In addition to an achy neck due to excessive nodding in agreement, the article in Slate today on birthday dinners gave us some pangs of nostalgia. Writer John Swansburg bashes the practice of dragging one’s friends out to not-so-moderately priced restaurants and forcing them to buy you dinner, to which we say, “here here.”
While it’s great to be on the receiving end of such affairs, there’s nothing worse than shelling out more than you were willing to spend on your girlfriend for your anniversary, to buy your one-semester college roommate a steak.
However, perhaps there’s some middle ground? What if there was a place where you could enjoy a festive atmosphere, some genuinely good drinks, kitschy and festive decor, and at fun, if not good, food, for about $20 a person? There was once, and it was called La Rondalla.
More’s the time we’ve staggered out of their be-glittered hall, supported by fellow revelers after celebrating our own — or one of any number of friends’ — birthday bashes. Dirt-cheap pitchers of margarita, platters of booze-absorbing refried beans and rice, decorations and colored lights everywhere, and a live mariachi band that practically sat in your lap made La Rondalla the perfect place for pretty much any affair but a funeral. It’s been our party standby since the late 90s, and plenty of others’ for plenty longer.
Alas, as great as it was, La Rondalla succumbed to roaches last year, and we have been at a loss ever since. Yes, there’s Puerto Alegre, but they’re downright dour compared to the zany taxidermy and 365-day Christmas decorations at LR. You’ve got Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant, out in the Richmond, but while they’re great for specialty tequilas, the food comes up a little short for the price, which tends to edge skyward.
We did pick up through the now-defunct Yelp page that one of the La Rondalla bartenders is now at Cava 22. While you’d hardly be able to get out of there for an Andrew Jackson or so, at least you might be able to taste that long-lost margarita of times past.
But really, with the closure of La Rondalla, we really fail to see the point of turning another year older.
[Photo: Via JamesCohen/flickr]