One of the things I love about living in Frederick, MD is the adorable downtown with the fabulous eateries. One of my favorite places is Cacique Restaurant. Their Web site boasts “A celebration of Mexican and Spanish cuisine is what you will find at Cacique. We offer a fine dining experience in a comfortable, cozy atmosphere with great food, reasonable cost and exceptional service.” And it is mostly true. Having been to Mexico, I can tell you that the Mexican dishes totally take me back to Cancun. I have not tried the Spanish menu, but it does look incredible.

I had my nephews over for the long weekend because I miss the heck out of them and thought my sister and brother-in-law might want some time together. Everyone wins in this situation. Anyway. Today my sister and brother-in-law came over to pick them up and they wanted to have lunch. My sister wanted to eat local. Some place she wouldn’t get to go when she’s at home. I immediately thought of Cacique. Perfect portion sizes, great prices, yummy food. And I know they all love Mexican food.

So we went downtown on a perfectly amazingly beautiful warm sunny day. We decided to eat outside on the patio, which is a little small. But that’s understandable and it was a nice setting for a family lunch.

The boys (12 and 7) ordered French Toast off of the Brunch menu. It came with a LOT of fruit and some really gorgeous potatoes. The 12-year-old couldn’t get enough of the potatoes and they both raved about the French Toast… the 7-year-old was quite vocal about it, actually. LOL

My sister ordered a crab omelet off of the Brunch menu. Holy crap. It looked amazing. STUFFED with crab meat and oozing with cheese. Also served with the really gorgeous potatoes, which she thoroughly enjoyed. I should have gotten details from her about her experience with the food, but I didn’t know until a little while ago that I was going to write this post. My sister only ate half of her meal, but that is because she and my brother-in-law both couldn’t choose between the crab omelet and…

The Seafood Enchiladas. My brother-in-law ordered this. He ate half, then he and my sister switched plates. First of all, that is incredibly cute and sweet and slightly romantic and it warmed my heart to see their partnership at work.

The Seafood Enchiladas was my first dish ever at Cacique. Freaking phenomenal. It’s two enchiladas filled with shrimp, scallops, and crab meat. They have a lovely white seafood sauce they top it with and serve them with really good refried beans and a lovely rice. Based on the color of the rice, I assume it is flavored with saffron. Let me say this. They are not skimpy with the seafood in these enchiladas. They stuff the heck out of these things. And the sauce could make you cry. I should have gotten more input from my brother-in-law, but again, I didn’t know I was going to post this. Anyway. Seafood enchiladas? Yes. A thousand times yes.

I got a beef chimichanga. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a deep fried burrito. Just sayin’. But. This chimichanga doesn’t taste deep fried. The outer shell is still nice and light. And they use beef, beef. Not ground beef. More like steak. There is no sauce on the chimichanga, it doesn’t need it. All of the flavor comes from the inside. Delicious. Served with the refried beans and rice, plus guacamole and salsa. I don’t normally eat guac and salsa, so I can’t speak to how they taste. But I will say that the salsa looks nice and fresh and the guac looks like it has a very creamy consistency that seems desirable. The refried beans? Gorgeous. Lovely texture, not at all dry. They put a little cheese on top of it that gets nice and melty. Yummy. I like a bite of the chimichanga with the rice and beans, all together.

Today’s lunch sounds heavenly, right? Okay. Here comes the downside. Cacique can be kind of hit or miss. I’ve been to Cacique on a very busy night and the food has suffered. The salsa runny, the chips not crispy. A chicken breast dish served with a thigh (white meat versus dark meat? Really noticeable). The food being…just okay.

Today? REALLY slow service. Lunch should never take more than an hour. Ours lasted at least 2. Initial service, the chips and salsa plus drinks, was fine. The chips (made onsite) perfectly crispy and the salsa was perfect. The drinks came one time. After that? It took a long time to get our order taken and a really long time for our food to get to us. It took over a half an hour to get our check even though we were obviously done. I am really, really glad the food was worth the wait today. I would have felt terrible if my family’s first downtown Frederick dining experience had been a total bust.

Will I go back to Cacique? Maybe. When it’s on, it’s really on! But I might start seeking other Mexican options due to the service issues I seem to encounter too frequently at Cacique. I admit, they’ve always seemed a little slow, but I am disappointed with HOW slow they were during a non-busy lunch today.

{November 27, 2011}