(photo of Cherry’s margarita, via Cherry’s camera.
Me, I take mine blended.  But boy, hers LOOKS good, doesn’t it?)

It’s been a long time since I did a restaurant review here.  Back when I started blogging, my plan was to write about local restaurants, thinking that maybe some people in and around the ‘Creek’ might enjoy reading them.  It didn’t take me long to lose interest in restaurant reviews, and I started writing about other things, whatever I happened to be thinking about kind of things. But once in awhile, a restaurant comes along that deserves mention.  Hola! Restaurant in Burlingame is one such restaurant.   (Looking at their website, I see that there are also locations in Belmont and Carmel…good to know!)

Saturday was a great day…Cherry, Dorothy, Tracy, and I got together to have some yummy Mexican food and Margaritas.  Tracy lives in Los Angeles, and we know her mostly via blog, though Cherry and I have had the good fortune to meet up with her before.  Tracy is moving to Texas very soon, after the close of her play in Los Angeles, but as she has family in Burlingame, she came up for a visit, and we all went to meet her for lunch.  He lovely cousin suggested that if we wanted to go somewhere for a good margarita, we might try Hola!, and thankfully, we did.

Usually when we go out for Mexican food, we end up at a Tex Mex place like Chevy’s, which I like, but I like it for the fajitas and so on.  So at a more authentic type place, I wanted something more authentic.  With three full pages of menu items, I was at a loss as to what to order, so I asked the waitress for help.  She suggested that if I wanted something authentic to the region of Mexico that the restaurant is known for, I should either order the carnitas or the rellenos.  I had been eyeballing both already, but I had two reasons toward leaning towards the rellenos.  First, Dorothy was ordering the carnitas.  There’s no reason for both of us to order the same thing, as we are girls, and with girls, sharing is always an option if someone orders poorly.  Secondly, I have a distinct memory of my Grandpa saying, on more than one occasion when we had stayed a bit too long on a Sunday afternoon when Grandma didn’t feel like cooking, “Let’s go get a relleno”.  I suspect what he meant was a deep fried cheese and chili combination, which doesn’t appeal to me in the least, but still, I was feeling nostalgic.   So, I ordered their version, Rellenos en Nogada, which was amazingly good.  Sadly, when our food was delivered, and Cherry was taking a picture of her beautiful Jumbo Shrimp on cilantro rice dish, I was afraid that I had ordered poorly, and didn’t think to have her take a picture of my rellenos.  Boy, was I wrong.  They were truly, truly yummy and divine and good.  If you’ve never had Rellenos en Nogada, I highly suggest it.  I suggest it so highly that the next time I get the chance, I will indeed order it.  The chili was neither overcooked and soggy, nor crunchy and hard.  The stuffing was of ground beef, garlic, onions, raisins, apricots, and I’m not sure what else.  The juxtaposition of the sweet from the fruit, and the savory from the meat and onion, was tantalizing and wonderful.  The sauce looked like it might be too rich and overpowering, but it was light and delightful.  It was terribly good.  The sauce was a milky walnut, with pomegranate seeds.  Really, really good.  How many times can I say good?  Mmmm.  The green from the peppers, the white from the sauce, and the red from the pomegranates are supposed to represent the Mexican flag.

I tried Dorothy’s carnitas, and they were wonderful.  I didn’t try Cherry’s shrimp, nor Tracy’s vegetarian platter, but they both looked delicious.  The atmosphere was nice, though I can always do without the television over the bar.  The service was very good until we paid our bill.  We stayed for quite awhile afterwards, chatting and visiting, and couldn’t get anyone to come and bring us more water.  Nonetheless, I would readily go back, and happily scarf down some more Rellenos en Nogada.  If you ever find yourself in the area, I suggest you do the same.

10 thoughts on “Hola!

  1. I had the Camerones ala Diabla!
    Very tasty, spicy and flavorful. The shrimp were cooked to the perfect doneness although I did have to shell them which was messy. I was a little bummed that the sauce covered the cilantro rice as I LOVE cilantro rice on its own. The menu did say that it would be over the rice, but you know I didn’t really pay that much attention.

    The ‘rita was tasty, and I did not NEED the second one that I ordered, which is why it remained on the table. Although by the 3rd hour we were sitting there chatting without more water, it was looking tasty again.

    A totally awesome day with the ladies. If only we got more water or even were offered to buy more drinks I think it would have been the perfect place for a long lunch.

    Eric was very sad when I got home, that I wouldn’t let him have my leftovers. Since we sat so long after lunch, plus the drive home, they were well past the 4 hours I allow for leftovers to be out of the fridge. I told him how yummy it was though 😉

  2. I had soooo much fun. I really would like to go back there again sometime. Burlingame is such a cute little place. I liked the shops lining the street. Next time I want to sit at the table that was facing out onto the street and people watch. My carnitas was quite a plate, perfectly cooked. I didn’t care for the rice and beans though, which was fine because I didn’t really have any room for them! And the fact that they came on a separate plate made the table too crowded. But truly, that was my only complaint. Our waitress during the meal was a sweet gal.

  3. I always go for the chile rellenos at a mexican restaurant. If they have them on the menu, they really are mexican. 🙂 If I like them, they are awesome mexican!! Glad you enjoyed it. Now I’m hungry for mexican too. Someday I will make chile rellenos from scratch, like Mom used to…sigh.

  4. Donna, are the rellenos you order filled with meat, or are they filled with cheese and then deep fried? I always think of them as the deep fried ones, which I do not love. But these? These I loved.

  5. Great review, J! My vegetarian platter was delicious, and the company around the table was fabulous. 🙂 Truly, it was so great to see you again.

    I’m so glad we met through our blogs, and I’m even happier that sometime over the past three years, we have made the transition from “blog buddies” to real life friends.

  6. This sounds so good. I want to go now, but that is a long way to travel for good Mexican food. But I guess it is worth it. Chee and I went to a place last Friday that was so expensive and what we ordered was so terrible. Yes it was Mexican Food, but nothing on the menu was what you would usually see at a Mexican restaurant. Thanks for the good foodie tip.

  7. I adore Chili Rellenos. Even the fried cheese filled ones. But the batter has to be good and well seasoned. and the Chili must be roasted and peeled. And the sauce… the sauce needs to be not too saucy but really tasty.

    I adore the rellenos at La Pinata in Concord. You wouldn’t like them though because they are cheesey and fried 🙂

    In school we made them in all sorts of ways. One girl made them the way her grandmother taught her, with potatoes and pork. It was VERY good!

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