Spring in Texas. Life blooms anew again after the sedate dreariness of winter. Now, I'm afraid that spring in the Lone Star State isn't usually quite as dramatic as it is up North, when the transformation from March snows to April flowers is a clarion call to be welcomed back into the human race. Still, winter brown recedes here just the same, and plenty of March rain (in most years) guarantees a virtual carpeting of our beloved bluebonnets, Indian paintbrushes and other flowers that make Sunday driving a virtual necessity. Unfortunately, economics made even a driving tour to our beloved Hill Country out of the question right now, but luckily, Grapevine beckoned to us with its rustic downtown charm and excellent wineries, so we decided on a mini-vacation, and one of the highlights of our tour was when my lovely wife The Rock Star and I lunched one sunny day at Esparza's Mexican Restaurant.
How was the atmosphere? Guys, this is Grapevine! If you haven't journeyed there, rest assured that most establishments comply readily with the city ordinance that states that all restaurants in the town limits must have excellent atmosphere. Esparza's is no different: Old restored house dating from the late 1800s just a couple blocks off of Main street. Plenty of indoor seating in the wood-and-tile interior, while there is a beautiful patio fronting Worth street. In fact, the patio was our preferred dining destination, but when we requested it, we were informed that the patio was for patrons who only wanted to drink and snack, not order lunch or dinner. I have to admit, we found this quite odd, but since hunger was calling incessantly, we decided to accept an interior table. As it turned out, we were settled into a lovely nook just off the main dining room, where we started to peruse the rather extensive menu.
Rest assured, at Esparzas you will be able to find something to placate your taste buds, from classic Tex-Mex such as enchiladas and fajitas to more esoteric offerings such as puffed tacos and seafood tostadas. You can even order Gringo food like hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, but be forwarned that I believe the Texas Constitution forbids anyone over the age of twelve to not like Mexican food in our fair state. Queso? Of course! On most days, we wouldn't think of dining Mexican without our favorite starter, and the thick, rich cheese dip paired well with spicy salsa and thin and crispy chips. As usual, my bride was looking for anything fajita, so the Fajita Enchiladas sounded right up her alley. Juicy chicken breast and smokey beef combined with very good rice and Charro beans for a quality lunch. (My wife doesn't care for refried beans, but she has become a fan of the Charro and black legumes.) Also as usual, I had searched the menu online prior to our visit and decided on the Texas Tacos. Three pan-fried corn tortillas were stuffed chock-full of juicy chicken breast and Monterey Jack cheese, adding up to some of the best tacos I've had in awhile. (In my opinion, tacos filled with meat and then fried while stuffed almost always beat their simple ground-beef-dressed cousins.) We skipped desserts, as we distinctly heard a winery down the street summoning us to a tasting, so we boxed and left.
Esparza's staff deftly handled the large lunchtime crowd, although I'm still somewhat miffed that we were unable to dine on the patio. Website is www.esparzastexas.com, if you wish to drop them a note concerning that very practice.
Dining at Esparza's whether springtime or otherwise, may very well make you feel as green as springtime in Texas. Discover your own getaway soon, and remember:
LIFE IS TOO SHORT FOR MEDIOCRE FOOD!!!