Tex-Mex in Abu Dhabi?!? And Dr. Pepper!!!

On Monday night Beth and I ate in one of our hotel’s restaurants. I had the Arabic mixed grill (more kofta baby!) which was very good. The beef kebabs were especially well seasoned and the highlight of my meal. Unfortunately, there were only three or four little cubes. Beth had Thai curry with duck. The sauce was awesome—lots of coconut milk, but still enough heat to keep it spicy. Seriously, it was the kind of sauce that you would drink by itself. It was that good.

Tuesday was Beth’s first full day at work. Because she wasn’t 100% sure how to walk home she decided to walk with a co-worker who was headed to the mall near our hotel. I offered to meet her there for dinner (there are a few real restaurants), but Beth said she wanted to do something “more adventurous” for dinner.

I looked in the guidebook, but our hotel seems to be located in the Bermuda Triangle of fine dining in Abu Dhabi. The only things in walking distance are fast food joints our tourist traps on the beach.

When Beth got back to the room, I ran through styles of food (Arabic, Chinese, French, Indian, International, Italian, Mediterranean, etc). We were both being indecisive. As kind of a joke I tossed out “Mexican.” There are actually two different Mexican restaurants in our guide book: The Alamo and El Sombrero. Both are located in upscale hotels (which means they can serve alcohol) and got good reviews.

We had also seen another Mexican restaurant in the mall the other day, but couldn’t remember the name. I found the mall website and a link to the Cantina Laredo website. We looked at the menu and the food sounded good. The prices, however, seemed off. Were they in dollars? Then I realized that it was an American chain with restaurants across the Southwest and one location in Abu Dhabi.

What the hell. We decided to give it a shot.

The main problem with eating at a restaurant in a mall is that they can’t serve alcohol. That means the margaritas are cheap, but there’s no point in ordering one. We did chips and salsa, however. I thought both were a bit pedestrian. The chips definitely weren’t made locally and they were too thin. The salsa had a nice texture, but not enough spice for a true Texas boy. Maybe the locals are pansies.

The queso, however, was very good. Beth totally filled up on cheese dip before her food even arrived.

It’s a good thing she did, because her meal was bad. She ordered cheese enchiladas, but they came bathed—nay, drenched—in sour cream. (Beth doesn’t like sour cream.) She tried scraping it off, but the damage was done. Her rice was little consolation. Nothing was very good.

My dinner, on the other hand, was quite edible. I had the house specialty Camaron Poblano Asada, which is grilled steak around a poblano pepper with shrimp, mushrooms, onion, and monterrey jack cheese. I thought the rice was fine.

It was $40 and one meal we wish we could do over again.

The whole evening, however, was rescued by our trip to the big supermarket located in the mall. No one we’d spoken to knew where you could buy Dr. Pepper. Imagine our excitement when we turned the corner onto the soda isle and saw not one, but two, rows of Dr. Pepper. Beth literally jumped up and down clapping her hands. They had both the American (high fructose corn syrup) and the British (made from real sugar) versions. We bought one of each. Beth took them to work this morning to show off to her coworkers.

We’ve also managed to find Rotel tomatoes (a crucial ingredient to Tex-Mex home cooking) and the whole Old El Paso product line. Equally reassuring to the American shopper are Stove Stop stuffing, Prego Spaghetti Sauce, and Velveeta Cheese.

I think we’re gonna make it here.

2 Responses to “Tex-Mex in Abu Dhabi?!? And Dr. Pepper!!!”

  1. Gheda says:

    Hey I tried Dr. pepper once and loved it but I can’t seem to find it anymore.. in which mall did you find it ? which supermarket? co-op, lulu or carrefour

  2. viclindsay says:

    Sorry for the slow reply. We haven’t seen Rotel anywhere for a long time. If you find some, let me know.