Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mojito's has the MoJo!

Today I finally made it to Mojito's to give it a try.  I had posted a comment and a "Call to Action" a few days ago.  I'd like to publicly thank all of you who joined me today at my "Restaurant Rave" and supported this family business AND my friends who went earlier in the week to try them out.  Your dedication to local business is admirable and vital to our city's growth and culture.

Here we go...I love this place!  First, as soon as I crossed the threshold, I was impressed with the decor.  Rich wooden floors, warm colors, cool drinking glasses and plates, plants and the large screen at the back of the restaurant shows the surf rolling in and out on some beautiful Caribbean beach.  Nice touch.  Some of my friends were already there.  As soon as I joined the table, our very polite and friendly server was right for my drink order.  All of us opted for, you guessed it, a MOJITO.  Delicioso indeed.  

My friend Laurin and I decided to share two dishes so we could sample more.  She ordered the Mojito Cubano Sandwich with the cilantro-pesto pasta salad on the side.  I chose the Piccadillo Empanadas.  Our server suggested having one chicken and one beef for comparison.  This plate came with black beans, a side of yucca, grilled plantains and a vibrant yellow rice.  The Cuban sandwich was just as my Dad said: the best Cuban I've ever had.  Instead of roast pork slices, Mojito's uses roasted and pulled pork.  The pork had a very clean flavor; not over-seasoned.  Neil would really like it because too often he complains that dishes hide the meat's flavor; he just likes to actually taste the meat.  Also tucked in there was a nice smoked ham, delicious pickles, melted cheese and the bread was wonderful.  I'm not usually a big devotee of pasta salad, but the cilantro-pesto was a bright and pleasing dressing for the bowtie pasta.

Chicken and Beef Empanadas "Piccadillo"
The empanadas were also a "thumbs up" dish.  I've read a bazillion recipes for Piccadillo over the years, but have never made it myself so I was very curious about this dish.  My helpful server prefers the chicken, but since beef is more traditional, she recommended getting one of each.  I'm glad she did because it was interesting to compare the two. Laurin preferred the beef and I went the way of the chicken.  I felt like the chicken had more of the green olive flavor, which I really like.  The black beans and rice were both very well cooked, although I might add a light touch of salt if I were in the kitchen, but of course, y'all know I'm a big advocate of NaCl.  I've also never eaten yucca before so I was really looking forward to tasting it.  It has a similar feel and consistency to a potato, but sweeter.  And lastly, the plantains were sweet, well cooked and delicious.

Now, I had the pleasure of meeting Jane, the owner.  Her son and daughter are her business partners.  She is a delightful lady and the place just lit up once she arrived.  She talks to her patrons, but not hovering around your table like a Ruby Tuesday manager who says boiler plate stuff like "How is everything you guys?"  In a real way...Jane knows a lot of her customers by name, she laughs, she thanks people for being there.  She's a friendly face and certainly a hands-on influence in her it's supposed to be!

Jane bringing Mom that signature Avocado Pie
Before we wrapped things up, Jane brought our table a dessert smorgasbord.  First, that avocado pie that my Mom keeps raving about...I get it!  It is absolutely fabulous.  It is so smooth and creamy, not overly sugary and sweet, and it's beautiful to look at .  Also on the tasting plate was a wonderful coconut cake, a strawberry layer cake and a cheesecake that made Laurin oohh and ahh with delight. She's a cheesecake lover, you see.

In short, this is a great restaurant folks!  It's in the heart of the Vista and close to the "work" district (Main St., Statehouse, Assembly St.).  Family owned businesses are the key to a thriving local economy.  In Columbia, we are lucky to have a pretty decent restaurant scene for a town our size.  Without local restaurateurs there is no restaurant scene.  It would be corporate crap; just another Harbison Blvd.  Please try Mojito's.  I have a feeling you'll like what you find there and you'll be happy to become a regular customer.  Mojitos Tropical Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I am ashamed to say that even though I am friends with Ms. Jane and her daughter Lynette, I haven't been there yet.

    You interested in meeting me for lunch/dinner one day ? I ran into Ms. Jane a couple of weekends ago and promised I'd come by soon!



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