Out knocked out. I'm sure we'll be back to the Arbor Walk and/or Lupe Tortillas soon.

Want more Austin area family-friendly info? Check out the website where we offer info on kids eat free deals, party places, fun indoor locations where the kids can beat this crazy Texas summer heat and more.

Just purchased a great deal on Groupon for 4. Looks like Brick Oven on 35th will be the venue of our next family night out. We scored 4 entrees for $20. You just can't beat that. Want to find out about Groupon and other great deals and how they can keep your Family Night Out affordable. Read our blog on that topic by clicking here.

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