Thursday, September 4, 2008
We felt like a drive. We'd recently discovered that Starbucks in Orange & L.A. counties has something wonderful called Sorbetto (more on that later), and I was in the mood for chicken, so we decided to head north along the coast and take care of two cravings with one stone, so to speak :) This is Bandera. Bandera is located on Pacific Coast Highway in Corona Del Mar, just north of Dana Point. Chicken doesn't get better than this.
The first thing you see...and smell...when you get to Bandera is the chickens, roasting over and open flame, and the onions catching the dripping juices. The onions are there mostly to prevent flare-ups, but they do add a subtle smoky onion flavor, and imbue the already heady aroma with a certain richness. I wish I could have gotten a better pic, but this will have to do, because that fence is *hot*!
The kitchen (above & below) is always frenetic. People moving in what looks like a cross between a perfectly synchronized ballet and complete chaos. There's always a dozen or more chefs, soux-chefs, servers, etc moving in and out of the strange dance. The food is excellent, and so is the service for the most part. The only exception I've found is the hostesses at the front door, who seem to go out of their way to be snobby.
Bandera is known for the chicken of course, but they also have some other dishes that are hugely popular, including the only cornbread I've ever enjoyed. We didn't get it this time, but I will post an update with a pic when we do the next time! The House Margarita is the best margarita you will ever find in a restaurant, IMO. They don't use any mixers, no pre-made sweet & sour. Just a housemade blend of citrus and tequila, with egg white for added froth. Don't let the egg white scare you off...these margaritas are well worth the price of admission!
We also started with the Queso Dip, which is a spicy vresion of a classic, served with fresh, warm tortilla chips. The pic didn't turn out, but I'm sure you know what queso looks like! :)
And here's the entrees! My husband ordered the enchiladas, which are on the left. Filled with cheese, and smothered in two types of sauce, they are only $6 served a la carte! But the star of the show, for me, is the chicken. I ordered it with mashed potatoes (chunky, parsleyed mashed potatoes) instead of the green rice, just because I like the potatoes better :) As you can see, it is perfectly cooked, succulent, and delicious! And don't forget to save room for:
The Desserts! This is our choice, the Banana cream pie with chocolate and caramel, with a delicious crumb & nut crust. It is out of this world good, and oh so decadent.
What a perfect way to spend an evening! Manga!