Monday, August 6, 2012

Out and About: Santa Catarina

Saturday night was "date night", but Hunk and I were both pretty exhausted from our early morning long run, so we kept if fairly low key. I knew a good band was playing at The Oasis that night, but we really didn't want to eat dinner there. The food is mediocre at best, and thought we could do better by going elsewhere. The neighborhood where we live caters more to a family-friendly environment, but the food scene has really been growing lately. A quick Yelp search pulled up a restaurant we hadn't been to yet, but had heard good things about. Both craving Mexican food, we decided to give it a shot.

Santa Catarina opened in the spot that used to be Flore's, which is in a pretty nondescript little strip center in Lakeway. However, there is nothing generic about this "boutique" Mexican restaurant. I would go so far to say that it easily ranks in the top 5, at least in my book! The restaurant averages 4.5 stars on Yelp, and everyone seemed to comment on the interior flair of the food, and the fresh margaritas. Being somewhat of a margarita expert myself, I just had to try one.

What sets Santa Catarina apart from so many other Mexican food establishments is that they make all their own fruit mixers for their margaritas, and have plenty of great flavors to choose from (prickly pear, guava and mango to name a few). They're made with fresh juice and agave nectar, and I have to admit- the mango was delicious! It was still fairly sweet though, and plenty strong, so I stuck with just one for the night.

We have both been craving Queso Fundido lately, and Santa Catarina had that too. In fact, they had such an extensive appetizer menu that we ordered our whole dinner off of it. But there were plenty of delicious entrees to try, and I love the fact that they have some great vegetarian options as well. They also have a cute little lady hand making the fresh corn tortillas herself, and they were perfect with our queso.

We also ordered Sopes. They are a masa disc covered with all kinds of good stuff, including an almost mole-flavored beef. Yes- I ate a little beef!!! They were amazing. We can't wait to go back and give some other dishes a try (and maybe their half-priced happy hour, too!) If you're in the area, or looking for something different to try, I highly recommend Santa Catarina.

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