Strip Center on Westheimer
I just wonder how many restaurants on my list are on Westheimer Parkway. Half?
The road has about 20 miles of strip centers and that includes the buildings hidden behind other buildings, like this one! But let's give Saldivia's 2 bonus points for being here at all. Their old restaurant was in a strip center on Bellaire ...and they moved when that center was torn down!
Bonus Points for the Heredias!
This is Mario's first time in the blog. I always get to add 2 bonus points for someone new! This is not Monica's first time. But 2 bonus points for Monica, since she has been to Uruguay.
The Heredias are from Argentina which is next door to Uruguay, so they were helpful with the menu and chatting with the owner Gus Saldivia. But mostly it was fun hearing stories about Mario and Monica's family roots ....and a curious story about the Heredia name! 2 bonus points for good conversation that fit the restaurant atmosphere!
Movies in a Restaurant!
The first thing we noticed when we stepped into the dimly lit dining area, was the big screen on the wall showing an old black and white film. Gus, the owner was happy to talk about Carlos Gardel, the actor in the film. He was a famous baritone, associated with the history of tango, before dying in a plane crash in 1935.
The Heredias were very familiar and laughed about how Argentina and Uruguay still argue about which country Gardel called home. Too bad we came on Friday, since on Saturday night Saldivia's was planning a big celebration with live music to commemorate this late star. 5 bonus points for my first dining adventure that came with a movie! 3 bonus points for learning a little film/music history!
Piping hot rolls in a little napkin teepee! I was starved and they smelled wonderful. Nice treat! The beef empanadas weren't complimentary, but worth $2.25 each! Delish chimichurri sauce as well.
I ordered the traditional Uruguayan Skirt Steak, Entrana. Mine was covered in onions, peppers and cheese, along with rice, roasted potatoes and grilled veggies. 5 points for food at Saldivia's! (There was lots to take home, too!)
10 Points for Atmosphere
If we had come on Saturday with live music and the Gardel Celebration, it would have been a very festive atmosphere. But I sort of preferred the quiet on Friday. When we first entered, Gus welcomed us and began chatting right away. He wouldn't have had time to answer so many questions on weekend.
The atmosphere always gets higher ratings if I see flags, photos or art that reflects the country. The giant photo of the capital, Montevideo was a good conversation piece. Gus pointed to the photo and explained where he used to live. He and his father left Uruguay in 1977. As Gus chattered on, it was clear he has fond memories of his old home.
The music of course added to the atmosphere. There was no sound to the movie that played, but we were listening to old recordings of Carlos Gardel singing!
People and Animal Encounters
I walked to the bar for a closer look at the cow wearing a Uruguay hat. I chatted with a man name George at the bar who seemed to be a regular. I asked if the cow had a name and George teased that we should call the cow Carlos ...which is really the waiter's name. Carlos offered to pose with the cow.
He told me the cow often wears different decorative pieces ...or even shirts. 3 bonus points for a restaurant mascot! 3 bonus points for George who is not pictured. He often samples different international restaurants and gave me a few new restaurants to try!
TOTAL of 37 POINTS for SALDIVIA'S!
We left very full and very content. Good food, music, conversation!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.