I went to La Azteca, apparently a new Mexican restaurant on Chestnut between 7th and 8th for lunch today. I was enticed by their ad in the latest copy of the Weekly (or was it the City Paper...), which promised "the most authentic Mexican food in Center City). This may be true, but it ain't saying much. The only other Mexican food I've found so far in Center City is that at the Reading Terminal market, which is by no means authentic, but which, at least, tastes ok, if not great. Incidentally, the flour tortillas there are ok, but the corn ones are just awful.
Eating at La Azteca is the sort of thing I wish I could undo. Wish I had never had the experience. Everything, from the chips and salsa was bad. (I was particularly disappointed because they have my favorite bottled salsa picante, Valentina, on the table, which I thought auguered well). The bean burrito was covered with something like a Ragu-style spaghetti sauce. The enchilada was made with a dry, old tortilla that was not softened before being microwaved, wrapped around white velveta (ok, maybe not white velveta, but some kind of white processed cheese food product that left a wierd residue on the palate), microwaved again, and served with a sauce that tasted suspiciously like Ortega brand canned enchilada sauce. The chicken burrito was like the bean one, but then covered with shredded iceberg lettuce and a big squirt of sour cream.
The people weren't really any better. We only wound up with a chicken burrito because the waiter brought the wrong thing, and when told it was wrong just shrugged his shoulders. We just ate it figuring nothing else would be any better, and not wanting to wait for another order to be assembled (I'll reserve the term "cooked" for a more legitimate use). The woman taking the money asked how things were, and when I was less than effusive, again, just shrugged her shoulders, not asking what was less than excellent.
Oddly, this place was doing a land-office business at lunch time. Go figure.
See next message for a more positive notice.