EDINBURG — The writing on a wall when you first enter Anita’s Cafe reads, “Overthinking will destroy your happiness and your mood.”
The writing, which is written in chalk, fades a bit, but I think it goes on to say, “It’ll make everything harder than it actually is; take a deep breath, exhale and have faith. What’s meant to be will be.”
This turned out to be wise advice, because I was definitely overthinking how to start this South Texas Flavor experience.
A piece of paper taped to another wall reads, “Please seat yourself on clean tables.” This, too, proved sage advice.
My girlfriend and I sat ourselves in a room near the rear of the restaurant. The room was filled with antique-looking nicknacks on the walls resembling a Cracker Barrel.
The clean table we chose was next to an old Pepsi vending machine. Anita’s immediately lost points here, because everyone knows that I am a Coke fiend. (Not that kind of coke.)
I couldn’t stop staring at a wanted poster for Billy the Kid on one wall. The sign offered a $500 reward. I took a look around the room, which was filled with people who appeared to be on their lunch breaks. All seemed safe. We could continue with our meals.
Shortly upon sitting, a friendly and accommodating waitress dropped by. I asked what the most popular menu item is, and she said it was the arroz con pollo and the pollo en mole, both of which were the specials on this particular day.
My girlfriend ordered a chorizo and egg taco and a potato and egg taco. I had trouble deciding what to order, but then I remembered the writing on the wall. I stopped overthinking and decided to order the pollo en mole, and since The Monitor is fronting the bill (cha-ching!), I went ahead and ordered a cheese enchilada plate as well.
As we waited for our food, we sipped sweet tea as the waitress pushed some tortilla chips and salsa on the table. Instinctively, I pulled forward the salt shaker anticipating its use, but both were surprisingly good. The salsa was a fresh blend of bright tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeño and onion.
When our food was brought to us, I immediately dug into the mole. I couldn’t help but be just a bit disappointed that both pieces of chicken were wings. If I’d wanted wings, I’d have gone to Hooters. (I don’t tell my girlfriend this. I hope she doesn’t read this. I’m so scared.)
Despite the unfavorable chicken pieces, the meal was delicious. The mole was slightly sweet with just a hint of heat, and the chicken was tender and fell off the bone. The rice and refried beans were above average, tasty with a blend of house spices.
I tore into the mole with such tenacity, my girlfriend was compelled to put my hair in a ponytail to avoid getting it dirty, like the supportive best friend looking out for you while you hug a toilet after too many shots of Fireball.
My beautiful, strong, intelligent girlfriend (she didn’t make me write that) is a tortilla connoisseur. She described the tortillas de harina as “so soft” and “dense.”
“It’s not paper-thin like some tortillas,” she said, with such beauty and grace. “It’s substantial. It’s got a slight buttery taste.” We love butter. And I love her.
Her chorizo and egg taco was quickly devoured (I helped). It was the perfect ratio of chorizo to egg and was so flavorful that we forgot to add salsa. The potato and egg taco was fine, but nowhere near as delicious as its over-achieving brother.
I decided not to waste any time and dug into the cheese enchiladas, which were fantastic. The enchilada sauce was perfect. I told my girlfriend that the enchiladas have just the right amount of cheese. “That means a lot of cheese, right?” she asked. “Yes.” I love cheese.
Overall, our dining experience was wonderful. The workers were friendly, the food was hot and tasty, and the service was fast. So distracted by our delicious meals were we that we failed to notice that we were the only ones left in the room by the time we left.
These meals are being expensed, but they were definitely worth the price.
Anita’s Cafe, located at 2102 N. McColl Road in Edinburg, offers breakfast and lunch. They are open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday’s from 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.