La Hacienda Ranch: Where the Frozen Margs Roam

Driving up to La Hacienda Ranch with my mom, all its theme-y ranchified decor made me think for a second that I might be walking into a strip club. I figured, what the hell—there's nothing like horking down a cheese enchilada with the woman who birthed you while someone sanitizes a herped-up stripper pole, amiright?

Turns out, there are no strippers performing at La Hacienda, but the hostess was wearing a clearly mandatory cowboy hat. Something about that was much sadder to me than a woman in a cop outfit stripping to Aïda.

La Hacienda Ranch is owned by Mariano Martinez, who gave us Mariano's Hacienda on Skillman, and it's just as theme-y. This whole place looks like a Disney Dude Ranch barfed on it. And it smells exactly like a Chili's (smoking combo-fajita plate + Tommy Hilfiger cologne + drunk old lady tears).

But the ridiculous decor of La Hacienda Ranch starts to make sense when you find out that Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine. Obviously this dude's way too drunk to give a dong about interior decorating. "Who cares what this place looks like, I just invented America!" The soft-serve ice cream machine he originally used to serve the frozen margaritas is in the fucking Smithsonian. Even more impressive is the form letter from GWB congratulating him on the induction of his frozen margarita machine into the Smithsonian that he's got posted on his website: "This honor is a tribute to your hard work...your years of service to your community reflect the values that make our country strong." Indeed. Frozen swirl marg barf is what makes this country strong. USA! USA!

I ordered the Combo No. 1, which is a cheese enchilada with chili, a beef taco, rice and beans for $8.49. Compared with other places in town, that's steep for one stupid enchilada and a taco. Sure, the enchilada was smothered in a delicious, spicy, chunky chili with giant jalapeño slices, and onion on top of it and the beef taco was totally beefy and taco-y, but I couldn't help feeling I would've been happier if I'd just had a liquid lunch and spent my cash on the f'rita. Lesson learned.

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