Life During Dinnertime

The missus's mother is in town and, last night, offered to take the 5-year-old who lives in our house back to her hotel, awful nice of her. Which left us ill-prepared and sans plans for a Saturday night. "David Byrne at the Majestic" was the first choice -- but, no, that's tonight, damn. Second choice: Matthew Posey at Hunter S. Thompson at his Expo Park apartment-cum-playhouse -- the same Matthew Posey who'd been in Byrne's True Stories, nothing more than coincidence, and Ken Harrison's made-in-Deep-Ellum A Chill in the Air with Johnny Reno, which you've probably never seen. But attempts at rallying interested parties resulted in delaying that agenda item till next weekend, just as well.

So instead we used the night off to wine and dine at venues in which we'd been interested in but hadn't actually been in, beginning with the highly touted El Regio on Northwest Highway, next to Bachman Lake, where, word was, the smoked chicken was to kill for. Long story short: amazing salsa verde. A little this and a little that later, we stopped for a drink at The Tin Room -- had no idea they'd added pole dancers in their tighty-whities to the menu. Said the bartender, the fellas have been known to put their feet through the low-hanging ceiling: "They're replacing tiles all the time." The missus would later say she regretted not staying to see that.

Then it was but a brief walk 'round the corner to the Best Bar You've Never Been To, which I'd never been to -- so ashamed. That's The Windmill Lounge, of course, where it was love at first sip. But still craving Fresh-Mex, so we played it safe and stuck to Maple Ave. and Avila's, a weekly stop for Patrick "Buzz" Williams but an eatery to which I hadn't been in far too long. A little past 9 we took our table. Spotting the back of a tuft of white hair at the long, crowded table behind us, I asked the missus, "Um, that is David Byrne, right?" Shonuff.

Turned out, the place had survived the past week's weather only to lose power at 3 p.m. yesterday; at one point Peter Tarantino, who's now handling kitchen operations for Ricardo Avila and mama Anita, was afraid he'd have to transfer the food lest it go south the wrong way. But lights went back on at 7:25; Byrne and his party, including Johnny Reno, showed up at 8 and stuck around till well past the neon "OPEN" sign went dark, with the head Head picking up the check for his large party.

I'll leave the restaurant reviewing the professionals -- but that chicken mole and those beans, good Lord. Tarantino and Ricardo hear the episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on which the Mexican eatery will be featured airs on the Food Network July 27, after which lines'll likely get awful long, so plan ahead. Speaking of planning ahead, ducats are still left for Mr. Byrne -- sounds like a plan, no? Seems kinda, ya know, inevitable at this point.

KEEP THE DALLAS OBSERVER FREE... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky