Don Tito, Clarendon

Fate: it’s one of those words that you know isn’t really true. So, what exactly was it that had me at Don Tito yesterday? Bad Luck? Divine Punishment? Did I do something bad in a previous lifetime that I don’t know about?

It started when my phone cord gave up the ghost, and the only appointment at the Apple Store was late-afternoon. Afterwards, I had a couple destinations in mind, but when I was driving up Wilson Blvd., there was Don Tito on my right, and open parking spaces on my left.

Open parking spaces?! What did I do to deserve *that*? I had never been to an A-Team establishment, and wasn’t looking forward to ending that honorable streak, but if I don’t go, then how can I pretend to have any expertise?

I parked the damned car and went in.

It was exactly as I knew it would be: a sports bar. And when I asked my very pleasant bartender what the second floor was, she said, “They made it into more of a sports bar than this level is.” I about spat out my draft of Miller Lite ($3 on the “Football Menu,” which is available during all NFL and NCAA games, which I guess is pretty much all weekend).

Miller Lite? Well, look, if I wasn’t going to dine well, I was going to dine gently, see?

And since I figured the kitchen was largely Latino, I figured that was the impetus behind the “Flex-Mex” shtick, and so I ordered a pair of tacos since Don Tito pushes “tacos, tequila, and beer.” And I was going to dine gently: I stayed vegetarian.

Okay, lemme take a deep breath: I ordered the Fried Avocado with Tomato-Jalapeño Salad Tacos ($8), on soft “corn” tortillas. The avocado was Dos Equis battered, and it came with “cabbage,” smoked chili “aïoli,” and roasted corn. I was actually thinking of asking them to go light on the smoked chili “aïoli,” but it wouldn’t have mattered if I had.

The tacos arrived in less than two minutes. What showed up were best described as “cole slaw tacos,” each having about an ice-cream scoop worth of industrial, mayonnaise-based cole slaw in it. On top of each was one slice of pre-fried avocado which, in itself, wasn’t at all bad. Underneath the avocado were random kernels of corn; I could find no tomato or jalapeño salad. The smoked chili aïoli, as I feared, looked like a squirt bottle had an orgasm.

Was I going to eat what amounted to industrial cole slaw wrapped in flour corn tortillas, and fill up on probably 800 calories worth of slop?

I used my fork, and picked at the fried avocado, which was clearly fresh at one point, and got about three small bites from each taco. I milled around, looking for the stray corn kernel which hadn’t been doused. I broke off a small piece of the tortilla and tried it. I had about five chips from the warm basket of Chips and Salsa (gratis), which wasn’t really so bad.

I thanked my bartender, paid my check, and left, having finished my Miller Lite, and having eaten about ten nibbles of food.


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