After a long and fun hike to Dundas Peak and Tew’s Falls in Hamilton, we scouted for a place close by to have a late lunch. Thanks to Google Maps, we were able to find a Mexican restaurant that was rated highly and seemed quite promising!
After just 10 minutes of driving, we arrived at the restaurant. Thirsty Cactus Cantina & Grill turned out to be a really cute and local eatery on the corner of Kind Street W and Miller’s Lane that specialized in Southern and Mexican food. There were a good number of people here on a Sunday afternoon and the restaurant had a lot of old-school signs, relics, and even caribou heads on the walls as decor. I liked how a series of large windows looked into the street (could be turned into a patio in the summer) and you could watch the passing cars at the intersection. It was a very homey and cozy restaurant.
We ordered the Bang Bang Shrimp to share, the Brunswick Stew for me, and the Cajun Fried Catfish for Ken.
Service was a tiny bit slow at first since we had to flag them down again to take our orders but I wouldn’t say the service was neglectful since we enjoyed our time eating without having to be interrupted and the server did come by every so often to check on us.
The Bang Bang Shrimp had dusted shrimps tossed in Dynamite sauce, drizzled in chipotle mayo, and topped with jalapeño . At first glance, the dish was smaller than I expected but its taste made up for it in the end. I loved the dusted crunchiness of the shrimps drizzled in the chipotle mayo and Dynamite sauce. It was just spicy enough for me and a dish I can see myself craving for every so often :D.
At this time, the server also brought out a bowl of complimentary nachos covered with cheese. Yay! These were just regular nachos with melted processed cheese but I really liked it. It went so well with the Bang Bang Shrimp appetizer to break up the spiciness. I placed some of the jalapeños on the nachos to eat too and it was such a tasty combination! 😀
Our mains arrived shortly. My Brunswick Stew came with two big pieces of garlic toast on the side. Ken said that they looked like hot dog buns XD. The Brunswick Stew had a mix of pulled pork, pulled chicken, smoked beef with corn and butter beans all simmered in a tangy tomato sauce. While for some people, this might have been a small portion, this was perfect for me since it was so chunky with lots of meat. I liked the consistency of the stew and the tangy tomato sauce with the corn in it helped to balance out the heaviness. I found that the crunchy garlic toast tasted best when dipping it into the stew. 😀
I tried a bite of the Cajun Fried Catfish that Ken got (it was served on rice and black beans and then topped with a fresh mango salsa) and was so impressed with how authentically southern it tasted. It was just fried enough with the blackened taste. The rice and mango slaw was pretty good too but I think Ken said the rice was a bit dry. :p
All in all, I really liked our impromptu visit to the Thirsty Cactus! They do a pretty good job of Southern and Mexican food I think. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind returning in the future to try their other dishes (their appetizers and items from the “Southern Comfort Meets South of the Border” section in the menu sounds good)!