La Carreta Mexican Restaurant – Kanawha City, Charleston, WV
If you don’t have time to look it up, I’ll tell you. It means SMELLY! When we arrived at La Carreta, business was booming and one of the few spots left was beside the dumpster. WHEW. It was so bad that I went back to move the car when I saw someone leaving on the other side of the lot. I was afraid we’d end up with one of those issues that George Costanza had if the stench got into the car fabric. The inside wasn’t stinky, but it did seem very dirty. Those (somewhat) new tables are so silly. A million chip crumbs were trapped between the carved wood tabletop and the glass at my spot. Another table was cracked and repaired with duct tape. I’m sure there was no bacteria hiding in that smooth surface.
I had a rough time communicating our vegetarian desires to the server, but I don’t really hate that as much as some people do. I guess I figure if I am trying to ask for something special, that is a risk I have to take. I just feel like I wish I was brave enough to try out my 5 years of Spanish coursework to say “Taco with beans- no meat!” not to be confused with “a regular beef taco with a side order of beans.” What I did hate was that once he took our order, we only caught glimpses of him from across the room. I had to go find my own extra napkins (why is it not in the “Servers’ Complete Guide to Satisfying Customers” in the chapter on “What To Bring the Table With Pre-Schoolers” that you should always leave like a thousand extra napkins and something to color with?!?)
One of the aforementioned pre-schoolers had to go potty and the bathroom completely reeked of cigarettes. It was enough to distract me from the duct tape all over the non-functioning flushing apparatus on the toilet. I think between the table and the toilet, they used a whole roll of the stuff. The food was OK but based on the part of the restaurant I could see, I wonder what is going on back there. Ew.
On the way out, I saw this –
and wondered if this was actually what was stinking up the whole joint. Clean it up, La Carreta! One fork-and that’s for the Chile Relleno Authentico and it alone!
La Carreta is in our regular lunch rotation because the food is good and it is easy to get to, with free parking. You have to pay for parking at the downtown Rio and Casa Garcia is almost too far for us make it there and back in an hour. Sometimes, when we are driving to La Carreta, we hold our breath as we pass Captain D’s, hoping Daniel will not notice and then ask to go there instead. He has been on a Captain D’s kick recently. All we hear from him these days is “Captain D’s” and “Arnold Palmers”. Maybe he will discover a new obsession while away on his vacation.
The parking lot is usually full but we almost always get a seat right away. The staff recognize us because we eat there so often and they are friendly and prompt. Make special orders at your own risk, though – there is a language barrier. One time I asked for my sour cream on the side so Misty wouldn’t have to fork over a whopping $.60 for her own to prevent her from choking down a dry quesadilla and our table ended up with three little bowls of sour cream. Then we had to try to explain we didn’t ask for extra when it came time to settle up with the cashier. They were not getting that $.60 from Misty. It all worked out okay, though. Whew!
One of my favorite items on the menu is the Burrito Mexicana. I would describe it as a soft chimichanga. It is a soft flour tortilla wrapped around your choice of beef or chicken and then topped with cheese sauce, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and a tomato slice for $4.75. They have another item just like it on the lunch menu but it is served with rice for a little more. I have been eating way too much bread and too many fries recently so I am going to have to be stricter about my low carb diet, according to my digital bathroom scales. Unfortunately for my friends, that means being embarrassed when I strip my plate of the regular tortilla and replace it with my low carb version I brought in my purse in a plastic baggie. (These new Mission tortillas I bought at Wal Mart have 7 carbs each, as opposed to 25 or 30 in a regular flour tortilla, and they taste really good. They even look like regular flour tortillas!)
Soda prices here are a very reasonable $1.35 and they give you a ginormous cup that I think would hold a full liter of liquid. The food today was good as expected. There was plenty of yummy melty cheese sauce on my plate, too. For the price, it’s hard to beat. (Well, Ron would say Main Kwong does.)
I think I must have been seated at the same table Tracey was on her visit- I saw all kinds of crumbs under the glass. Eeeeww. And they didn’t look like tortilla chip crumbs, they looked more like saltine cracker crumbs to me. Who knows.
I rate La Carreta THREE FORKS for consistent Mexican food at a good price.La Carreta Mexican Restaurant 5703 MacCorkle Ave SE Charleston, WV 25304 304.925.4590