August 17th, 2010

La Casita: Texico Borders Pearland and Friendswood

In 7 Words: Orange, Mexican, Pearland, Tile, Advertisements, Amistoso, Greasy

I’ve recently made a deal with the family that my wife and I would meet them for dinner every other week. The accord states that we would alternate between Inner Loop and Outer Loop grubberies to keep it fair on the driving and at the very least experience the greater Houston area. It’s the entire region from Galveston and Texas City, up to the Woodlands and Conroe, over to Katy and back out to Baytown that reflects this area’s unique charm.

To say that the Inner Loop is the extent of Houston would be a fallacy, Houstonians from all through out the area travel inside, outside, backwards, forwards, parallel and in between for work, day-trips and those anomalous experiences that only happen here. It’s why The Loop Scoop exists. La Casita Mexican Restaurant, in Pearland is one more bit of evidence in support of this fact.

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After an hour and fifteen minutes on southbound I-45, we reach our destination that should have taken us 30 minutes. I know, I know, if I’m trying to make the case in favor of Outer Loop activities, I probably shouldn’t be relaying my dissatisfaction with the time it took to get here – alas, it’s part of the experience.

Meeting my mother and sister out front in the packed parking lot, my wife and I lead them through the trucks and SUV’s, bobbing and weaving as needed. We enter through one of four doors situated on the right most corner of the building.  Having tried the other doors to the left, I missed the shelves and tables backed up to the other side of the glass, a clue clearly observed by everyone else. Fourth time’s the charm.

Once inside, we walk towards the back of a long waiting room beneath a set of powerful ceiling fans, being overworked in a desperate attempt to keep the room cool. The back of the room houses a small bar with margarita machines and a fridge with ice cold beer, nicely situated near the hostess stand in an effort to take away impatience in the longest of waits. Thankfully, our wait is only 20 minutes. We’re led to the left through a set of arches and directly into the main dining room.

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First things first, we order four waters, two margaritas on the rocks, and one Dos Equis Amber. Then my mother reiterates her predetermined dinner entree, the weight that tipped the scales in favor of La Casita over a handful of other places, Beef and Cheese Nachos. Hearing the description again, along with hot tortilla chips and warm salsa being placed at our table, is enough to make everyone’s appetites increase. We pour the salsa from its miniature pitcher into our own individual bowls, eliminating the need for a spoon or plate. Genius! The salsa hits my mouth bringing a slight spiciness, less salt, and much more of a tomato base than I’m used to. While I am more in favor of chunky salsa, this thinner iteration is surprisingly delicious! Word arrives that my father will be joining us. So as we inform our waitress of what we would like, we add one more item and a beer to accompany it when the food is brought out.

These dinner dates are always a nice way to rehash those things in my week that I take for granted, become indifferent to, or simply forget all together. When the people you’re visiting are not seen on a regular basis you’re forced to re-convey even the most mundane of details and in turn listen to theirs. The resulting conversations all converge at the table offering a delicious mash-up of spoken word, in some instances rivaling the food being eaten.

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With my father comes the food, as if they had planned on making an entrance together. I have the La Casita Chicken Fajitas, as does my dad, my wife has the Beef Taco Salad, while my mother and sister both have the Beef and Cheese Nachos. There is nary a disappointed eye on the opposite side of the table where the women are seated, as each bowl and plate is heaped high with melted queso, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, and perfectly seasoned ground beef. Even the salad that my wife orders is lettuce smothered in the aforementioned ingredients on a bed of chips. My juicy chicken fajitas marinate in a sizzling skillet, deep with green bell peppers and more than enough caramelized onions. Three fresh flour tortillas accompany them.

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Everyone digs into their respective dish. Except for the occasional, “Good grief! This is delicious!” all talking has ceased as we are unable to put our forks down. Only when the plates are nearly empty do I sit back, hands clasped, relishing the aftertaste of one fine Mexican feast.

As a food coma quickens its approach, we decide it best that we ask for the check before our eyelids give in to gravity. Minutes go by and payment for our meal has been accepted. Getting up from the table our walk towards the door takes us passed a bright orange sign at the front of the restaurant. It reads, “Life without Mexican Food is No life at all.” On this night, I have to agree. La Casita was well worth the drive and a testament to the fascinating and unique things found all over the Houston area.

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Where – 18043 County Rd 127 Ste 1, Pearland, TX 77581 (View Map)
What – Meat, cheese and novelty
Wear – Whatever the occasion calls for, sleeveless shirts were spotted, presumably for a workout session somewhere on the premises
How Much – Cheap and delicious, the price is right for the complexity of the food

— Richard

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