Remember when you were a kid, enduring the dull pace of yet another day at school, longing for the free days of summer to begin? I find that as an adult, I don’t have very many things to look forward to. Sure, I am anxious for a week or two away from work each year or seeing a beloved local band, but it isn’t quite the same. For some reason, it doesn’t hold the same promise of unexpected pleasures and adventure as it did when I was young.
Just recently, I began a diet that requires cutting out extra fats and carbs, eating five, small balanced meals a day and drinking plenty of water. I am never hungry, but I dearly miss the delicious meals this city has to offer. Fortunately, once a week, I am allowed to “cheat” and eat whatever I want for one meal. Thursday has been renamed as my “Official Cheat Day,” and now I have something to look forward to. By the way, it’s been two weeks, with two cheats, and I have already lost 15 pounds.
This week, I have been looking forward to a spicy “Creole Tex-Mex” meal at Juan’s Flying Burrito, and that is exactly what I got. After work, my boyfriend and I headed over to the Magazine Street location, which is my favorite even though I live closer to the Mid-City Juan’s. Perhaps it has something to do with nostalgia (it was the first restaurant I visited when I moved here 6 years ago) or because of the funky art, the cool coffee can light fixtures, the “alternative” vibe of the servers or the chef’s singing along to old 80’s tunes in the open kitchen, but I always choose the original Juan’s.
We were seated almost as soon as we walked in the door and started off the meal with their chips, salsa and guacamole. I am always pleased with Juan’s crunchy tortilla chips and fresh salsa. The guacamole was tasty, too, with big chunks of avocado, a nice spicy kick and creamy consistency. We also ordered some margaritas, on the rocks with salt, and were pleasantly surprised to realize it was still Happy Hour. The margaritas came in tall pint glasses and were, as the waiter aptly put, “very happy.” Actually, Juan’s is having a summer “Happy Hour Special” that runs from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Now there’s an excuse to leave work earlier!
The specials board was advertising Barq’s BBQ Chicken Nachos with cheddar cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole, and the waiter’s recommendation made it sound even more tempting, but I already had something else in mind. For my entree, I ordered an “Al Pastor burrito” which consists of slow-cooked shredded pork and grilled onions with pineapple salsa, sour cream, pickled jalapenos, cilantro, pinto beans and yellow rice wrapped in a flour tortilla. My boyfriend got Juan’s “Flying Burrito,” grilled steak, Gulf shrimp and chicken with cheddar and jack cheese, black beans, yellow rice, salsa, sour cream and guacamole, all rolled in a grilled tortilla.
The “Al Pastor” was deliciously sweet and spicy, hot enough for me to sip a little too strenuously on my margarita, resulting in both a cold headache and a pleasant buzz. My boyfriend’s dish was tasty as well, overflowing with meat and perfectly seasoned. Portion size is never a problem at Juan’s…
As we rolled out of the restaurant excessively sated, we began planning our dining adventure for next week. My new eating regimen has me not only looking forward to a healthier lifestyle and continued weight loss, it has also brightened my palate for the dining experiences ahead.