Hey there, neighborhood! Van here (and Tillie there) with the latest on dining for the infant and adult set.Before I get into the story of our trip to Mexican/Italian restaurant La Stalla on Myrtle and Ryerson, I’d like to share a brief tale with you, of simpler times, of happier times at that location. I call this, “When La Stalla Was Los Politos II.”
Once upon a time, there was a restaurant called Los Politos II that was really good; I used to even think it was better than Castro’s. Then one day, it became La Stalla, which serves both Mexican and Italian food. I never tried the Italian, but the Mexican was nowhere near Los Politos, yet I still held out hope it would measure up. It never did. The end.
So that’s a little background on where I’m coming from with La Stalla. It’s been hard for me to accept Los Politos being gone, but every now and then I’ll go to its successor looking to recapture the magic of the past. That’s what partially inspired me to take Tillie there (plus the fact it’s right across the street from our house doesn’t hurt!)
Anyway, we went—shells and cheese and a banana in tow—on one of these cool autumn afternoons that we’ve been having. I thought the place would’ve been fairly empty, but there were a few tables filled. We took one close to the window and got some key Tillie ingredients to set us up for success: a high chair and a menu, which our extremely nice waitress left behind for her to play with.
I took a look at my own menu and decided to go with the enchilada. I asked our waitress which sauce had more kick to it and was told the green did, so I went with red because I thought Tillie could have a bite or two of corn tortilla.
While waiting for my order, I decided to start feeding Tillie some of her go-to meal, the old shells and cheese. She had a few bites, and then my food arrived. It came in no time at all, but right away I had some issues with it.
You see, I really don’t get the idea of it being a Mexican/Italian restaurant with separate options. You either do some kind of funky fusion or have two separate staffs working on each side of the menu (which La Stalla might have, I don’t know) or you don’t do it at all. I think both sides are bound to suffer.
So I don’t know if my nose was playing tricks on me or what, but I swear my enchilada smelled like it was covered in spaghetti sauce! It actually took me a minute before I tried it. While I was steeling myself for that, I looked at the rest of my food: a big mound of gummy-looking rice and the skimpiest amount of black beans distributed on Myrtle Avenue. The bean-to-rice ratio was definitely off here!
I got up the nerve and tasted the enchilada, and while it wasn’t spaghetti sauce on top, it wasn’t anything that I’d be interested in trying again. I tried to offer Tillie a bite and she just turned her head away. Smart kid, that one! I wished I could have done the same, but I soldiered through and ate it.
After that, I broke out the banana for Tillie, which she was pretty excited about. I thought to myself, “Man, it must be nice to be happy about something your eating!” Once she finished that, we were off.
I have to give La Stalla this: Its lunch special ($6.95) is one of the best-priced that I’ve come across, and it includes a free soda. The staff there was super-friendly and there’s plenty of space for your stroller (I didn’t even have to fold ours up). The food on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired.
I guess I have to face facts: Los Politos isn’t miraculously coming back and it’s time for me to move on. But I’ll always have the memories.