It seems like the past few weeks, instead of slowing down and enjoying the summer break, life has become even more hectic. Mondays are figuratively twice as long and twice as stressful. Is there a cure for the Monday Blues that can successfully combat that dreaded impact? Is Mezcal Monday or Margarita Monday a thing yet? Well, if it’s not, we’re officially making it happen because these gals won’t let another week pass them by without having a moment of Zen (or do we mean, Zing Zang with a dash of spirit? *wink*).
Coming up with ideas as to what we want to eat is easy, but ideas as to where in particular we want to dine, is a whole other deal.
Trisha: Are we meeting up for dinner tonight?
Gaby: Yes, where would you like to go?
Trisha: I have a couple of places in mind, but what are you in the mood for?
Gaby: Hmmm. I don’t know. Know where I can get a stiff one?
Trisha: I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt on this one and assume that you mean a stiff drink. Lol! So, how about El Rancho Grande in San Juan?
Gaby: Never been there. Let’s go!
You’ll find El Rancho Grande a few blocks down from La Basilica de San Juan. Keep an eye out for a new, modern building on your left hand side with a bright neon that reads El Rancho Grande. Walk in and you will be immediately welcomed and escorted to your table. As we were lead by our server, the cantina-esque looking bar caught our eye and we both exclaimed, “Can you seat us over there?”
As if they had been training for years, our server handed off with ease, the baton to the next. Our new bartender/server, greeted us with a warm smile and the words we longed to hear, “What can I get you to drink?” Margaritas with a Trechas rim and extra olives, two glasses of water, and one Queso Rancho Grande (melted white cheese with mushrooms, chorizo, onion, bell pepper, tomato and tortillas) were ordered without an ounce of hesitation.
We waited for our order and were brought fresh, crispy tortilla chips and a spicy salsa, along with a small bowl of cheese dip. You could smell the homemade salsa’s intensity from the other end of the table. Our Margaritas and queso quickly showed up and our server knew to give us a few moments alone to enjoy our cheesy delight and each other’s company.
Trisha: This might just be the BEST queso I’ve ever tasted! Like seriously...no joke.
Gaby: Are you okay over there? You look like you just found true love lol!Can’t beat melted cheese with chorizo and handmade, fresh tortillas!
Once our server returned, we ordered a Caldo Tlalpeño and a traditional Botana for 2. Before you make any hasty assumptions, please know that we were four guests at the table, not just us two. For some of us (ixnay the “some”, and insert ONE of our guests), the caldo had a little too much cheese.Nonsense! No such thing as too much cheese.
The “small” Botana for 2 had fajitas and chicken, panchos with beans and MORE cheese, sweet peppers, grilled onions, guacamole, taquitos, quesadillas and fried squash. Plus, it was served with rice, beans, and warm tortillas! They probably envisioned Twin Towers Tim Duncan and David Robinson were going to eat this Botana for “2” because it was HuuuuuGE and not short on tastiness!
Next time you’re in their neck of the woods, visit El Rancho Grande at 101 S. Nebraska Avenue, San Juan, TX. Their hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 7:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m.; Sunday 7:00 a.m.-12:00 a.m. On Sundays you can enjoy some homemade menudo, pozole and barbacoa along with their traditional Mexican breakfasts. Happy Hour is 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m., 7 days a week. For more information, call them at (956) 781-3601 or follow them on Facebook @ElRanchoGrandeRestaurant.
Gaby Jones and Trisha Watts work hand-in-hand with the service industry. Jones is in charge of craft and imported beer for L&F Distributors-South Texas and Watts is a freelance writer specializing in the marketing of the service industry. Each week they will have a new adventure and provide an opinion on multiple locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.