Friday, June 13, 2008

new restaurant

The new Agave Mexican Bistro just opened in town last weekend, so Ted took me there for dinner tonight. It is safe to say that this was the highest end Mexican restaurant we've ever patronized. Maybe it's the introduction of the word "Bistro" as opposed to "Roadhouse," "Restaurante," (or just plain "Restaurant"), or "Bell."

Renovation of the classic building is stunning. Every detail is beautiful, and the layout covers numerous turns and nooks on two floors. There's a section with huge windows that open for a near-sidewalk cafe feel, though without the bugs (thanks to screens). There's a waterfall on the back wall of the upstairs bar. There's a fireplace in the back on the first floor. There's huge leather seats, wrought iron light fixtures, deep wooden window sills, and a universally friendly staff.

And then there's the food.

We started with the Queso Fundido, which is a fondue-like dish of cheese and ground chorizo sausage served in a hot stone bowl with flour tortillas. The concoction bubbled until we ate the last bit of it. Wow.

Then I had the Carne Asada Burrito. Though this is a fairly common dish available even at places that aren't called "Bistro," I'd never had one before. It was grilled steak in a flour tortilla with the usual burrito trappings (re-fried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and onions), served with a drizzle of sour cream on top and delicious salsa verde. There was also rice with more beans on the side. Heavenly. And easily two meals. I was assured by our eager waiter, Josh, that it reheats well. It came home with us and will be my lunch tomorrow.

Ted enjoyed a combination called Tres Compadres, which was a mix of grilled steak, chicken, and shrimp with sauteed veggies, rice, and avocado. Although he's currently unavailable to tell me his assessment of the meal, I'll go out on a limb and say he enjoyed it. I base my assumption on two factors. First, he didn't offer me a single bite. Very unusual. And second, the only thing left of the plate when he was done was the avocado (he doesn't like it, but I do so it went into the doggie bag with my leftovers).

We each had margaritas -- he a traditional lime one, me a new-fangled orange one.

OK.

I had two.

But it was so good.

We also happened to notice some nearby patrons being served fresh guacamole. And I mean fresh. The waiter was combining the ingredients at the table and mixing them with a mortar and pestle!

All around, a rave review from us. A tad on the expensive side. About $100 for the two of us. But the three drinks alone were about $30, I'm getting a third meal out of it, and we left a 20%+ tip. (Do you think I've justified it enough to go again?)

Afterwards, we waddled walked around town a bit, past Strawbery Banke and into Prescott Park. Somehow, we found a garden we hadn't managed to walk through in previous jaunts. It was just wonderful. Three fountains, low craggy trees, a modest picket fence, benches, and flowers everywhere. The entrance was graced by one of the biggest Rhodies I've seen since Rhododendron Glen at the Arboretum in Seattle. We sat on the brick edge of the center fountain, and I dangled my feet in the cool water. We waddled wandered back to our car and headed home.

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