Monday, January 11, 2016

Broke & Hungry in Austin Part 1: Fonda San Miguel

Welcome to the inaugural post in this year-long blog series I'm affectionately calling "Broke and Hungry in Austin TX!"

This is a joint venture between me and my boyfriend Brandon (Read his take on #BrokeAndHungryATX here). Through this monthly blog series we get a regular date and a damn good excuse to explore more of the taverns, pubs, and restaurants that are all over our fair city! And YOU, dear Reader, get the pleasure of reading about our low-budget adventures!

How's THAT, huh? You're welcome.

So here's how it works: every month this year, on the first Tuesday, Brandon and I will hit up a different happy hour. Our goal? To see if we can eat and drink and be merry within our budget, which is $45. NOTE! At least $5 of that forty-five is earmarked for the tip, so for all intents and purposes our budget is really $40.

Doesn't sound that hard, huh? Have you had a date in Austin lately? I LOVE Austin, and one of my favorite things about this city is the truly remarkable variety of awesome bars and eateries, but they can be pricey. On the other hand, I know, I JUST KNOW, that there are low-cost gems to be found here. And our goal is to unearth some of these through this blog series.

Without further ado, let us get to Part 1 of this blog series, in which we explore FONDA SAN MIGUEL.

You will Fonda San Miguel at 2330 W. North Loop. It is renowned locally for its interior Mexican cuisine and all-night happy hour on Tuesday, which is what we sampled. During their happy hour, Fonda San Miguel offers wines and house margaritas for $5, and has a menu of appetizers sold at half price.

Me and Brandon each ordered a frozen house margarita, and got two appetizers to share: queso and chicken quesadillas.

Here's where I start grading. I will grade each happy hour that Brandon and I try on four criteria: cost, taste, atmosphere, and returnability. The meaning of cost, taste, and atmosphere should be obvious, but returnability may not be. What I mean by returnability is simply how I feel about our likelihood to return to the establishment, for another happy hour or whatever. This may have everything to do with one or another of the other criteria, or nothing at all. It's just a feeling.


Fonda San Miguel's happy hour fully lived up to its reputation as far as affordability. With 2 drinks and 2 appetizers, our bill totaled $23.50, to which we added the $5 tip, so we ultimately spent $28.50. Guys, that's not bad at all. Everyone who lives in Texas knows that it can be hard for two hungry people to even eat at Whataburger for less than that.

Fonda San Miguel's grade for Cost: A


I'm gonna be real with you. The margarita was just meh. Frankly, I was disappointed. Sure, I've had worse margaritas, and these weren't BAD, but c'mon! This is Texas. Bland margaritas shouldn't even be allowed. Leave the boring margaritas to the states without Latinos.

Boring margarita is boring.

The food was better than the margaritas, but still it was nothing exciting. Worse, the queso was the kind that's thick and stringy--think molten string cheese. I understand that that is a legit style of queso, but man is it hard to operate. You've gotta cut it up, and then scoop it onto the tortillas and it just wants to slide around. And then if you're me you wind up using your fingers like some low-class gringa.

Crazy-ass queso

Fonda San Miguel's grade for Taste: C


Where Fonda San Miguel's truly excels is in its atmosphere. Simply put, this was one of the absolute cutest restaurants I have ever set foot in. Quirky art adorns the walls; a giant statue of a dragon greets you as you walk in; subdued, colorful lights create a playfully intimate tone. What's better: the place is spotless. Even the bathroom is spotless.

Shana vs The Dragon

Fonda San Miguel's grade for Atmosphere: A


So far Fonda San Miguel has earned 2 As and a C. So what are its chances for a high grade in returnability? Not fucking likely. 

I realize that sounds bitchy, but I'm just being honest. The folks at Fonda San Miguel are doing their absolute best, and they're delivering on all their promises. The happy hour menu is very, very attractively priced. I just think this was a mismatch for Brandon and I. I don't think we're Fonda San Miguel people. 

But that's okay,  because we have the rest of the year to experiment with different happy hours around town! We'll figure out where we fit in!!

Fonda San Miguel's grade for Returnability: D

You're welcome to follow me on twitter: @LiteraryGrrrl Brandon is @HMMADNESS. We love to connect and make new friends! If you have suggestions for happy hours for us to try in future installments of #BrokeAndHungryATX leave a comment below or chat us up on Twitter!