Cafe Teresa – Londonderry

Take with a Grain of Salt Help my marriage!  Hubby and I have a recurring argument and we need you to weigh in.  Is ‘spicy’ a flavor or a sensation that simply masks all flavors?  You know where I stand, but for my new readers, I avoid spicy food like a witch avoids water.  I relish the complex flavors of a meal, probably due to my super nose.  When I eat

spicy food though, the spiciness numbs all my little eager taste buds like a shot of Novocain – and I taste nothing.   Plus, anything I eat for a good 20 minutes after also tastes like nothing, so I sometimes worry I’m permanently damaging my taste buds.  Hubby however, is drawn to spicy food, like I am to garlic.  When I ask him what he tastes, he says “spicy food.”  So readers, where do you fall in the great spice debate?  Does a kick of spicy improve the flavor of your meal or wipe it out completely?

I now return you to the regularly scheduled program:  We arrived at Café Teresa in Londonderry at 7pm, and the parking lot was packed, but we were seated within a few minutes.  They brought complimentary chips and salsa, but served on a plate, so every time I tried to grab one, I pushed chips off the other end.  Café Teresa serves both Mexican and Italian food, which seems odd, but they organize the menu into two separate categories.  The menu reads well, and there were several items that sounded appealing.  I didn’t order a drink, but their cocktail menu had enticing options as well.  I ordered one of the specials, Scallops over pasta in a lemon garlic sauce with spinach and tomatoes, hubby ordered the Jambalaya Pasta, and the in-laws ordered a Fajita Salad and Chicken Pesto dish.

The feel of the place is sparse.  Not dirty, it just feels empty or like they’re coming off a remodel.  Our meals came with small house salads, a nice addition to the elusive chips.  The meals arrived:  clearly fresh ingredients, large portions, and lots of meat in the pasta.  (My amateur photo skills = no pictures of the meals, oops!)  I was shocked when I actually tried mine.  It wasn’t seasoned well and tasted very bland; probably how it would taste if I made it myself.  My in-laws also agreed that their dishes were lacking in flavor as well.  I requested some parmesan cheese, hoping it would help, but our busy server forgot.  Hubby enjoyed his Jambalaya, which was spicy, so sounds like this may be a place to go if you’re looking for spicy rather than rich taste.

The full dining room makes me feel like I overlooked something, but three of the four of us felt the same way.  The bland food and bland atmosphere means I probably won’t be back.  And I’ll keep a container of garlic salt in my car just in case. ¡Buen provecho!

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6 Responses to Cafe Teresa – Londonderry

  1. B Z says:

    “A day without chile is like a day without sunshine.” This sign hangs in my favorite Las Cruces eatery where the existential question is “Red or Green?” Macho hot sauce use is debilitating but that fact could explain the mental condition of those who use it. But proper use of a chile pepper enhances everything it touches: huevos rancheros, green chile cheeseburgers, green chile cheese fries, green chile mango shakes!!!! You don’t get that flavor in NH…….

  2. Clean Plate says:

    Hahaha, I’ll pass that along to the husband! I’ve never seen a green chili mango shake, but boy, I would try those, that sounds so unique.

  3. Gail Murphy says:

    I think to most people spicy means “hot” which I also don’t like. I would rather think spicy means thoughtful additions of spices and herbs. I would call the sauce I make for meatloaf spicy, but it is not hot. CP you should find out if you are a “super taster” as well as a super sniffer. I think you may be. My sister, a chef, determined that I was one.

  4. Clean Plate says:

    A super taster and sniffer? I love that theory. Sounds like we should develop a study for this super-taster power you have – perhaps using your meatloaf as a base line haha!

  5. Dave Rice says:

    On the spicy debate – I absolutely love spicy food but there are boundaries. The reference to “macho” hot sauce above is spot on and this stuff should be used sparingly if at all in my opinion. The good kind of spicy doesn’t overpower anything – Salsas are a great example of this for me. I like heat in salsa but there are so many great flavors that can come through. Sweet corn or mango salsa with habaneros or my own personal favorite – the stuff I make. I love cilantro so my salsa tends to be heavy on peppers, cilantro and lime but light on onions and garlic.

    As for your review of Cafe Teresa – Jen and I were just there. We had gone years ago because her family loves it so much but we weren’t overly impressed (Jen’s family loooooves bland food!). It took us nearly a decade to go back. Recently we did go back however and I have a better opinion of it after the more recent visit. I don’t think that their Italian menu is very good but the Mexican offerings hold up a little better. I thought their salsa was solid for a place like that but the main dish was – wait for it – not spicy enough. The ingredients in the chimichanga I ordered were fantastic and the guacamole was pretty good but everything was a little too bland for me. I asked for more of the salsa to try and add a little “character” to the meal but it was forgotten 😦

  6. Clean Plate says:

    You put it well – good ingredients, just something missing. Salsa was a good idea, too bad it didn’t work out. I hear they make a mean margarita, maybe that’s the way to go.

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