Tag Archives: dining

It’s your Birthday…it’s your day! I mean, YOUR MONTH!

That’s right, you read me correctly… nowadays and as you get older, birthdays are no longer a birthDAY but rather a celebration for a month, starting on the 1st day of the month and culminating into some real fun on your actual day and then through out the month – but, make sure you time everything out because the amount of birthday deals out there can get plain overwhelming.  For me, birthdays (now that I am broaching 40) are not about getting things from the people you love per se or feeling the love from all your facebook, twitter, and social networking buds, it is also about the deals you can score from merchants and retailers all over town.  Boo yah!

I am reminded I wrote another article on birthday deals so make sure you check it out and then compare notes with this one.  Here are some of the things you simply must do to get these deals but don’t wait til your birthday month to sign up – do it well in advance.  And once the deals come in categorize by them expiration date.  After all, you do not want to miss a free $7 meal or a free scoop of ice cream, or 80z of yogurt but what would really hurt is missing the $15 gift card at a merchant or $10 off your purchase ANYTHING as well.  So, are you ready to party like it’s your birthday?  Well, cool – here are some birthday-friendly merchants and I am sure there are more.

Food and Drink

These days, its expensive to eat out so when a merchant throws coupons and freebies your way, you are not going to pass them up right?   I have mentioned some of these before in my article written last year but here they are again.  Sign up for their birthday club and you will get an email or a coupon in the mail for free stuff:

(1) Rubio’s–  I think they have the best deal – free meal up to $7 for the birthday gal but you generally only get 2 weeks to use it so rush in and use it.  Rubio’s has some amazing meals and fresh and healthy too!

(2) Smart Cow Yogurt Bar– This one is not a chain and not franchised yet.  They are local to Westminster, CO but a free 8oz yogurt coupon is so sweet!  And if you only get 30z, fret not, put your kid’s and your hubby’s yogurt on the scale and they will discount you the entire 80z!  Sign up at Smart Cow.

(3) Baskin-Robbins – you simply should sign your kiddos up for this and yourself too!  The birthday club at BR offers a free scoop to the birthday star and it can be used in the month of your birthday.

(4) Starbucks- just sign up on-line and register your card.  The reward comes in the mail though in your birthday month and I always a order a VENTI with extra shots- yum!  $4.75 never tasted so good as a Venti Salted Caramel Mocha NON FAT of course 🙂

(5) Dunkin Donuts– you have to sign up on-line for their Club and register a DD PERKS Card and boom!  Your free coffee will arrive in the mail in your month.  I think it expires at the end of the month but many DDs will take it afterwards too because there are so few of them.

(6) Red Robin– this place is tradition for us- we go here every birthday every year and the kiddos adore the balloons and the singing.  So how could we not make this a family affair.  So, get the Red Royalty Reward Card- not only do rewards add up but you get a free birthday burger.  Register your entire family on it so the burger loads on there automatically.  This can be a $10 value and soooo yummylicious even for us vegetarians who get the veggie patty.

(7) Panera–  Get their Panera loyalty card- it’s free and register it and then for your birthday they load a special treat on it.  You never know what it is til you log on and check so check before you go and enjoy a free bagel, a free pastry, or free breakfast item– again, it varies but I can guarantee it will be yummy!

(8) Buffalo Wild Wings- does a great deal for your birthday for free dessert…. yum!

(9) Melting Pot–  Melting Pot used to be better in year’s past when I got a free chocolate fondue worth almost $16.00 and nowadays they are a little cheaper but they give you free chocolate-covered strawberries for dining there during your birthday month.  I love fondue so this is a good deal but the free fondue was so much better.

(10) Egg & I- My friend in the comment below indicated a free meal at the EGG & I for your birthday- sign up for them too – I investigated this a bit and you can do at their locations.

(11) Sweet Tomatoes– we love this place and you can sign up on-line for their birthday club.  They will send you great coupons too!

(12) AMC Theaters- my least favorite theater also just sent me an email on my actual birthday for a free large soda when I drop $50 to see one of their movies.  I guess it’s because I had a movie watcher card.  So you too can have a giant soda at AMC for your birthday for free.  It’s good for the whole month.  Of course, unbeknownst to AMC, I have given up soda for lent so I will not be using my coupon but will pass it on to someone in the office I know will.

Stores & Retailers

(1) Macy’s– If you are a red card member at Macy’s and update your profile online and make sure to include your birthday, you will get a $10 coupon in the mail or online (via email) to use if you use your Macy’s Card

(2) Kohl’s – if you have a Kohl’s card, you will get a $10 off any purchase (and you can use this with your discounts coupons too) – what a great deal!

(3) Ann Taylor– if you have the Ann Taylor MasterCard or regular card you get $15— yup! $15 off your purchase and you can use this at the outlets too – wow! Momma is going shopping.

(4) Blue Jeans Bar- this is local to Cherry Creek in the Denver metro area but you can use it online and if you know Blue Jeans Bar, wow!  you get $35 off your jeans and Blue Jeans Bar has an amazing customer service policy and if there are problems you can head into the store and they fix it for you.  These are amazing jeans and while expensive, so worth it and $35 is amazing but it is NOT usable on sale items (boo! hoo!)

(5) Anthropologie-I do not get this deal because I do not shop there but my sister in law does- make sure you sign up to get this deal at the store.  I hear it is $10 off.

(6) Eddie Bauer– I do not have an Eddie Bauer but hubby shops here a lot and we have an outlet very close to us and they send a birthday reward too of $10 off your purchase so we generally go use that for his birthday as well.

(7) Victoria’s Secret– get the Angel Card and every year for your birthday you will get $10 off your purchase made with said card.  It’s a good deal if you need stuff.  I go in and just get $10 worth of sale underwear and it is so worth it!

(8) Aveda– Aveda used to be better about this and sent cards in the mails but now they send you an email with a free product on your birthday – it is generally travel size but this year I did not get it – check your junk filters just in case.

(9) Gap– If you have a GAP Card, they also send you a $10 reward to use in the stores.  There are no restrictions but there is an expiration date so check yours.

(10) DSW– again, you need to be a DSW Card member and you give them your birthday when you sign up for it.  You will get a $10 off reward card to use in your birth month and you can take $10 off anything include clearance items.  I got my tennis shoes for free on my husband’s reward on year.  It’s a great deal.

Lots of other merchants give deals if you sign up for their club, e-mail list, or subscribe to their newsletters and rewards cards.  It is a good idea to inquire at the store you frequent and especially if you really love their products, never hurts to get on an e-mail or mail list to get some great rewards!   Happy Birthday and enjoy your …. MONTH!

Am I missing some great birthday deal? Please add to the list with your comments here and help our readers out- where should we all be signing up.  Your input is valued.


Disney World on a Dime? Ahhh, Forget About it!

The Magic Kingdom

You may have heard Disneyland or Disney World described as the “happiest place on earth.”  Well, I may not agree  even 75% with that assessment but I have to say from the outset, their salute to our heroes (Military- Active, Reserve, Guard and military families) is phenomenal.  Thanks, Disney, for saluting those serve – it makes going to Disney an affordable reality for many military families who otherwise could not go and experience this for their families.

Fireworks at Magic Kingdom at 10pm

This was our first family trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL and with that comes tons of excitement – well, mainly from the princesses or pirates in your home.  Last time I was in Disney, I think I was in my teens with my parents – almost 20 years ago.  I never understand why perfectly sane, educated adults or retirees go there especially the Magic Kingdom unless there are kids with them.  I just do not get it- of course, I have friends who got married there and after re-visiting two weeks ago, again, I just do not see it.  Ha! Maybe your comments will help me understand.  I thought maybe I’d change my mind when I went this time… NOPE!  No mind changing, nothing magical happened to me make me change my belief that Disney World is not just the most crowded, germ-infested place around but can literally suck you dry of any savings you have left.  I thought I’d title this “Disney on a Dime” because honestly I do not think Disney can be done with anything less than $1000 – and that is the cheap, ghetto, one-day trip – i.e. complete with Motel $39 and everything.  But it’s not all negative- in my codeine-stupor I still have some great tips to share with you first-timers venturing out there and I promise it’s not all negative so please read on.

Electric Parade is at 9 and 11pm

The Passes & Parking:

We were lucky in one aspect because we were able to get Military Passes to Disney World which cost us $138 each for a four-day park hopper.  Of course, with a 2 and 4 year old we weren’t do a whole lot of hopping since Magic Kingdom alone can take you the full four days to explore.  Our trip was less than 2 days and with kids, you have to expect move slower, and stop for potty breaks and alas, the expensive food in the park.  So… if you have high ambitions for what you as a parent want to do in Disney World, leave those at the ticket and transportation center or the parking lot and don’t look back!  This trip is not about you, it’s about the kiddos so plan accordingly.  Second, do not expect this trip to be a gentle stroll on the beach or relaxing- even with your mindset of “it’s okay, I do not need to see it all”, you will still not find anything about Disney relaxing- well, except for maybe once you reach your car in the giant parking lot. 

TIP #1: Yes, PARKING is included with your military salute hopper pass – you just show your ID card and your Salute to Military Disney Card to the parking attendant and you will be saluted on in – you just saved $14.00 – CONGRATS and thanks to Disney for saluting its heroes.  If parking is not included with your pass, here are some tips for that:  If you are staying at the resorts, use the buses or monorails or boats available.  If you are staying at a nearby hotel, most customers of Mousesavers.com above get free transportation included with their hotel.  Ask your hotel re: shuttles.  Some shuttles are as cheap as $5 per person round trip and kids are not included in this.  Also, another option is to take buses from Downtown Disney.  There is a lot which has no hourly limit.  From there you walk to the downtown Disney transportation center where buses will take you directly to the turnstiles at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, etc.  Honestly the parking at Magic Kingdom sucks because you park, then you take a boat or monorail and then you still have to enter through the turnstiles (it turns into a 1 hour trip to just get into DW).  So, if you can take the transportation that is free from any of the resorts or Downtown Disney.  But you just need to be careful of where you park – you can’t park just anywhere.  Also if there are HUGE Crowds for the monorail, take the boat- it fits 200 people at once and the monorail fits half as many on a good day.  So…. keep that in mind.  Another short cut is to use the monorail to the resorts and then just get off at the tickets and transportation or The Polynesian Village stop.

TIP #2:  (FOR MILITARY) These passes are great but expire Sept 30, 2012 and have some black out dates for Magic Kingdom so keep that in mind.  You can get them at your local ITT office or at Shades of Green and on-site at Disney World but avoid the long lines and get them early.  To activate them, try to show up one day AFTER 2pm and then, activate them.  The morning lines can be daunting at the ticket booths.  Also, these passes are personalized – meaning, if you are an adult, your fingerprint associates you with these passes.  For parents who share custody, the finger print of one adult will be registered with the kids’ passes so if you plan on sending kiddo with the other parent next time, there will be a fingerprint issue if you are not with them.  Keep this in mind!

TIP #3- If you are not military and are looking for good deals, check out these websites for some good rates on lodging and passes or do a timeshare 90-minute briefing and you can get $48/day passes for your family of up to 4. 

(1) Mouseavers.com is a great website and if you subscribe to their newsletter you can get even more discounts.  Do it today if you are going soon.

(2) Undercovertourist.com is another great site for non-military passes and discounts

(3) Trip Advisor and other sites also recommend getting them on site there if you wish from Wal-Mart even – check out this thread for even more suggestions:

Disney World is not cheap so if you do not have the military pass, try to go with someone who has one (yes your military friends can get up to 6 people including themselves) activated to enter the park – no familial relationship required.  Try to plan a trip with your active, reserve, or Guard friends.  And from what I hear, their cruise specials are great right now too.  Way to salute our heroes, Disney!

Meeting Belle

TIP #4 (Stroller or no Stroller?) I would recommend a stroller for kids 7 and under.  That’s right – 7 and under and I would take your own.  Stroller rental is expensive- $20 for a single and $31 daily for a double.  That’s right- you can save $31 per day if you just take your own.  We did as you can see above and it worked out great for us.  They were tired and passed out by the evenings’ rides back on the ferry boats and trust me, if I could have wheeled around DisneyWorld I would have done that.  That being said, getting a stroller through certain areas is tougher than walking.  There were a lot of handicapped access, parking areas for strollers and get this:  in the parking areas, there were employees hired to move the strollers around, to organize the areas, and to keep your stroller out of the sun. How nice!  So, when you come out of a ride and cannot find your stroller, fret not, it was probably just moved so look around for it.  Yes, they can touch your strollers.

The Magic Kingdom and my Top Tips for your time there including rides, where to see the parades, dining and budget:

There is a lot to do at the Magic Kingdom itself, without even considering Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.   First and foremost, print out a map or get one on-line and there are apps with maps too!  The Magic Kingdom is easy to navigate and divided well: The Main Street/Entrance area, the Castle Area, To the right:  Tomorrow Land which leads to Fantasyland, and to the left, Adventureland,  and Frontierland, with Liberty Square tucked away left of the Castle and can lead you to back to Fantasyland.  We completely missed Tomorrowland and did not have time to do a couple of other rides we want.  Depending on the age and height of your kids, you can ride almost every ride at Magic Kingdom and most at Animal Kingdom but Epcot and Hollywood Studios may be better geared for the big kids and the big kid in you.  As far as Magic Kingdom goes, it is always crowded and I do not think any time of the year is less crowded than another…. that being said, if you want to avoid Spring Break, Summer peak vacation times, and Labor Day weekend, it might be more pleasant.  We went in what we considered an off-time but it was Mardi Gras so a lot of people from New Orleans came over to Disney.  It’s interesting because I heard from my cousins who went to Epcot and Hollywood Studios that it was not crowded at all.  I think everyone was at the Magic Kingdom- figures! It has the most to do for younger kids and the character meetings are a joy.  Here are some tips for Magic Kingdom (whether busy or not):

Aladdin's Magic Carpet

TIP #5- Do try to get there first thing when it opens (some days are extended- for example, M through W right now are 8am through 1am (yikers that is a long day) but getting there first thing is less crowded and alternatively, come in the evenings- after 4pm – it is not crowded at all.  So, you could do a 4pm to 1am jaunt if you so dare as well.  If you do get there first thing in the morning, go straight to Fantasyland so the wait times for rides are less.  Another time that wait times for rides are really little to none are after 8pm especially during the 9pm parade and 10pm fireworks.  After the fireworks end though, watch out!   We took some rides at night and there was no wait at all like Aladdin’s magic carpet ride was 40 minutes in the afternoon (and it was hot and annoying to wait) but at night, 2 minutes or less.  Pirates of the Caribbean was a 65 plus minute wait during the day but they had fast pass but at dusk, we walked right in and it was a 1 minute wait.  So, timing is everything when it comes to the rides. 

Waiting for the Jungle Cruise

TIP #6- If a ride offers fast pass, do it but be careful of when it tells you to return because you can do only one fast pass at a time.  Now, here is the trick- you can do fast pass for everyone in your group or do it for two adults and then not for the kiddos.  Then, for the kiddos using their entry pass, get fast passes elsewhere- it is gaming of the system a little but no entrance person will refuse to let you enter together as a family and fast pass is really fast  – to the dismay of those who choose to wait in the regular line.   We got the fast pass for the jungle cruise and showed up 5 mins early and the fast pass line was moving so fast, we were almost turned away because we got in line too quickly.  So, just come back during the appointed time and here is another tip for fast pass:  You get an hour window  – most people come back right at the minute of their first appointed time.  If you come at the end of your fast pass hour time, there is less waiting.  Also some of the people at the fast pass entrance are just kind to people with kids and may or may not look at the times so worth a shot, right? 

TIP #7- Dining is expensive whether you are at a resort for Disney or in the park.  To feed a family of four lunch can cost you almost $50 and that includes drinks.  So, we did something fun since it was my daughter’s birthday celebration – we did a character dining on our 2nd day there.  We did 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian and I have to say I was impressed.  Most character dining experiences except for one are usually at the resorts and do not require admission to the parks so if you time these right – ie. breakfast with characters or dinner; you can actually save a day on your park hopper, drive straight to the resort where the dining experience is and then save your full day for another day.  The character dining is something you will truly remember and is a fun time to be with your family, sitting, eating, and laughing about your day.  The buffet was spectacular and I didn’t need to eat again the rest of the day and if you have special dietary restrictions, they accommodate these in style!  The chef will even walk with you and identify what you cannot eat and get this- he or she will bring out special dishes for you.  Since I am vegetarian, we got tons of food and others were jealous of the extras I got.   It is the lowest stress thing we did at Disney.  And when Prince charming and Cinderella came to our table and danced with our girls- wow!  Priceless!  Character experience dining can be expensive so if you are going to eat at the resort and at Disney, go ahead and get the dining plans and you will get a discount. 

TIP #8-  This leads me to Tip #8, if you are going to go a lot between now and the time the kids leave the nest, go ahead and get the Disney Rewards VISA Card (there is one with a fee and one without) which can be used to purchase movies, etc.  And the rewards add up so you can use them to get merchandise at the Disney Store, and use them at resorts to upgrade your status.  You get bonus Disney gift cards for signing up and on anniversaries.  It is worth it if you plan on going a lot. 

TIP #9- Okay, now for some other tid bits- use shortcuts to Fantasyland- you can go through Frontierland especially during busy hours or when the fireworks or parades are going on at the castle.  If you are on main street or the entrance, take the OLD train into Frontierland and walk a few blocks from there and find yourself in Fantasyland.  Same goes for the electric parade.  Main street is the most crowded and around the castle.  So, go find a place behind a rope at Frontierland near the train and watch the electric parade from there in peace -without people jumping in front of you and the crowds… grab a snack at Pecos Bill’s outlet or the $6.00 popcorn and get a front row seat.  Also, for the character parade at 3pm, a great place to sit and watch is smack dab in the center of Liberty Square across from the Hall of Presidents… it looks like an exclusive roped off area but it is not.  And great circular views can be found there especially for little kids.

TIP #10- Another secret is meeting the characters.  You can find out on a phone app. or through the daily events sheets where and when the characters are and if you really want to see them get fast pass for it or let this be the one line you suck up and stand in.  But be judicious- we waited 45 mins for the fairies- Tinkerbell and some fairy dude and I gotta say it was a horrible waste of time at night.  On the other hand, meeting Mickey and Minnie is easy at the parlor right as you enter on Main Street and the Princesses are there too – they change daily so check which ones are showing at which time.  AND BONUS: At Main Street you can get Fast Pass for the princesses and for Mickey’s Magic Show.  We were not so lucky with meeting Ariel at her Grotto (yes that is what it is called)- some characters only appear for an hour or two so, if you do not know times or location, you will miss out so just something to consider and if that (over rides) is the purpose of your trip, ask at the Information desk (on the left) as you enter through the main gates at MAIN STREET.  This will help you plan your day! 

FINAL TIP  (SPENDING): You simply must set a budget for yourself and the kids- ie., hotel, transportation, food, and of course, souvenir shopping.  You can seriously drop a lot of money in addition to the airfare, rental car, and lodging which are all just necessities.  If your hotel has free transportation to/from everything, trust me- you do not need a car so save your money.  But, food at Disneyworld is expensive.  If you can pack some food, hats, parkas do so so you save on unnecessary expenses. But where most people fail is buying goods like crazy light sabers that glow, the souvenir bucket or cup, the mouse ears, and the apparel and merchandiseThe vendors are pushing trolleys and inevitably on every street corner.  So are the popcorn, popsicle, ice cream, and overpriced drink carts.  It is easy to see how in a day you can easily spend over $250 just in goods, food and beverage, and impulse buys. Bring a water bottle for all of you and refill it – stay hydrated on free water.  Bring snacks from Walgreens, Walmart, and other stores near to your hotel.  In fact, set a limit for your kids:  You can buy one souvenir at Disney World and the rest of trinkets for your friends/office-mates etc… we will get at Wal-Mart or Walgreens down the street or that nutty 4-story high Souvenir store on INTERNATIONAL DRIVE.  you can get T-shirts, hats, umbrellas, mugs, magnets, light sabers, and everything you can get at Disney cheaper at a local store or a souvenir store off  of International Drive- up to 50% or more!!!!  So, that is a no brainer and hopefully will not wreck your budget either.  After all, you want to return here sometime without a 3rd mortgage on your home right?  That being said, set a reasonable budget and try to stick to it- I am not talking about depriving your kids of food and sustenance but you can be smarter of where you pick up that food and beverage or take things with you.  They search your bags but not for food and drink – just for alcohol and weapons.

Overall, we did have fun and I have to say I felt like a kid again, but it was the most exhausting trip I have taken in sometime and definitely was not relaxing for me.  I have a Type-A personality and I had to control myself and my anger many times.  The employees at Disney are the nicest, most helpful people ever- it’s in their employment contracts after all, but the visitors are not always so nice and grumpy parents make for grumpy visitors and fellow line-mates.  But then I also met some really sweet friendly visitors too.  Even some Patriots fans so see, they are not so bad after all.  I found the funniest to be when elderly retired people or couples there without kids were getting frustrated with kids.  Hello!  It’s the Magic Kingdom.  If you want a quiet experience, perhaps this is not the place for you.  All in all though, the girls are still talking about their trip and unlike us, ready to go back!  And even while I cringe still, 2 weeks later when I look at the pictures, I know deep down, I had a blast too!  These are the memories I will cherish for a lifetime – oh lord!  Just like the commercial said…. HELP!!!

Have you been to Walt Disney World? Please share your experiences with the readers and your tips.  Mine are the “tip” of the iceberg and we were only there for a limited time.  Would love to read your comments and thoughts….


Tiffin’s – Fast Food Indian Cafe in Boulder, Colorado

photo courtesy of yelp

We went to Boulder a couple weeks ago to try out a new Indian fast food cafe called Tiffin’s– this place is 100% family owned and operated and for me, a taste of my mom’s homemade cooking- no restaurant fluff here!  We know the owners but that did not influence me- I am a foodie at heart and do consumer reviews all the time.  And if you doubt me, check out reviews on yelp and just in case I was biased, I took a friend along who has an amazing Indian Food blog – all things indian food and she is @indianfoodrocks. She also wrote an amazing review on Yelp – check out all the reviews before you head in and decide for yourself. I think it’s time Boulder got a fast food, reasonably-priced cafe with home cooking like this- it has been a long time coming! So, put on your walking shoes, or ride a bike and if you live far away, feel free to drive on in to Buff country – the corner of Arapahoe and Folsom and check out Tiffin’s extensive menu.

Sev Usar (soup with noodle)

For Indians and all Indian-food lovers, I think it is great to get snack places like this one because they are far and few between .  You can get a variety of foods without being locked into heavy creams, or large portions of just one dish and buffets are just too much! The place is simple, cafeteria-like but you can get channa masala with whole wheat bread like mom makes & South Indian fare.  The daal soups are a must try and of course, kids’ favorite are idlis & dosas straight up! There are plenty of homemade dessert options too and mango lassi that will complement any meal and fill you up too! 

Masala Dosa - can you say CRUNCH?

Pav Bhaji and Bhel is traditional Indian street fare but there’s no need to travel to India when you can get your fix in Boulder, so, check out Tiffin’s and give the small, family-owned business a try – I love that you can get a variety here and leave wanting more….


Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill- A Vegetarian Delite & Healthy for all!


We stumbled upon a little café that was simply fabulous in Colorado Springs.  But, I quickly and pleasantly learned later that Garbanzo is a chain (limited to Colorado only so far) and there are several locations both in Colorado Springs and the Denver metro area. All I can say is about Garbanzo is, you must give this place a try to believe it!

Garbanzo is a Mediterranean Grill with very reasonable prices and amazing tasting food and if you are vegetarian or vegan, talk about choice! This is the place for you!  If you are not, well there is plenty on the menu for you too – talk about options!

Their menu is extensive and the selections are fresh. You can get the half soup/half sandwich combo and for a little over $6.00, you get a stuffed pita sandwich, choice of soup and pita wedge for your soup- it’s great for lunch or dinner and the portions are perfect. My first experience was amazing – at the Broadmoor Colorado Springs location and I must say, I am very impressed.  It was such a great experience that I went twice in the same weekend but different locations.  I also visited the Powers Blvd and North Carefree Circle location and took my whole office with me.  This time though, I got the salad and topped it with felafel and it was great.  Overall, I have to say both locations were great and the food is very healthy.  Also, from the get-go, when you walk into any of the locations, you are greeted by very friendly staff, and offerred free samples of falefal and their awesome chips which you simply must try!

Garbanzo is truly tasty and perfect for a quick bite to eat when you want something healthy and inexpensive. And how about your kids? Your kids will love it too!  There is a reasonable kids’ menu with traditional kid choices twisted into the Mediterranean taste I am confident they will love. Great place, great service and at the right price, Garbanzo Mediterranean Grill is a place you do not want to miss!

Don’t miss Garbanzo — on facebook and on twitter too!


Hacienda Colorado- Mexican food with a twist!

I had heard great things about Hacienda Colorado from a friend of mine and the opportunity presented itself this weekend for us to finally go to the Westminster location. I just have one word to say regarding the food and the flavors- WOW!  The waiter informed us that all their items are made fresh, right there on site, and all their flavors were their own.  He was right.  The tortillas are made right there and you can view them being made.  It’s fun for the kids.   Let me say, these tortillas are like nothing I have ever head- they are so thin, so flavorful, and yet… it’s a tortilla!  From the start, our chips and salsa were quite yummy.  This salsa with 1 pepper rating (pictured) is very good and not so spicy that kids cannot eat it.  It is perfect!  Hacienda has a lot of different sauces- some vegetarian, others are not.  Look for the number of the peppers.  The more the peppers, the spicier the salsa.  All of the food was fabulous from the refried beans, the charro beans, black beans, guacamole, to the fajitas, quesadillas, and enchilada platter, all their food is remarkably flavorful and each item made with care.  I have to say, when the tastes linger for hours after the dining experience is over, you know this is place you want to return to!

Any negatives?  Well, for us, this was our first time there and the service, frankly, with two kids was very slow- too slow!  You can read my other reviews on Mexican restaurants like Jack N Grill and Three Margaritas (Westminster) on YELP which boasted very quick and friendly service.  Then, you will understand why I prefer faster, more efficient service.  It is hard enough to eat with two toddlers and then, if the service is long and not good, it is even harder.  We were there for Sunday lunch and it took 90 minutes from start to finish and frankly, for people with kids, that is too long.  If we wanted a long, quiet siesta with our meals (without kids of course), then I can see it taking so long and being all romantic but alas, I am an American with kids who have a short attention span and yes, sadly, I want our service to be fast, efficient, and friendly.  In the past three months, we have eaten at about 5-6 other places and the service has been a lot better than we got at this location.  So, while we loved, loved the food, we are hoping Hacienda Colorado in Westminster improves the speed of its service especially for those of us with kids who want quicker and more efficient service.

I highly recommend Hacienda Colorado for the flavorful food, the different salsas, and the amazing tortillas.  As to leftovers we had, there was not a drop of anything wasted- it was all finished to the last bean.