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Mixed Mexican

When plans to dine downtown went south, so did I – to Oglethorpe Mall to check out La Parrilla Mexican restaurant.
This is newest eatery at the mall, next door to popular Macaroni Grill on the Abercorn Street side. It’s big and colorful, with a menu to match.

Another thing that was big and bold was the sound system. I hoped it would grow on me, or at least be turned down when we found ourselves having to raise our voices to the server. Not so.

If the corporate sound guy is going for a fiesta atmosphere, he succeeded. And if that’s SOP, I won’t be going back – a headache is not my idea of a good dining experience.

It took a while to process the eight pages of menu but our journey was enriched with the obligatory bowl of chips and salsa, which was just spicy enough and sat nicely on the hot, thin and crisp tortilla chips.

We also enjoyed a dozen coconut shrimp. The flakey, coconut–laced batter was crispy and the shrimp arrived piping hot. Mango sweet and sour sauce is served for dipping – although I preferred the shrimp “au naturel.”

My Burrito a La Parrilla did not fare as well. Grilled chicken rolled in a flour tortilla and topped with cheese sauce is admittedly simple. Mine lacked much flavor, and not a hint of spiciness. The Mexican rice was dry, the Mexi–beans watery.

The dish evolved into a gooey puddle, the corporate Mexican food jet has landed. Ditto Ms. T.J.’s Chalupa, which was seemingly forced into a too–small bowl.

Our guest JoAnn came off best with her Carne Asada. The dish presented nicely with a colorful range of accompaniments: Onions, bell peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream. Rice and beans were the sides. She was generally pleased with the grilled steak, which was tender and cooked to order. It was a good–sized portion. At $12.99, it was also a good value – I‘ll go this route on my next visit.

7804 Abercorn Extension (Oglethorpe Mall)/354–3757

Street Buzz

Quick, name a place without a frozen yogurt shop. If you guessed Abercorn Walk, the center anchored by Fresh Market, you would be right. But no more. Yobe Frozen Yogurt had its grand opening on Saturday. 5525 Abercorn Walk.

Cake It Away had a soft opening on Saturday, too. Chief baker Valerie Dixon has been churning out beautiful art cakes from a contracted kitchen for several months. The new storefront offers the chance for greater take–away selections and finally gets Val in her own kitchen. 1212 E. Montgomery Cross Road

A Chinese buffet is coming to Whitemarsh Island – in the former Barnes BBQ building in front of Publix. No name yet, or an opening date, but I’ll keep you posted.