Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Second Review of Casa Naranja

4205 North Mississippi Avenue
Happy Hour: 4 - 6 PM

It's been forever since we last did a group review! These are my favorite because I get to do happy hour with some of my favorite people AND it gives multiple perspectives on the same restaurant. I especially enjoy writing as the official vegetarian...and so that is where I will start.

This was not the first time I visited this particular establishment. If you've been reading, you know that my boyfriend moved into the neighborhood last May and we've been to almost every establishment on Mississippi. We stopped in at Casa Naranja in the first few weeks of exploring the neighborhood. I didn't realize that is was a small plates kind of establishment going in...which was a mistake. You see, I don't eat meat (and haven't since I was thirteen) but I do eat. And I eat a lot. As per my usual routine, I had been to the gym and was READY for dinner. We sat down in the back and were quickly greeted by the server. I ordered a margarita that was especially tasty. The food was all very good, too. It just wasn't enough. I think that I ordered every vegetarian option but one--sharing them, of course, with my boyfriend--and left still quite hungry. For dinner (especially having avoided all the fancy meat options listed on the menu) I was seriously disappointed. For happy hour, I can't say the same. And I'm glad that we stopped in...because now I'm ready to return. It looks like they've even added a few things to the menu.

We were the first to walk in for happy hour but the place started to fill up as the time went by. And I have a feeling (especially after taking a look at the outdoor seating--read, hammocks--in the back) that this place is especially busy in the summer months. I ordered a glass of the sangria and started to peruse the menu.

The sangria is a lot lighter than others I've had. It's less sweet and more flavorful. And it came garnished with an orange slice that had been dusted with cinnamon. (It's the little things, right?)

For a light snack, I selected the yam fries to share and a salad. The salad was good but very typical. There were candied walnuts (which I had to push to the side--they taste so good but do serious damage to the roof of my mouth) slices of apple and a light vinaigrette. I enjoyed every bite.

The yam fries were exceptional. I know that my co-blogger believes the Bonfire has the best sweet potato fries...but I'm going to have to argue that these are too different to compare. First, the flavor of the yam is still apparent. It's more vegetable, less fried. Second, they aren't as salty (and I really do think that if the Bonfire fries were served without their special salt and pepper topping they wouldn't be nearly as appealing). And third, the size of them made every bite that much better. No, not because I was eating more...but instead because I could crunch through the outer crispy layer and hit the soft and perfectly cooked yam inside. So good!

Service was great (just like last time) but I do think that we might have received a few extra stops by the table once he knew what we were up to. It's all my fault, too...sometimes I can be super discrete with my camera but this place just didn't have the lighting to let me get in a good pic. Oh well.

Food: Meets
Drinks: Meets
Service: Meets
Ambiance: Meets
Value: Meets (unless you are super hungry, not planning to eat meat, and going for dinner)


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