So what rattled my cage? in a word....a burrito.
This was not just any old burrito though. This was an "up all night working, burning the midnight oil illustrating a map and finishing up the last remaining bits and pieces for the following day's meeting" burrito. I had not stopped for a midnight snack, not stopped for breakfast or any of that kind of thing. Now granted, my time keeping may not be the best in the world but this map has been occupying me pretty much around the clock. Yet, i enjoy it so i cannot complain.
I'd heard of Chilli McCool's on the North Coast, situated on the road between the Smuggler's Inn and the Giant's Causeway. I believe it is a new establishment. The last time i had had a burrito in a restaurant was Boojums in Belfast and so I was happy to see someone start up a Mexican style restaurant on the North Coast. I was fully in support of such a place and decided to see what they had to offer.
At eight british pounds for a burrito i half thought there must be some mistake. Was i getting a side order too and just hadn't been informed of it? Was the fact that with the guys behind the counter looking more Polish than Mexican or English it was causing some sort of menu and price malfunction? None of the above. Instead, it was eight pounds for a burrito. Fine, i thought to myself, i'm paying over the odds but chatting to the young man behind the counter and his explaining that they'd only set up a few months ago, i decided that IF the burrito was resonably decent, i would overlook the expensive price (It's a takeway style burrito for heaven's sake) in the hopes the business would find it's feet and establish itself better.
Now it has to be said that the set up is pretty decent, with the counters, the "subway" style picking and choosing what you want from a few containers and etc but the lack of choice left a little to be desired. Still, i thought to myself, give this wee burrito making business a chance because after all, they are still new it would seem, AND, they are trying to offer something a little different. I chose what i wanted from the rather paltry choice on offer, and had the young man load it onto my tortilla wrap. Could the young man be any more careless with the ladle, slapping the relish on and spilling it over the containers of sweetcorn and tomatoes? Did it ever occur to these "burrito making" employees that some members of the public might HATE salsa (hey you just never know) and wouldn't appreciate their lettuce covered in the stuff. I mean, that, after all, is why it is in separate containers is it not? to establish that there is CHOICE, however paltry it might be. Not that i cared that much personally. Things like that really are not that important to me. It seemed though that a little discretion couldn't go amiss.
The kicker came when i watched the guy starting to wrap my burrito in clingfilm. Oh i am not that worried about cling film either, i'm not a snob but bloody hell this was to be eaten at a table either in the establishment or outside. I took the burrito out and sat at an outdoor table as the weather was good, and as i began to eat it, i realized that the burrito was cold. The wrap was lukewarm but it's contents were cold. Screw it, i thought, I've not eaten since yesterday so we'll give it a shot, but i suppose by the grace of God my burrito started to come apart in my hands and was falling all over the table. Now dear reader, do not take that the wrong way. I am well accustomed to a tortilla wrap and i was not throwing it all over the place out of frustration at such a crappy service/burrito...i mean at 8 pounds i was not exactly eager for the burrito to fall apart all over the wooden picnic style table. Instead, i shoved it into the clingfilm and ate it later. That was the only way to salvage what was left. I then took myself off to the Smugglers Inn up the road and half wished I'd gone there in the first place. If the contents were warm and the tortilla wasn't paper thin (and thus the contents falling all over the bloody place) i would have overlooked the price and the sloppy service. IF a paper plate was provided the burrito could have been so much better because it would have been managable. In fact, At the price of the burrito, it's really the least they could do.
Hey, so sue me i feel sorry for the tourists in those tour buses that stop into this place because really the food is not THAT cheap, nor is it, in my own personal view, particularly healthy with half heated meat and whatever else. Mainly though a paper plate would have been a huge help. I'm not into the business of trying to badmouth small businesses but i remember walking away from that place feeling cheated.
In saying that however, others seem to have had better experiences on TripAdvisor. That's entirely possible. Also these reviewers may have had a different meal. If i had time on my hands I'd join TripAdvisor and give my opinions on the local areas around here but for now i'll just write about it if and when i see fit on my own website
As a respecter of the burrito I personally could not recommend the restaurant to anyone based on the service i received but it is entirely possible that they have repented of their ways and invested in some paper plates or at least a few napkins
Thanks for reading