As I’ve proudly proclaimed here before, I’m a big fan of The Food Network. Actually, I’m a big fan of anything to do with food, especially eating it. One of the shows I’ll happily watch for hours is Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, presented by Guy Fieri (pronounced Fee-eddy). You know him, he’s the one with the offensively bleached hair and the sunglasses on the back of his head.
Guy basically has my dream job: travelling around America in a sweet red convertible, stuffing his face in quirky little independent eateries. The places he visits definitely aren’t fancy but boy, do they look delicious. And whaddya know, he popped into a restaurant just a few minutes from my house earlier this year.
In case you’re not arsed watching the six-minute video, Chino Bandido (1825 W. Chandler Blvd) is a Mexican Chinese restaurant with some Caribbean influences. Yes, you read that right. I know it sounds a little cray-cray, but its so popular here (according to a cab driver we had at the weekend) they must be doing something right.
Eoin and I decided to give Chino a whirl on Sunday, when we were feeling a tad hungover and adventurous. Hmmm, maybe we were just a little drunk still? Anyway, as restaurants go, it’s spacious and bigger than most, but it was pretty much empty when we rocked up at about 2pm. Never a good sign.
If you watched the video, you’ll know the ordering system here is ridiculously (and unnecessarily) complicated, but thankfully it was quiet and the lovely lady at the cash desk talked us through it like we were babies. She also offered us lots of samples, which were mostly meat-based, so while Eoin stuffed his face I had some beans (they were yummy, to be fair).
We both decided on combo plates. I went for the Chile Relleno with rice, beans and salad while Eoin had the Guy Fieri Special. Well, it would have been rude not to.
Our food arrived promptly and the portions were nice and generous. I was very pleased with my choices, particularly the amount of cheese stuffed into that chile. I’m a cheese fiend, you see. The crumby coating was fresh and crisp and the beans (Cuban I think?) were sweet and spicy. The rice was, well, rice but the broccoli was a bit too raw for my tastes.
Eoin said his meat-fest was also delicious; spicy and tasty.
Apparently there are something like 9,000 combo meals you can create with the Chino Bandido menu, as well as quesadillas and burritos to beat the band. Would I go back? Just try and stop me. There are plenty more dishes I’m dying to sample and the whole space was airy and relaxing, with great service. Plus, if it’s good enough for Guy, it’s good enough for me.