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Grande-Sized 

Mexican food in the Thor-Freya neighborhood. Plus, the game is at the Game.

click to enlarge "Los Tacos" we missed - STEPHEN SCHLANGE
  • Stephen Schlange
  • "Los Tacos" we missed

“Hacienda Burrito?”

“Right here.”

“Hacienda Chimichanga?”

“That’s me.”

“Hacienda Enchilada?”

“Yeah, that’s — holy cow.”

My eyes widen as our server lowers what appears to be the World’s Biggest Enchilada in front of me. I glance across the table. My companions’ portions are every bit as enormous.

Hacienda means “estate” in Spanish. Here, it seems to mean “size of a Central American nation.”

Besides the lack of Coronas to wash everything down — the liquor license is coming soon, but not without difficulty, thanks to the elementary school across the street — Hacienda Las Flores has everything you’d expect from a family Mexican restaurant.

The interior is bright and busy — festive, with paper cutouts and eye-popping colors. I feel like Jonah, if he had been swallowed by a piñata rather than a whale.

The custom of passing out chips is one Hacienda takes seriously. They’re served with refried beans with cheese, two salsas and an herby slaw of cabbage, onions, jalapeños and cilantro.

Affable owners Jorge and Adriana Hernandez provide the hospitality, and patrons certainly get their money’s worth.

Our entrées, though hearty, want for spice. My gargantuan Hacienda Enchilada ($9.75) came with chicken, refried beans, special enchilada sauce, melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, sour cream and guacamole, but it still felt like it needed a kick of something.

This may have been our fault for ordering such pedestrian fare. My second visit would dive deeper into the menu, to the Polle en Mole ($12.25; sliced chicken breast in a sweet-and-spicy peanut butter sauce) or the Camarones a la Crema ($13; large prawns prepared with mushrooms in a sour cream base).

And curse my failure to notice “Los Tacos” ($2.75; served taco cart-style with fresh cilantro, onions and lime); a tiny category alone at the bottom there, just above “Desserts” and “Beverages.” (If you’re a tacotruck- aholic, keep this in mind.)

Banquet space here could easily accommodate larger parties (like the entire Seahawks roster), and the atmosphere is kid-friendly (there’s a full-sized playpen near the cash register).

One last suggestion: after you’ve tackled one-third of that beastly burrito, pause and ask yourself, “Will I want some flan? Or a churro? Or an apple burrito?”

If the answer is yes, put your fork down.

Hacienda las Flores • 510 S. Freya St. • Open daily, 10 am-9 pm • 315-8853

Get Into the Game

If you’re going fill a restaurant with giant high-def flat-screen TVs — all broadcasting other places’ luscious food and beer advertisements — you had better make sure your own food and beer is pretty damn good.

Congratulations are in order, then, to downtown Spokane’s newest sports bar, the Game — because despite seductive commercials during Sunday’s football games, not once did I have adulterous food thoughts. I only had eyes for my meal. (Maybe also my neighbor’s. More on that later.)

Entering the Game is like entering a “choose your own adventure” scenario. Things will change drastically depending on where you sit.

There’s the bar (one of two in the restaurant), for those looking to mingle or stare at pretty bottles. Next, there’s bistro table-and-chair seating for people scared to sit at any level below bar-stool height. Finally, there’s something really special. If you hate sitting in your own living room because you bought your sofa for its looks — not its comfort — you’ll appreciate the third seating option at the Game. All throughout the pleasantly dim restaurant, there are soft, black-leather sofas nestled around coffee tables, basking in the glow of their respective TVs. The staff even gives you a remote — defying the “don’t ask, don’t touch” policy in effect at most sports bars, making it feel more like home.

Of course, your home probably doesn’t have its own chef.

For those who regard hot wings not as a food but as a way of life, try the chicken wings ($7). They pack a decent kick, and the wing sauce compliments the bleu cheese crumbled on top. Delicious, but typical. What sets them apart is a side of Tropical Slaw (like regular coleslaw, but with melons).

The flatbread pizzas ($6-$8) are also amazing and come piled high with toppings like chorizo and cashews. As the sausage suggests, Chef Gonzalo Carillo is still playing with the Latin flavors that have made Uno Tapas Lounge an underdog favorite.

Entrees are well-priced, and include the Sicilian burger ($7), piled with sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms, spinach, mozzarella and — here comes the Sicilian part — pesto and tomato sauce. All burgers and sandwiches come with the standard sides, but if you’re feeling frisky, opt for the sweet potato fries.

Especially on the sofas, it’s a package that almost certainly has advantages over your home field.

The Game • 515 W. Sprague • Open daily, 11 am-11 pm • 624-7777

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