Lost in Translation

March 16, 2011

in restaurant, travel, vegetarian

I think Abe and I hit our breaking point with SXSW last night. With the Music Festival portion starting, things in Austin have gone from bonkers to bananas.


After I finished my final interview (check out the latest ones at Reel Artsy and  BiCoastal Bitchin), we drove around in traffic, missed a screening, tried to get into a few different restaurants, couldn’t find parking, and gave up. Starving, we walked straight across the street from our hotel to the only chain restaurant that isn’t in California:


Gloria’s Restaurants are all over Texas.  Salvadorian cuisine meets TexMex.

When we sat down a huge basket of chips + salsa + bean dip was placed in front of us.


I knew I’d wind up eating a lot of them, so I decided to order the Chile Con Queso as my entree, thinking it was a bowl of Beef Chili with some cheese sprinkled on top.


Obviously I don’t know how to spell. Or speak TexMex. (And I’m not as enlightened of a foodie as I thought myself to be.)

Because I sure was shocked when this bowl of melted cheese was placed in front of me.


As many of you know, me + cheese aren’t really close friends. I love it, but it doesn’t love me back. So ordering a bowl of this was a definite mistake. Especially the large portion size.


I wound up eating about 1/3 of the queso con chile (that’s how I would describe it) and 3/4 of the chips


Abe was sweet enough to spare half of his Spinach Enchiladas…


…which, unfortunately were also swimming in cheese


At least there was some greens?!?


Too bloated for dessert – nothing sounded appealing anyway. I ate two candy samples from the Convention Center Exhibit Hall.


I’m not big on white chocolate, but when combined with peanut butter it’s pretty fabulous.


Have you ever ordered a dish, picturing something totally different?

Needless to say, I now know what chile con queso is. And so do you!

Gloria's on Urbanspoon


1 Toni March 16, 2011 at 5:50 am

that’s a HUGE portion of cheese!!! That would destroy my insides!

2 brokencookiesdontcount March 16, 2011 at 5:55 am

I could easily eat that bowl of cheese…don’t even need the chips, just give me a spoon! However, should I? It doesn’t bother me, but being a Weight Watchers Lifetime member, I have learned what my trigger foods are. I’m vegetarian, and cheese is probably the only reason I have not become vegan…I’m not kidding! I’ve really been enjoying your posts regard SXSM. Very interesting! Thanks!

3 Tamara March 16, 2011 at 6:00 am

Lots of chile con queso to be found in Michigan’s Mex and Tex/Mex restaurants, surprisingly, so I knew what you were in for… like you said, now you know!

4 Allywan March 16, 2011 at 6:11 am

I love white chocolate anything! SO amazing. And whoa…that’s alot of cheese!!

5 claudia March 16, 2011 at 6:12 am

eeek well queso is cheese so now you know! :)

6 Katie March 16, 2011 at 6:20 am

Sorry about your food fail… that’s especially frustrating (and in the past has brought on surprising tears) when you’re starving!

7 quinn March 16, 2011 at 7:05 am

Wow – I don’t even see the “chili” part of your “queso con chili”…looks like a bowl of melted cheez whiz to me! Too bad…I love chili, with or without queso, but I couldn’t have eaten much of that.

Why do these things happen when we are at our hungriest? I recall going out for a late breakfast as a treat on a Saturday morning, reading the menu and ordering “raspberry pancakes.” I pictured pancakes with raspberries scattered in the batter – like blueberry pancakes, right? No! It was a plate of massive, cakelike pancakes with – seriously – about a half jar of raspberry jam dumped over the top. It was inedible. Makes my teeth ache just remembering it!

8 Cindy March 16, 2011 at 7:19 am

The best chile con queso is made with the mexican white cheese and lots of fresh chiles. So sorry you had that surprise…that is a years worth of cheese for you. Hope your tummy has settled for your flight. I’ve definitely had some food surprises…but can’t remember any at the moment.

I have a good friend flying to Austin today for the music. She specializes in musical performance photography. http://www.nancygoldwin.com

9 Anna @ Newlywed, Newly Veg March 16, 2011 at 7:24 am

I feel like y’all have been at SXSW forever!! I’m not surprised you hit your breaking point :-)

10 Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) March 16, 2011 at 7:27 am

I used to love chili con queso at this one restaurant we used to go to…I had the worst stomach ache afterwards, but it was pure heaven going in! I am pretty particular now when I go out, which is kind of sad sometimes because it keeps me from trying different stuff.

11 Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine March 16, 2011 at 8:20 am

All the girls in my high school class were OBSESSED with Chili’s bottomless skillet queso. We’d go after school and on weekends and get about seven refills, then split molten chocolate cakes. I remember once I ate an entire skillet by myself…yeah, BAD CALL.

12 Jan Schifter March 16, 2011 at 8:54 am

All the spoiled music exec’s, I’d get out of there as fast as you can. Years ago my ex boss insisted on a room at the Four Seasons and a red convertible to drive around in. I had to start planning everything months in advance, and fed ex her luggage! Happy travels to you and the hubby.

13 Liz @ Tip Top Shape March 16, 2011 at 10:06 am

Boo, I hate when I order something and it doesn’t live up to my expectations.

14 Julie (A Case of the Runs) March 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

That queso looks delicious, but it would also hurt my stomach pretty badly.

15 Emily @ Savory and Savage March 16, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I hate that – when you have something wonderful and delicious pictured in your mind and what arrives at the table is the polar opposite :-(

16 chanelandolivia March 16, 2011 at 1:44 pm

when I was at a crepe place in Paris I ordered ice cream with caramel whipped creme and coffee sauce and i thought it was a crepe
they presented me with a bowl of ice cream
and everybody else with yummy looking crepes
i was so pissed off
they brought me a crepe and i scooped all the stuff onto it
my fail created a yummy coffee-caramel crepe for me at least :)

17 Pure2raw twins March 16, 2011 at 7:05 pm

One reason I do not eat out much (besides my food allergies) but is to order something and it is not what I wanted or thought. For me, whenever this happens I tend to regret getting the meal, ugh, which I know is not good.

18 Lindsay March 16, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Ouch! That cheese looks painful!! I hate when that happens, its just so disappointing, especially when you are hungry and ready to be satisfied.

My worst order scenario was when I worked on a cruise ship and my castmates dared me to go for the “smelts”. They said they were fish…yeah…they were, tiny fish with eyes/bones/scales DEEP FRIED. Barf. Worse than trying to adjust to my sea legs!!

19 chezjulie March 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Well, chili con queso IS actually wonderful and delicious, but it just happens to be a cheese dip appetizer. I have never heard of Gloria’s Restaurant – must be a central Texas thang.

20 Chris December 13, 2011 at 2:02 pm

You realize “chile” refers to the green chilis. “carne” means meat. There is nothing to imply there would be any meat at all.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: