Sunday, October 29, 2017


Let me begin by telling you there are two LA BAMBA restaurants in Greensboro.  One is on State St. and the other on Gate City Boulevard.  I do not know whether they are related.  Judging by the name, I would say yes, but judging by the websites and menus I would say no.

The Gate City menu looks a lot nicer on the web.  There are photos of many of the dishes at Gate City.   But, I've learned it's hard to make a judgment based on websites.

Debbie loves Mexican food.  I recalled she really liked LA BAMBA on State.  It's been some time since she visited LA BAMBA at 601 State St. in Greensboro - I'm talking years.   An offer to take her to LA BAMBA was almost a guarantee that we would be dining out. 

LA BAMBA is just down the street from Cafe Pasta.

Believe it or not, it is sometimes hard to persuade Debbie to eat out.  She likes her own cooking.  I like her cooking, too, but a visit to a decent restaurant is also good for me.  Three to four times a month would be nice, but I have to take it when I can get it.

La bamba means "the dance".  Notice the logo on the restaurant's website.  I took three semesters of Spanish in college to learn to tell you that.  I didn't want to miss the opportunity to impress you with my knowledge of a foreign language.  Donald says she can shake her cucarachas and speak five languages, but I bet Melania Trump doesn't know la bamba means "the dance".

We arrived at LA BAMBA around 6:30 PM on a Saturday evening.  It was prime dinner time.  The bar looks empty, but there were actually two people to the left outside of the camera frame.

We turned down an offer to be seated in the bar because of the noise from five TVs tuned to five different channels with their volumes turned on.  No, thank you.  Could we be seated somewhere away from the cacophony?  Sure!  There were plenty of seats available in what is a large restaurant.

This was not LA BAMBA we remembered.  We remember waiting in line to get a seat, just like it used to be at Cafe Pasta.  There was no waiting this time.  The restaurant was nearly empty.

Debbie speculated all the glamour and glitz that once characterized State St. has moved to other parts of town like Friendly Center or New Garden.

I asked if she thought the same might have happened in Reidsville.  Maybe the glamour and glitz had moved in Reidsville.  The height of Reidsville's fine dining seems to be the Golden Corral on Freeway Dr.  The glamour and glitz have left Reidsville and gone elsewhere.  I don't know where they've gone, but they're definitely gone.

I bet you people in Eden wish you had a fancy Golden Corral like Reidsville.

LA BAMBA is a Mexican restaurant, so of course, the first thing we were served was chips and salsa.  I've never been in a Mexican restaurant that doesn't serve chips and salsa without asking.  You would probably have to go to Mexico to find a Mexican restaurant that doesn't serve chips and salsa.

Don't expect anything special about LA BAMBA's chips and salsa.  They taste like chips and salsa at every Mexican restaurant.  They all must come from the same chips and salsa factory.

I have never really liked the chips and salsa served at Mexican restaurants.  LA BAMBA is no exception.

Now let's get serious.  These are Jalapeno Poppers that we ordered at Debbie's request.  I wanted Spinach Dip, but I settled for the Poppers to soothe Debbie.

First the positive - the Poppers came out almost instantly.  I bet we didn't wait two minutes for our Poppers to come to our table.  McDonald's could not match the speed on our Poppers and everything else we were served.  It was like LA BAMBA had read our minds and had everything already cooked for us.

This is Debbie's first bite of the Poppers.  She does not look impressed.  She quickly wished she had let me order the Spinach Dip.  She tried to taste half of one Popper and gave up.  She thought the Poppers were cold and the peppers inside were soggy.

I didn't think the Poppers were cold, but the peppers inside were definitely mushy.

She put down the remaining Popper and let me eat 5-1/2 Poppers by myself.  I tried them with and without the small bowl of sauce that came with them.  It didn't matter.  The flavor was just not there.

Here's what you get with LA BAMBA's Jalapeno Poppers.  The crust breaks off in your mouth and then you have to chew your way through the pepper.  It was not a good experience, but they were fried so I was forced to eat them by myself.  You never leave fried food on your plate.  It's a southern thing.

If you go to LA BAMBA, do NOT order the Jalapeno Poppers.  Somebody at LA BAMBA does not know how to make Jalapeno Poppers.

It's not easy to order a dish at a Mexican restaurant that does not include beans and rice.  The beans are usually mashed into a paste.  I do not like beans, especially beans that have been mashed into a paste.  Probably 95% of the dishes on LA BAMBA's menu offers beans.  I had to search the menu high and low to avoid beans, but I found what I was looking for.

Oh, the sacrifices I make to please my woman!

Before I had made a dent in what turned out to be "my" Poppers, out came the entrees.  It was incredibly fast service.  How do they do that?

This is my Shrimp Fundido with no beans.

Fundidos is rice (arroz) coated with cheese.  Roasted peppers, onions, and tomatoes are added.  Throw in a handful of shrimp and you've got yourself Shrimp Fundidos.  LA BAMBA's also offers chicken, steak, or Texas Fundidos.  The Texas Fundido is probably a combination of shrimp, chicken and steak, served with flour tortillas.

This was truly a delicious dish.  It was the way we remembered LA BAMBA's.  All the ingredients were blended well and tasted so fine.  This dish was a relief from the disappointing Jalapeno Poppers.

Here is Debbie's entree.  It's a combination of one fried Chicken Chimichanga and one fried Beef Chimichanga.  Of course, the Chimichangas are swimming in a river of refried beans with a cheese topping.  On the side is a lettuce salad with sour cream and guacamole sauce.  I believe that's a red slice of tomato on the top of the salad.  I know you've seen all this before.

Note refried beans are never refried or ever fried in the first place.  They are pinto beans that have been boiled and then mashed and served with almost every Mexican dish.  I thought you should know that.  Mexico has been lying all these years.

I tasted both of Debbie's Chimichangas after carefully scraping off any contaminating beans.  Arriba! Arriba!  They were excellent.  Debbie had said she thought my Fundido was the best dish, but I don't agree.  

Usually, Debbie is right, but her Chimichangas were excellent.  The outside was crispy and the filling very good.

For dessert, I wanted fried ice cream, but ice cream and milk don't agree with Debbie's stomach.

So, this is what we ordered.  It's Sopapillas.  Fried tortillas are served with butter, honey, and cinnamon.  A dollop of cream with chocolate was placed in the center of the dish.  Debbie asked for a fork to eat her share of the Sopapillas, but she quickly discovered Sopapillas is a finger food.

The Sopapillas were a little sticky from the honey, but delicious and not filling.  I recommend Sopapillas.

Meet Wand.  Wand was our waiter.  Wand looks like he is sick, may be about to heave.   He looked kinda like Debbie trying to eat a La BAMBA Jalapeno Popper.

But, as far as I know,  Wand was feeling fine.  We just caught him during just the moment he was trying to smile, but he didn't quite make it all the way.

The entire LA BAMBA staff was very friendly and they were certainly fast.

If it makes you feel any better about LA BAMBA, the entire staff seemed to be Hispanic.  I don't think I understood a word any LA BAMBA's worker said during the entire meal.  We had to get by on grunting and pointing.  Debbie paid the bill while I went to the very clean restroom, so I can't say how that transaction went.  Anyway, we got what we ordered and that's what's important.

Note the LA BAMBA website menu matches the menu you are shown in the restaurant.

Total tab for the evening was about $35 including tax and tip - a modest price for a meal for two.

Assuming you like mashed pinto beans that are incorrectly called refried, if you want a quick dinner at a reasonable price, you might want to consider LA BAMBA.  Just don't order the Jalapeno Poppers.

Click images to enlarge.