Boston Restaurant Blog -- December, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I happened to be in Vermont a couple of weeks ago, driving through Woodstock, Ludlow, and Weston (where we encountered a blinding snow squall on the aptly-named Terrible Mountain). Eventually, we wound our way down to Manchester Center, where we had dinner at a Southwestern Tex-Mex place called Candeleros Southwest Grill. It turned out to be a pretty good place, though not all of our food was up to snuff.
Candeleros is certainly a pleasant and attractive spot; it resides in an old home (from the early 1800s) that has been converted into what looks like a real Mexican cantina, with arches, low hanging lights, wooden floorboards, and Mexican art on the walls. The room that we were in had loads of charm and seemed to be the perfect spot to enjoy a leisurely dinner on a freezing cold (and at times snowy) night.
While the atmosphere was appealing, the food was a bit inconsistent, but generally pretty good. We received chips and salsa when we were first seated, and the chips were just ok, with several of them being puffy and chalky. Both sauces were tasty, however. Our black bean soups were flavorful but a bit on the watery side, with few relatively beans in the soup. Our entrees were also a mixed bag, with the ground beef burrito being the better of the two meals. It was hearty and delicious, with a deep red sauce over it that, while mild, had a ton of flavor, and the outside of the burrito was crisp at the ends, possibly from being toasted, giving it an interesting and unique consistency. The other entree--a fajita plate--was disappointing, as both the fajitas and the beans had a nasty metallic taste that may have indicated too much cilantro in the ingredients. One highlight was that Candeleros had Wolavers Oatmeal Stout from the Otter Creek Brewing Company in Middlebury. This is one of the best beers I have had in the past year or two, and one that I see popping up more and more.
To me, Candeleros seemed like a place that could be a really great place for dinner, depending on the dishes ordered; the atmosphere is wonderful and some of the food that we tried was impressive, but in the end, I believe that the inconsistency of the dishes kept it from being a true find. I'd probably consider going back to Candeleros, but with several really interesting-looking restaurants in nearby Jamaica, Londonderry, and Dorset, there is some pretty stiff competition in that area.
If you would like the address for Candeleros in Manchester, VT, here it is: Candeleros Southwest Grill, 5103 Main Street, Manchester, VT, 05255. Phone: (802) 362-0836.
I actually worked at Candeleros for almost two years (2005-2007) as a sever, bartender, and hostess. I agree with you on most of your points; the sauces are unbelievable, and some of the more complicated ones can take up to ten hours to prepare. I was addicted to the chips - they're actually a mixture of flour and corn chips, so the ones you found chalky were actually the flour chips (and my personal favorites!). The food does have a tendency to be inconsistent at times - your comment on the black bean soup is one I remember hearing sometimes when I worked there, because some batches would be more watery than they should. However, it is kind of nice to know that it's home cooking and, after all, home cooking doesn't turn out the same every time!
Posted on 3/5/09
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