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On Thursday, I went to Azul 17 with Lilly and my mom.  I wasn’t feeling too great, but we’d been meaning to go for a while and nobody felt like cooking.  Now, I can kind of be a snob about Mexican food – every Sunday, my dad, Nick and I go to Tampico Grill on Route One on the way home from church, and nobody makes Mexican food like they do.  (Nobody has mastered the shrimp taco like they have, and eating other people’s guacamole and salsa makes me sad.) But I love food and trying new things, so I figured it was worth a shot.

What I didn’t know about Azul 17 is that it is known for its tequila lounge.  Apparently, they have the largest collection of tequila in Howard County.  I didn’t get to try any, but when I turn 21 I am definitely going back there.  My mom was similarly impressed.  Lilly liked the fact that they had novelty Mexican sodas.

We were pretty hungry, so we ordered two platos pequeños (little plates), the Cayo de Hacha al Pipian, which were seared scallops in pumpkin oil with oranges, and their open-faced quesadilla, which had shrimp, crab meat, and tomatoes.  They were delicious!!! The quesadilla wasn’t gluten free, of course, but I don’t think mom and Lilly would have been willing to share anyway, it looked so good. 😛  We also tried some of their traditional guacamole, which was made tableside and was actually pretty good, and also sampled their salsa, which was mild but still nice.  The texture of the salsa was pretty boring for me, but the surprise of the guacamole made up for it.

I ordered the Pollo en Mole Poblano, which was cooked excellently and really flavorful, and Mom ordered Puteria de Mariscos al Chipotle, which was like a seafood casserole in broth.  Lilly ordered the Tarahumara steak – being brave about food clearly runs in the family.  Most of it came home in a box, though, because it was gigantic.  By this time, all of us were very full and sleepy, so we had to skip dessert.

Don’t be deceived by the outside of this restaurant – it’s in a Columbia strip mall, but the inside is unrecognizable.  Lots of white leather, modern art, wall paintings, cool lighting, blue tile… It’s little, but definitely a great place to socialize or go on a casual date! Actually, all the other patrons were couples or groups of 20-somethings.  However, it worked fine for our family as well.

Although Azul 17 is super chic, the service wasn’t that great and it was really hot in the restaurant, probably due to the fact that the building was ancient.  Our waiter took a really long time to get to us and was pretty awkward and not very helpful.  It’s always tricky being a gluten-free diner, and this guy wasn’t really helping at all.  They didn’t have a separate menu for allergies (although after Woodberry Kitchen I’ve been spoiled), and the waiter was like “Uh… Let me go ask our chef” and came back 10 minutes later with an inconclusive answer. Good thing everything on the menu looked delicious, and it was pretty easy to read and figure out the ingredients. I would definitely go there again, because it was so hard to choose what I wanted to eat and there are so many more things that I would like to try!

Only another year and a half….