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Restaurants & Bars 5

Tropical Caribbean - Pasadena, semi-long

WildSwede | Mar 3, 200506:20 PM

Went for lunch today. Got there about 1:20 and the place was packed. Waited for about 5 minutes and got one of the two tables on the sidewalk. Sat for a while with no one approaching us. About 8 minutes later waitress came to ask if we were ready to order (we got the menus when we first walked in and were ready to go). I ordered the Chicken Empanada, the Exquisito Sanduich de Puerco (roast pork) and an iced tea. Friend ordered the Beef Empanada, Jerk Chicken and Jugo de Mora (like a Blackberry slush).
Sweet deaf busboy, Al, brought us our drinks and some hot bread with some delicious garlic/herby/butter. Very nice.
About 15 minutes later, out came my sandwich with fries (not well-done as requested). I ate a couple and friend tasted one. About 5 minutes after that, our palm-sized empanadas arrived along with a nice spicy salsa. We decided that they were pretty good, with the beef one being our favorite, but determined that without the salsa they would not be impressive.
About 5 minutes later her Jerk Chicken arrived. Started in on my sandwich – very nicely seasoned pork – too salty if you eat it without the tomatoes, lettuce and red onions it comes with – but very good. Bread was really hard (at least the top, but the bottom was all saturated with the delicious juices from the pork). All in all I would have to say that I was pleased with my selection.
Friend really liked the Jerk Chicken. From the taste I had, it was very nicely seasoned and very flavorful. She was so-so about the black beans and rice that came with it.
Before my friend got her food, our waitress came with a salad and asked my friend if she had asked her if she wanted a salad. My friend said no. So she left with the salad. My friend asked me if I thought we were scaring her since the waitress seemed afraid of us. We both agreed that we think we are very non-threatening, kind, laid-back people and kept eating.
The major problem with this place is the service. Throughout the meal, asking for things – like lemon for the iced tea, water, etc. took a very long time to come (unless you asked Al). The people who were sitting next to us (and had been sitting there since before we arrived) placed their order after we did. Then the woman who took their order (owner?) was complaining to them saying something like she had to make something herself, or get something, blah blah. Very unprofessional, in my book. Then when they were finished with their meal, she came to ask them what they ordered (the person who took their order!!) so she could get them their bill. Odd. They commented to us – good food, weird, sh*!!y service. Our sentiments exactly.
Once our bill was received, I asked to see the itemization to make sure we were not charged for the salad. The lady (owner?) came and brought it to us. I explained to her what had taken place with the salad, and just wanted to confirm that we were not paying for it. She informed us that each entrée comes with a soup or salad (which of course, our waitress never mentioned). Then she mentioned something about Al (the sweet busboy) who although he was deaf, was working very hard and was wonderful at deciphering our hand signals and lip reading what we wanted, saying that he is working very hard. I asked her who was going to get the tip. She said that the waitress who took our order, but that she was going to give some of it to Al. I requested that all the tip go to Al since he did all the work. She agreed and said that she would get it to him.
I am not sure that I ever need to go back, although I may crave that roasted pork-juice saturated bread again…

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