¿Que hora es? Mom is from Guatemala, which is great because this means she speaks Spanish and I’ve been introduced to fantastic customs, food, and culture. But it also has its drawbacks: half my family lives so far away and perhaps the most troublesome – Mom runs on Guatemalan Time. What’s that? Well basically, nothing in Guatemala happens on time. No, really. If a family gathering starts at 5pm and you show up at 6pm, you’re too early and receive the evil eye. Basically the rule is: start getting ready to go once the event has already started. Now this works great when you live in a country where everyone does this. However, when your mom is on Guatemalan Time and you’re on Eastern Standard Time, this can present issues. Sometimes Mom doesn’t even start to prep an appetizer until after the start time of the gathering. By the time we finally arrive, it’s practically dessert time! Mmmmm, apple pie and deviled eggs, the perfect combo. My family and I have long since come to terms with it and now find it endearing, along with the way she pronounces phrases like ‘chips and selsa.’
For Mother’s Day, (I know, this post is long overdue!) Mom chose to gather at La Carreta in Manchester . La Carreta has several locations, but Mom thinks the one off the Daniel Webster Highway is best. We easily got a parking spot in their large lot and found a bench outside the restaurant where we awaited the guest of honor.
Mom loves La Carreta because all the servers speak Spanish, which gives her the opportunity to feel connected to her home. I was not impressed with our server. I like to ask questions like which are the most popular dishes or the server’s opinion on certain drinks. He just kept saying, “They’re all good, whatever you want,” and glaring with impatience (and no, it wasn’t a language barrier, his English was great). It was downright uncomfortable. The severer was cold and impersonal to everyone at the table until Mom spoke in Spanish to him. It was quite comical actually, suddenly- all smiles, tapping our shoulders/arms affectionately (Latin American countries are very hands on) and lots of conversation. The water and the free chips and “selsa” kept coming without being asked for and we were suddenly the stars of the room. Go Mom!
I’ve never been impressed with La Carreta’s food. I find it bland and unoriginal, but oh their margaritas! This is what I am here for! This visit, I opted for a Raspberry margarita which turned out even better than their classic margarita. I split my drink with Rick, which allowed me get the 32 ounce-er and meant I could drink more than half because he was driving.
My Pescado Yucatan (fish with bell peppers, onion, and summer squash) was enormous. The fish on my plate was so gigantic I’m surprised the fisherman didn’t pop out for a photo op. I won’t need omega 3 for at least a month. Sadly, Super Fish had very little flavor, but the veggies were incredible, so they more than made up for the flavorless fish. The rice that came with the meal went perfectly with the fish and veggies. Mom ordered Camaron Yucatan, which was basically the same dish as mine, but with shrimp instead of fish. That’s the way to go, my friend. The shrimp was amazing and it had the great veggies/rice like mine. I’m so glad I finally found a dish worth ordering here, seeing as we come here a lot with Mom.
Dad’s steak (Steak Jalisco or Rancero Chef’s Special, I can’t recall) had a deliciously rich sauce with an interesting texture that made for an enjoyable dish. Rick ordered one of their Combination Plates which is a really great deal- less than $10 for several items. I’m not a huge fan of their combo items, but many people are, and there are many options to choose from.
For dessert we tried their fried ice cream, as I’m a big fan of this dessert, but I’m sorry to say I’ve had better elsewhere. The flakes they used for coating created a weird, stale texture, but it still tasted good (ice cream and chocolate is hard to mess up).
This was the best visit I’ve had to La Carreta: I found a good dish, had a great margarita, and don’t forget the complimentary Andes Mints on the way out. And if you’re ever running late to something, you can always say that you’re on Guatemalan time for the day and all will be forgiven. ¡Buen provecho!
CP4Less: La Carreta has weekday happy hour specials from 2-5pm and there is almost always a coupon in the Hippo magazine. GoodEats sometimes has gift certs.
So, where is your favorite place to get a Margarita?
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