Friday, May 26, 2006

Cactus Pear

I remember when this restaurant was located in Madeira, in that location that's been a swinging door of sorts. Now it's a Ferrari's (and we eat there often), and Cactus Pear has branched out to now have two locations: one in Blue Ash, the other in Clifton. Since we were (yet again) out in the area looking at houses, we decided to check out the Blue Ash location.

Cactus Pear bills itself as a Southwest Bistro. I'm not completely clear on how "Southwest" differs from traditional Mexican fare, but I can tell you that there were many interesting menu items, all of which sounded delicious. Atypical things such as tofu and eggplant fajitas, Enjoying the bistro's delicious (and free) chips and salsa, we decided between things such as tofu and eggplant fajitas, various noodle dishes. Incidentally, the salsa was not just any salsa, but a dark, rich, smoky and most out of the ordinary salsa that we could've eaten plain with soup spoons.

We ordered what I thought sounded like the most interesting appetizer: casserole of chihuahua (Peter says this should be pronounced chah-hoo-ah-hoo-ah) beans with beef and cheese. It came served warm with flour tortillas so we created mini burritos right there at the table. The taste was good, and reminded me of those chilitos I used to get at Zantigo's (now Taco Bell) on Ridge Road.

While waiting for our entrees, musicians entered the restaurant looking to set up and start playing. Peter eyed them nervously, wondering if they were going to be loud and disruptive, but they were most pleasant. I got to mouth "Fly Me to the Moon" across the table to Peter, who actually looked amused.

For dinner I had the blue corn enchildadas , which were covered in a sweet, flavorful mole sauce and sour cream. Peter had the beef tamales, which were topped with a tangy tomatillo sauce and yes, more sour cream. Truth be told, with the exception of the sauces our two dishes didn't actually taste all that different. There was an overwhelming amount of tender, shredded beef inside and for once, we requested a box to take home leftovers. Peter encouraged me to dump the rest of our salsa on top of the rice I was packing up, which I reluctantly did just as a server came back to the table to clear our plates. Embarassesd, I felt like that person who tries to take home all the free rolls or salad at the Olive Garden. Peter of course made the most of the opportunity and reported to the server that I was stealing salsa. Nice. A few minutes later, the server dropped off an entire plastic container of the salsa, all packed up and ready for us to enjoy at home--what a great surprise and way to take home a little more of our dining experience. Since chips and salsa are officially Peter's favorite meal, we were both ecstatic.

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The damage: $61.61, for one app, two entrees, wine (two for me, one for Peter) and a pint of salsa!

Watch out for: I honestly can't think of anything!

Food: 3 out of 5 forks (good, but not the best I've ever had)

Romance: 3 of out 5 kisses (it increased to 4 when the musicians started)

Cactus Pear Southwest Bistro
9500 Kenwood Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45242
(513) 791-4424

1 comment:

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