So we got one of those coupon mailer thingies with local restaurants and junk in there, and lo and behold, there is a coupon for Casa de Carlos in Woodland Hills. My parents used to take me and my brother there when we were little and we thought it was the absolute bomb since eating out was considered a special treat, so even if it was some dinky little local Mexican restaurant where they bring you chips and salsa as soon as you sit down, just for showing up, it just flat-out ruled. Well I hadn’t eaten there in years, so I wasn’t really sure if it was still good, or even good at all since a kid palate memory is hardly reliable. But there was the coupon, and I had a particular craving for beef, which I NEVER eat, but have been having some female issues and needed some iron, dammit.
So we show up to the place, and honestly, the décor is just as Mexi-cheesy as I remember. I love that. The place has been there since 1961 and they may have redecorated since then, but I doubt it. As soon as we sat down, we were greeted with not only fresh chips and salsa, but a side of delicious bean dip as well! Warning: you will want to consume 3 baskets of chips with 3 bean dips before the meal because it is just so darn good, but TRY to control yourself for chrissakes even though they happily bring you more after each Homer Simpson eating donuts-like consumption. Oh but we didn’t really consume three baskets. Heh heh… nooooo no no, I’m just saying that as a warning, I swear. No, seriously, really. I swear. What?
Anyway, it took us forever to decide what to get, during which time I got myself the first of two margaritas (on the rocks, with salt, in case you’re wondering). Now, a margarita is always how I judge the quality of a Mexican place, and the marg here was especially good. Not watered down, decent tequila, nice flavor to it. Just all around well-played. But back to deciding. There is so much good stuff on the menu, it is really difficult to point and choose. But in the end, I decided on the carne asada plate and Derek got the chicken tostada.
So they bring out our food. Okay, folks? Remember the opening credits of the Flintstones? Where the little drive-thru waitress comes up to the car and tosses this huge rack of animal flesh onto the car and the car tips over? Well, this is what happened with my carne asada plate. The waiter sets it on the table and I swear there were audible gasps in the dining room amongst other diners and the table shifted slightly under the weight of this thing. It was a gigantic side of pounded, tasty beef. Even the waiter said “Man, that looks like half a cow!” My dirty look notwithstanding, he left us alone and I proceeded to try to tackle this thing, which was quite delicious, but between the tortillas, the rice and beans, the three er, I mean one basket of chips and dip, and the enchilada that came with it, I only managed a small portion of it and had to take the rest home, which was quite yummy the next day.
Casa De Carlos Restaurant
22901 Ventura Blvd. (west of Fallbrook)
Woodland Hills CA 91364