Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Stay-Cation Athens Food Tour: Cali -N- Tito's

Cali -N- Tito's was a great place to start our Athens summer food tour.  Doing a stay-cation food adventure in Athens is always probably done best during the summer and/or holidays.  Athens is after all a college town so when school is in session the streets are typically bustling during the semester.

We had heard a great deal about Cali -N- Tito's but never had a chance to get by there.  Unless you are just on or around campus it's kinda out of the way.  None the less locals were always flabbergasted when they heard we hadn't been there.  So needless to say there was a lot of build up for this joint.  Initially I was doubtful that it would live up to all the hype I have been hearing, but gladly it did not disappoint.  The place is literally a little hole in the wall kind of place.  It's nothing fancy, there are no big flashing signs, parking isn't a premium, the decor is cheap Latin throw back with espresso cans serving as lampshades and vases, coffee bean bags hanging from the ceiling, and plywood bottom chairs with their logo seemingly hand burned with a kit.  It's totally a jeans and t-shirt, serve yourself, kind of place.  The staff is friendly and helpful but typically the only time you see anyone at your table is when they bring out your food.  There are recycle bins beside the trashcan, always great to know a place likes to keep it green, and a sign at the trashcan asking that you be sure not to toss their plates into the trash.

There are a few things you need to know before you go.  They only accept cash or checks, NO CREDIT CARDS.  There is an ATM at the BP next door to procure your cash if necessary.  If you are someone who drinks a lot during a meal and you prefer soda, grab your own while you're there.  You generally get a drink with your meal, but if you get soda it's a can with a cup of ice.  Not sure if you can get extras and their choices are limited.  It's worth noting that they do however offer a few Latin/Hispanic soda drinks but you can often get these at grocery stores as well.  If you order tea or lemonade you're golden as they have a serve yourself station set up to get as much as you please.

The perfect lunch date.
That's not a can on his head,
it's the can shading the light.
For my differently-abled and handi-capable friends, it is accessible.  Know that parking is kinds strange but manageable and they have 2 designated spaces.  The accessible entrance is in the rear, and it is the only accessible entrance/exit.  The walk up entrance from the sidewalk leads you through the picnic table area with narrow walkways between the tables and the water feature/old boat through a river rock garden.  When you enter from the rear, you'll come through the side door and place your order at the counter.  The inside seating area has large accessible isles that would be no problem for chairs of any type.  There are a few picnic tables outside near the side door that have enough space to be accommodating for a wheelchair but the tables around the front are a bit crowded in terms of the isles between them.  I didn't have an opportunity to check out the restrooms so I can't speak to that, but will point out that to access those you again have to go out the back entrance that you can into around to the backside of the building.  Also know that to leave you have to go back around the counter, excuse yourself through the line of people waiting to order, out the side door, to get to the wheelchair ramp that leads out the back entrance.  There is a door that you could easily slip out the other side if you're sitting inside, but it has no ramp, so if you're dependent on a chair it's restrictive in that manner.  For those with service dogs or service dogs in training, we had no issues concerning LD Austin.  There were other people there with their dogs sitting outside so it's seemingly encouraged.  We chose to sit inside and the only comments received were from customers talking about how awesome he was and wishing their dogs were so well trained.  The tables are a variety of types, some with four outer legs and others have the center pole with 4 feet which makes it a little difficult for service dogs to sit under which is where we sat without thinking, but since we were sitting at a 2-seater table he sat on the outside of the table in the isle.  Again, the isles on the inside are large, accommodating, and had plenty of space for him to lay and not be an obstruction.

R. had the steak quesadilla with sweet potato chips.  It came with a sauce on the side that was too hot for our pallets.  One dip of a fork to taste and I was reaching for an ice cube.  The mix of spice and cheese with the steak in the quesadilla was wonderful all their own, so not having the sauce for it was not a problem. The sweet potato chips were tasty and crunchy in a way you can only get from a deep fryer. I ordered the chicken empanadas with fried sweet plantains.  It was quite flavorful with a mix of peppers, green onions and the sauce in which it was cooked.  Yum.  It also came with a side of sauce that married quite well, lending a little sweetness to the mix.  Good stuff!  The fried sweet plantains were a desert all their own.  Total cost of the two meals were a little less than $15.  We both left full, satisfied, and as always, with a little to bring home.  They have carryout plates at the ready for anyone to grab on the shelf under the tea station.  The cardboard carryout plates no less.  Once R. finishes it off for a snack later we can rip off the top to recycle and the bottom to be used as fodder to start up the fire pit.  Definitely a place to check out and become a regular.  Without a doubt, we will be back.

To check out what else Athens has to offer or to plan your next trip check out the FlagPole's Guide to Athens.  Feel free to offer suggestions, thoughts, comments, and such for our next adventure, or share one of your own.  

1 comment:

Ginger said...

Some of your readers might be interested to know that Cali-N-Tito's does not serve alcohol...but you can bring your own!