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Random bites: Cilantro's, McDonald's hoopla
Delights from Cilantro's

Cilantro's Mexican Cantina and Grill

This new location of an old favorite has taken a definite step up in new digs located on Bay Street between Ruth's Chris Steak House and Five Guys Burgers & Fries. Bright, clean and professional looking, this new location of Cilantro's offers many of the menu favorites as the former Garden City eatery - and adds an awesome new bar, complete with a refrigerated rail to keep your brews cold - and the tap stands are coated in chilly ice. I chose a lunch portion of chicken fajitas, electing corn over flour tortillas. As it turns out, the corn version is a bit too fragile to wrap around steaming hot chicken. Still, the tasty tortillas were just right for pushing around big chunks of quick seared and nicely seasoned chicken. Sautéed onions and green bell pepper added crunch and another layer of flavor. Accompanying re-fried beans were the all-to-usual brown lava pool: uninspiring and bland. Shredded lettuce, diced tomato, sour cream and a very well-made guacamole added freshness to the meal. The obligatory pre-meal salsa was some of the best I've tasted. Fresh cilantro chopped into the mildly spicy red sauce was a welcome treat, as were tiny pieces of finely diced onion.

135 W. Bay St./232-7070

Overlooked but not forgotten

I've been remiss not dining on your behalf at Cafe Zeum in the Jepson Center for the Arts. I popped in this week for a wine tasting and had a chance to scour the menu. I'll be going soon and reporting back. My problem: Now that I've seen the menu, I can't decide which of the little cafe's fresh offerings to try.

McDonald's hoopla

Maybe folks are still hung up in the divisiveness of the national health care debate, but when it comes to a McDonald's downtown, I think they are confusing characters - calling out The Grinch instead of Mayor McCheese. This is not the first national fast food burger chain to call downtown home. Krystal was there once; replaced by a sub shop. Dairy Queen had a downtown location. And for those anti-burger nerds, where were your Facebook groups and Twitter rants when locally owned B&D Burgers, locally franchised Fuddrucker's and Five Guys came downtown? I would rather see a locally owned franchise fill what has been an eyesore with a nicely built and sympathetically pleasing structure than to keep looking at those boarded-up windows. I welcome a low-cost, family-friendly eatery and place were the scores of hard working, low paid downtown service employees can get a nutritious salad for the price of a Big Mac value meal.