My friend R’s Birthday was about a couple weeks ago and she was looking for a restaurant to celebrate with a huge group. Her criteria was a) ethnic food b) accepts large group reservations and c) no set menu or set amount of spending required. I learned of the new restaurant La Vida Loca which serves Mexican cuisine and seems to be getting some favorable reviews, so I suggested this to R which she was ok with. The restaurant has a good selection of dishes where everyone had no problem picking something they want to eat.
Unfortunately, I felt like I let the entire group down. It didn’t seem like everyone had a pleasant experience and I have many reasons to say that. From the food to being spicy without proper labeling on the menu to meals forgotten and disorganized serving times, the entire evening left a lot to be desired.
Here’s what we ordered tonight:
Tortilla Soup – $8
Our house made tomato broth with chicken, onion, cheese, sour cream, and crispy tortillas
This was my starter. I really liked how all the components of the soup was separated so you can add as little or as much of each item as you want. I really miss authentic tortilla soup from Mexico and I still haven’t found one comparable in Calgary. Well, this was unexpectedly spicy. I mean really spicy. R’s friend/my colleague D ordered it as well and she couldn’t finish it due to the spiciness and ended up giving it to her fiance. The soup was quite flavorful and a generous serving – it was pretty much a meal in itself. However, it should be indicated that it was spicy. One thing that I was quite unhappy with besides the spice was even though I ordered it to start, it never came when other people’s appetizers were served so I thought it was forgotten. So by the time our entrees started rolling out, our server came to me and said, my main is ready and my soup will be out in a few moments. I then said that if it’s not ready then I don’t want it. Literally ten seconds later she comes up again and says it’s ready (she actually gave me D’s order, and her soup came a few minutes after that so she didn’t get it as a starter either). My main was also ready but it was sitting on the counter while I was trying to finish my soup. I was not happy. I know they don’t want to lose money but if it’s not ready then cancel it. Why force me to take D’s order and then go ahead and make hers when I already told them I don’t want it anymore? I couldn’t even enjoy my main b/c I didn’t even have a break between my appetizer and main.
Huaraches – $15
Served with tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole plus choice of filling
Huarache is a deep friend dough in an oblong shape topped with a variety of filling. I chose the chicken and avocado and there was an abundance of that, plus refried beans and topped with sour cream. The chicken had some good flavoring from a blend of spices but something else on there was mildly spicy. I couldn’t finish the thing as it was pretty massive and I didn’t want to take it home as I was leaving for Vegas the next day, therefore I left maybe a third of it untouched. The salsa and that brown mixture were both also spicy, but it didn’t matter b/c I was too full to eat them.
Guacamole de Molcajete – $14
Made fresh at your table with avocados, jalapeno peppers, onion, tomatoes, and just a touch of lime – served with tortilla chips
This was shared by the three people sitting around me and yes, as a food blogger I get to coerce people into letting me take pictures of their food against their will :p Anyways, I was able to try a scoop of this and thought there was way too much lime juice in it – as a result the mixture was very wet. One of R’s friends also thought it had a kick to it but I didn’t get that.
Enchiladas – $14
Three corn tortillas filled with chicken topped with red, green, or cheese sauce – topped with melted cheese and sour cream
So R’s other friend D sat beside me and ordered this, and as soon as she had a bite she said… oh dear, R’s not going to like this b/c it’s spicy. R is even more sensitive than I am and she will not eat spicy foods, period. She came over later and said she couldn’t even eat it b/c it was so spicy, and again, not stated on the menu.
Tacos (3) – $14
Burrito with Tarasca (Bean) – $15
Fajita – Alambre de Res – $20
AAA steak, green & red peppers, red onions, mushrooms, and bacon
There was quite a bit of wait for drinks and food and they all came out at odd times. However, by the time I half-finished my entree, my dining companion to the left hasn’t received his although everyone else has. We kept looking for his food at the kitchen window and when we finally thought the next item was his, it went to a table that arrived after us. Fed up, he walked up to whom I believe was the owner and straight up told him that he was not paying for his food b/c the wait was just ridiculous. The owner agreed and finally a few more minutes later it arrived. Who knows what happened except it seems that his entree was forgotten.
Overall, service was decent but it needs more work especially with the wait times and the order it comes out. Also, there should be an option for your food to be mild or spicy, and if it only comes spicy then it should be indicated as such. I do feel that the restaurant has potential but they definitely have kinks to work out and until that happens, I will not likely return.