Oakland Restaurant Challenge: Mad Mex, A Collegiate Classic

Achievement: #4. Eat at 15 Oakland Restaurants

Remember the other day when I was going on and on about how things always go wrong? Add last night to the list.

Mad Mex Night
We were all set to do the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs of Air Hockey, so we put on our jerseys, set our Garmin, and drove the winding backroads to Wildwood Highlands, the proposed site of our second series. Please note that this time, I verified on their website AND Twitter that they were going to be open. It said, “Mini golf and indoor games are open nightly until 10 in the ‘off season’ before Memorial Day.”

Mad Mex Night
So you can imagine our surprise and disapointment when we showed up and found this.

Oh wait, nevermind, you don’t have to imagine that, because we took a picture of it.

Mad Mex Night

But you know us, we bounce back from closed coffeeshops and closed-because-nearby-skeeball-is-being-painted air hockey tables. We weren’t just going to take this night as a loss. No sir, we were going to go out and have dinner at an Oakland restaurant!

That’s right, we were going to – wait… what? We were going to go out and have dinner at… at Mad Mex? Really? Out of all the Oakland restaurants, we had to go… there? And the day before Cinco de Mayo, when I might possibly have an excuse to go there? Really?

(Imagine my husband stepping in to type this part, please.) But honey, it’s happy hour, and if you let me go to Mad Mex, I will drive you home so you can have a margarita!

Mad Mex Night
So, you know, since I believe in compromise and all, we went to Mad Mex.

Let me set the record straight: in my days of college, I went to Mad Mex a LOT. This is because I lived a block down the hill, and they had 22 ounce margaritas for $6 four hours out of the day. But never have I ever once claimed to like the food. And I certainly didn’t like the bathrooms (true story, until I moved away from South Oakland, I never once used the bathroom at Mad Mex, because if ever I had to go, I just walked the thirty seconds to my house, and yes, I know I’m spoiled).

Unfortunately, my husband never minded the bathroom, and believe it or not, he loves the food. He was once a ‘secret shopper’ for Mad Mex and got to enjoy their stuff basically whenever he wanted. But as far as I have been concerned, Mad Mex is for two things: margaritas and hot bartenders. And guess what? The hot bartender left and went to Harris Grill.

But, we do have fifteen restaurants to hit, and since I didn’t get Michael anything (yet) for his birthday, I agreed to go.

Mad Mex Night
We started with an order of chips and salsa. Their salsa is nice and chunky, and a little on the spicy side. Normally, I don’t like their chips, because they are often a little too hard. Last night though, we had the best Mad Mex chips of my life. They were crispy and light! (And I was starving.)

Mad Mex Night
Since Michael was going to drive my sloppy self home after my Big Azz Margarita, he limited himself to a single beer with dinner. And, because he is The Most Interesting Husband in the World, he got a Dos Equis.

By the way, I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that we had to wear our 1990s Pens jerseys to dinner. This is another reason we chose Mad Mex. There’s no shame in wearing a Jagr jersey from 1997 if you’ve had a couple margaritas. I mean, it only makes sense at that point.

Mad Mex Night
I was determined to try something new, so that hopefully I could have something that I liked. I got the breaded tilapia fish tacos. The tacos themselves were good, but lord almighty I hate their ‘rice and beans’. I can make better rice and beans at home in my microwave. But the guacamole is awesome (even if they do charge you $1.00 for it).

Mad Mex Night
Michael got the ‘wing-o tacos,’ which feature the fabulous boneless wings. Think white-meat chicken nuggets; that’s what the boneless wings are like at Mad Mex. And they come with those yummy waffle fries.

I think last night I figured out what I don’t like about Mad Mex. It’s the texture and thickness of the tortillas. It’s kind of like this too-thick, not-flexible-enough tortilla that just makes me feel like my food has been wrapped in a soggy communion wafer. Yep. That’s it. The innards of the burritos and quesadillas and tacos? I like them. It’s the bread. But, I lived, and Michael had some leftovers for lunch that he found delicious!

Really, I do know a few menu items at Mad Mex that I like, so I should just consistently order them. At Thanksgiving, I love the gobbleritos (a burrito with turkey, stuffing, corn, potatoes, cranberry, and gravy). And I like the waffle fries, and I like the chocolate burrito dessert, and I like the fried calamari with the weird pink dip.

Mad Mex Night
Oh, and I like the margaritas.

Mad Mex Night
So while it wasn’t the best restaurant trip we’ve made, we certainly survived. And while it wasn’t truly a Cinco de Mayo margarita, we definitely beat the crowds. Which was good, because no one, even those of us who have had a margarita, wants to be seen by a bunch of people in a Jaromir Jagr jersey.

1 Comment

Filed under #4, #4-11, margaritas, mexican food, oakland

One Response to Oakland Restaurant Challenge: Mad Mex, A Collegiate Classic

  1. bryguy

    You can ask for a wheat tortilla, that has a different texture (and is probably better for you). I usually get a burrito with wheat tortilla and no rice for minimal carbs.