A couple of weeks back, Justin and I went on a long-awaited double date with my best friend, Christina, and her fiancé, Chris. We thought a lot about this double date: should we cook a meal and eat at home? Christina doesn’t like cheese or cream, so what could we make or where could we go that would be fun for her? But then, after our dinner at Traif, and realizing the owners had another restaurant – Xixa (pronounced shick-sa) – the decision was simple. Christina, despite her hatred of cheese and creaminess, has a strong love for margaritas and guacamoles. So, Xixa it was.
My love for Traif was pretty apparent in my blog post – a raving five star Baconboozer review of utter perfection and bliss. And Xixa turned out to be no disappointment. The food and drinks there were out of this world. Where else can you find pina colada or old fashioned ice cubes to invigorate your tequilas and your mescals? So, much like Traif, writing this review is overwhelming. Taking the time to describe every single drink and dish is useless – I can assure you they are all outrageous and worthy of a taste. So I’ll just give a little summary, a few photos, and go over the stand outs.
Luckily, for this meal there were four of us, so we were allowed to order an obscene amount of dishes without looking too ridiculous. We were greeted by a helpful waitress, who answered our questions and checked in frequently throughout our meal. The menus, especially the cocktail menu, were a little overwhelming, so we appreciated her patience and ability to explain (probably three times) just how the drink options worked.
We had taken a cab, so we definitely were not shy about our drinking. The cocktails were – in one simple word – amazing. The menu itself was definitely confusing and a little bit stressful to de-code, but the end results were worth it. In the top photo, there is the yellow-plum habanero margarita cube (back right), two old fashioned cubes in the front, and an agua fresca in the back left. The middle photo is a glass of mezcal served with duck fat, and the bottom are pina colada cubes. If you’re going to Xixa, skip the beers and the agua frescas. Do yourself a favor and explore the ice cube thing. The way the drinks start out – strong and pure – and then evolve as the ice cubes melt and infuse the alcohol, is really incredible. And don’t worry, if your cube isn’t fully melted by the time you get to the bottom of your glass, you can just get another shot of the mezcal or tequila to continue to savor the deliciousness of the little block of flavor.
Ok, on to the food. I’m just going to show you all the pictures first:
Needless to say, we were pretty full by the end of the meal. While every single plate was amazing, I will first list a few that I’ll skip on my next visit: the burrata, the brussel sprouts, the bone marrow, and the guacamole – all of these dishes are, on their own, delicious, but when compared to the other options we tried, I would have been ok without them. Next the absolute must haves: the goat neck (a huge portion), the pork belly/cheeks, the foie gras, and the octopus – all of these dishes are not to be passed on. You need them, especially the goat neck. Seriously. The duck wraps, steelhead tartare, scallops, and ribs were all pretty glorious too. And oh, the dessert. Holy crap, those were both awesome, so find a way to save some room.
So Xixa did great, and I cannot wait to get back there again soon to try more of the dishes that didn’t make the cut on my first visit.
There was, however, one little hiccup. When my party arrived, we made sure to tell the waitress to please bring the dishes out slowly, and that we wanted to really take our time to enjoy the food. The first three dishes came out on top of one another, and then we appreciated that she made a point of slowing down the service so that we could eat/drink/enjoy without feeling rushed. The service was excellent throughout the meal until the very end, when we had maybe one or two more dishes, and still had not ordered dessert. One of the people who had been assisting our waitress in clearing our table, and refreshing our drinks and sharing plates, let us know that they needed our table and, basically, that we had to hurry up. Now, we were taking our time, but we were by no means just sitting around killing time. Our dishes were still being brought out, and we hadn’t even been given a dessert menu yet. At that point, our remaining dishes were brought out on top of each other again, and we were given the dessert menu before we were finished eating our meal. The dessert was also very rushed. I hate that feeling, and I really hate it when we had already made it a point to inform them that we wanted to really take our time. I don’t get to see Christina often, and this was the first time her fiancé was meeting Justin, so it really pissed me off to be kicked out of our table (which we had reservations for) somewhat rudely.
This timing/managerial error, along with the difficulty in understanding the cocktail menu, cost Xixa one star, leaving them with a still very highly regarded four star Baconboozer rating. I encourage everyone to go, try the must-haves I listed, and some of those crazy ice cube cocktails, and let me know what you thought!