I love Mexican food. I could subsist on chips and salsa alone – I could thrive if you added in guac and some frozen margaritas. In fact, there was one week in November where I had Mexican food for nearly a week and a half straight. It was one of the best weeks of the year. Thus, when I heard about Dos Perros, I knew I had to try it out. Luckily, the opportunity presented itself at the end of Restaurant Week. My friend, Jessica, had some of her friends from high school come in for the weekend (snagging front seats at the St. John’s game and a lot of TV time in their tiger and Avatar costumes), and wanted to have a dinner – food is the perfect “get to know you” setting. It offers many “outs” for the typical awkward silences that come with a first meeting. For example, if you’ve got nothing to say, take a sip of your drink. Still nothing? How about a bite of your food? Wow, you really have no idea what to talk about, huh? Gee, this ____ is really tasty! Isn’t this a nice restaurant? Isn’t that thing the waiter/waitress did funny/charming/embarrassing? Frankly, the opportunities are endless. Jessica, being the socialite that she is, understands these nuances and made plans appropriately.
Unfortunately, a dinner of 17 people always seems like a great idea (everyone’s included, etc.), but with a group so big you’re pretty much just having dinner with the people immediately surrounding you. Not wanting to end up in conversation limbo in the middle of the table (you know what I mean, everyone’s talking but you can’t really get integrated into any conversation – too many stimuli) I stubbornly claimed my place at the head of the table. My friend Alex, sitting at the end, jokingly suggested we’d had too many kids. (He had to communicate this via text message since the table was so long…I’m gunna be honest, it was pretty confusing to get that text without any context to it, but I figure my readers are smarter than I am and will get the joke right away.) I sadly ended up on the opposite side of the table than the visiting high school friends, but I ran into them later in the night and they bought me a drink so I’m going to go ahead and assert that they’re good people. Instead, I enjoyed a meal with those immediately surrounding me – Anne, Perry, Brian, Lindsay, Taylor, and Robyn.
The meal began with a drink. It was a pretty tough decision. I was tempted by Mango Cayenne Margarita because, even though I like neither Mangos nor Cayenne peppers, the description is hilarious: Spicy sweetness, oh you obstreperous vixen, you. First you lure me in with your come-hither fruit, then you slap me around a brace of heat. I ended up going for the Hot Guava Margarita, because of its curious combination of guava and jalapeño. Honestly, it was pretty whatever. A spicy margarita is sort of weird. Okay, it’s really weird. Probably wouldn’t do it again. That being said, I’d probably instead go for the Sangria that Anne got – I was initially sad that it didn’t have any fruit at the bottom as I’ve come to expect in my Sangria after studying abroad in Madrid, but it was still a sweet, refreshing break from my spicy drink!
Trying to decide what to get for dinner was more difficult than I thought. The Restaurant Week menu just wasn’t doing it for me. The choices were pork and “chicken.” Pork is okay but not worth going out of my way for, and anytime I see a food in quotation marks I tend to try to avoid it. (To be fair though, according to Jessica, it was the best fake chicken she’s had in her 7 months as a vegetarian.) In fact, the majority of my side of the table decided to go against the prix fixe menu; we fashioned ourselves rebels. (At least I did in my mind.) The choices were not what I consider to be typical Mexican food – this was surprising considering the restaurants tagline is “A Mexican Place.” Perusing the website however, it turns out that their cuisine is “authentic” Mexican, as opposed to the Tex-Mex my silly little brain associates with Mexican food. Lindsay and I split the chicken quesadillas (which came with their guacamole – voted Durham’s best!) and the lamb enchiladas. This was a delicious, delightful decision. Robyn went for the “Yucatan-style Poulet Rouge chicken with pickled onions, black bean refritos, fried plaintains, and habanero salsa,” another solid choice. Anne went for the Vegetable Chile Relleno. We even all got to try the pork off of the Restaurant week menu since Perry decided to take that route – he’s kind of a conformist like that. This was great, since it gave everyone the opportunity to a little bit of everything.
Since we had pretty much filled up on chips and salsa (it’s always a losing battle when you try to stop eating them – they just won’t stop putting them in front of you!), we brought the majority of our meals home, but they were SO. GOOD. The guac was phenomenal – I would probably get the quesadillas or Anne’s Chile Relleno if I was to go back again. Sadly, I didn’t get dessert since not ordering off the prix fixe menu meant it wasn’t inherently included in my meal. Luckily, I got to steal some of Perry’s Flan Imposible and it was definitely impossibly good, although Lindsay was pretty sure her regular Flan (so I guess her Flan posible) was better and more authentic.
What ended up being a two hour dinner was a great way to catch up and enjoy some time with the people I’m going to be sad to leave at the end of the year, but I think next time we all go out to eat together we should have a policy where we change seats every so often so that we all get to talk to each other.
So, do you really think I should get my Mexican food at a place called “Two dogs?” It sort of seems like they don’t understand the Spanish language or the “Microstyle” behind a good restaurant name. Be that as it may, the food is phenomenal. It’s a bit on the pricy side, and their margaritas are a little too eclectic for my taste, but I would definitely go back for the guacamole alone.