Volleyball, check. Hot wings, check. MMA, not so much.
The waitress retreated to the kitchen to get my friend his red chile and to reheat my tamales, which had arrived cold. We started to get a little puffy about the indignations we were suffering, but as the server returned to the table, wiping away tears, we realized she wasn’t the culprit.
A pile of mashed potatoes and gravy melted into the chile.
“I’m sorry guys. This is my fourth day. I’m the only one here for the whole place. This table in the back just made me cry.”
We thought about how much space she had to patrol. The inside tables were sparsely populated, but rowdy, thirsty crowds had gathered at the front and back outdoor beach volleyball courts. Our server had to cover about 50 yards between the two courts, stopping at the bar to place orders and doing her best to service the tables scattered inside. Her best wasn’t good enough, but we didn’t blame her. The service at Sneakerz, which has been roundly berated in online forums, appears to be a management-level problem.
What makes the poor service all the more unfortunate is that the food isn’t bad—cold tamales notwithstanding. On another trip, I ordered a build-your-own appetizer platter that included above-average tangy hot wings, zucchini rounds that were freshly prepared, juicy clam strips with a mild yet tasty batter, and lots of fresh guacamole.
This time I successfully ordered the tapaqueno steak (more commonly known as tampiqueña) Christmas style. The meat was very tender, with a nice proportion of fat to meat, plus chunks of decent green chile and melted orange cheese in a puddle of red. A pile of mashed potatoes and gravy melted into the chile.
If you’re into beach volleyball, you probably already know about Sneakerz. The vibe around the sandy court is coastal and chill, even as cars whiz by on San Mateo. But it can’t be that chill—one of those jerks made our waitress cry, after all.
• Appetizer sampler plate
• Tapaqueno steak
On Saturday, March 19, I'll be live-blogging from UFC 128 in Newark, N.J., as two UFC fighters who train at Jackson's MMA here in Albuquerque will be competing. Nate Marquardt will face Dan Miller in a middleweight bout, and Jon “Bones” Jones will face “Shogun” Rua for the light-heavyweight title. Stop by alibi.com for behind-the-scene updates.