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Posts Tagged ‘mexican’

2014-03-14 20.05.43

A tall Bloody Mary awaits at El Arroyo.

1624 W 5th St, Austin, TX 78703

Known for catchy signs, which are commemorated in photographs along the interior walls, El Arroyo anchors the west end of the popular 6th Street downtown area.  It’s almost up against Mo-Pac (Loop 1), across 5th street from the Mean Eye Cat. 

I tried the Tacos El Pastor (pork with pineapple), they had very lean cubes of pork with a good about of achiote pepper flavor.  Not greasy at all.   My dinnermate had the tamales, which are a pain to make at home, and they were spiced in the right ways.  I’d say fairly authentic Mexican fare!

The “fish” is Tilapia, including the ceviche, which is not my favorite (maybe it’s a Southern thing, it’s certainly foreign to this Canuck!)  I wanted to try their ceviche but was not going to eat Tilapia.  If you like it, go ahead and try it.

El Arroyo can also entertain you with live music on select evenings (check the website).  I hear this is a great place for breakfast on the weekends.

 

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Need a quick no fuss lunch option under 10 bucks? If you’re in north Austin (ok, way NORTH) I’d suggest stopping at La Tapatia. It’s a tiny taqueria on the south bound frontage of Research Blvd (Hwy 183).

la tapatia drinks austin texas

Typical selection of sodas are available, as well as beer. The chips and salsa are nothing to write home about, probably not freshly prepared in-house, not that I’d expect it here.

la tapatia austin texas

There’s a jukebox that randomly wakes up to flood the cement-walled eatery with Latino folk music. A bit loud when you’re sitting right next to it, and startling if you’re not expecting it. Restroom was clean and well maintained but didn’t have a changing table, just a heads up if you tote along ninos.

torta de lengua la tapatia austin texas

Lunch for myself was less than $5 (not including tip). The lengua was very soft and sliced thin, very few clumps of pure fat, in fact I only found one. Needed a little salt, or I’m just craving salty tongue right now for some reason. Very filling lunch option for those with smaller appetites (and wallets).

La Tapatia is located at 13450 N Hwy 183 Austin, TX 78750

For more Mexican Restaurants click here! For more Austin Restaurants click here!

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afb_city_guide_2013_logo

Time for a new round of the Austin Food Blogger Alliance city guide!  This year I’ve chosen Mexican as one of my topics.  There are several interpretations of Mexican food in Austin.  You can find interior Mexico at a few places, and I will point these out, but there’s a whole lotta TexMex here too.  The lines blur in a handful of fusion restaurants, where you might find kimchi in your burritos!
Are you hungry?  Let’s get started!

Fast, Local, Different

$ Tacodeli (12001 Burnet Rd.  & 4200 North Lamar Blvd.)  Accolades galore at Taco Deli!  One look at the menu and you’ll understand why: Akaushi Picadillo, Puerco Verde, and a vegetarian named The Heather! Ha!  One of the best parts is that they proudly use Non-GMO certified organic eggs.

$ Molca’s (8127 Mesa Drive Austin, TX ) Delicious tacos to suit anyone’s palate, including gluten-free friendly options.  I’ve tried the spinach enchiladas and the cochinita pibil tacos, both were fantastic and a very affordable lunch for around $5, including iced tea, chips and salsa on the side.

$ Torchy’s Tacos (4211 Spicewood Springs Road Austin, TX)  If you like creative trailer food, check out the brick and mortar location of Torchy’s Tacos.  The regulars rave about this hidden gem in the north.  Really the only thing Mexican about this place is that the dishes are put into a tortilla.  Spicy, as the name suggests, is the Diablo Sauce which goes beyond my tolerance level but you can try it while you’re there!

Dirty Sanchez

The Dirty Sanchez & Love Puppy

$ Yummitaco (12518 Research Blvd Austin, TX) Fusion is the name of the game here!  The owner is Vietnamese-American and created his restaurant using tacos, migas, and kimchi.  Sounds odd until you try it!  Kimchi fries are awesome, albeit slightly off topic, but you can order them to accompany the BigTex Burrito.  Asian-Mexican food, who would have thought?

IMG_1363

Kimchi Fries at Yummitaco

$ Juarez (1701 S. Mays Round Rock, TX) “Bakery” does not exude images of dinner platters, chips and salsa, I know. The bakery bit is really just a bonus on top of all the other wonderful Mexican offerings. We normally come for brunch on Sundays, when the line is out the door – everyone hungrily waiting their turn to order barbacoa, huevos, and chorizo.

$ La Cocina Bar & Grill (602 McNeil Road Austin, TX)  The story behind the chef and owner of La Cocina is an interesting one.  He studied in Italy and created an interesting Mexican menu with touches of his past abroad and in California.  I’ve never been disappointed here despite some of the reviews online.  Last visit was with my father, who thoroughly enjoyed our meal and flan for dessert.  Stick to the Mexican offerings like carne el pastor, chicken enchiladas, and the queso.

The Better Chains

$$ Gloria’s (3309 Esperanza Crossing Austin, TX in the Domain Shopping Center) This may be further south of the border than other places on this list, Gloria’s features Salvadoran entrees and $4 happy hour margaritas (only the house variety not the $9 mango ones – lesson learned!). Being in the Domain, there is an upscale feel to the decor and presentations on the plate (read: smaller portions). You will find ample parking behind Macy’s which is around the corner from Gloria’s.
2013-city-guide-mexican-austin
$$ Manuel’s (10201 Jollyville Road Austin,TX) Interior Mexican is the focus of Manuel’s menu.  The tortilla soup was good here.  Sit out on the patio and hang out with a few drinks at happy hour, try the ceviche.
$$ Trudy’s North Star (8820 Burnet Road Austin, TX) Mexican-American fare with a decent drink selection for happy hour or late night gatherings after a day outside in the heat.  Weekend brunch is packed every time we try to go.  Stuffed Avocado comes highly rated (and pricy!).
$$$ Fonda San Miguel (2330 North Loop Boulevard West Austin, TX) Brunch option may be the best value here at a popular up-scale interior-Mexican restaurant with a great wine selection.  Meet up with friends at happy hour for a Silvercoin Margarita (watermelon infused tequilla) and Ceviche de Langosta y Mango (lobster and mango ceviche).
north-austin-mexican-map-2013
Click on the map

Honorable Mentions

Jardin Corona (13233 Pond Springs Road #301 Austin, TX 78729) Pechuga Jardin Corona and the salsa verde come highly recommended.
Dos Batos Woodfired Tacos (2525 W. Anderson Ln Austin, TX 78757) Menu is short and sweet.  Smokey sirloin or Veggie tacos, tortas, carnitas, kid options, beer and Mexican coke.
Casa Chapala (3010 W. Anderson Ln Austin, TX 78757) Specializing in tequila and generations-old Mexican dishes.
Taquiera Taco More (9414 Parkfield Drive Austin, TX 78758) No website but they have consommé de cabrito (goat soup).
La Cocina de Consuelo (4516 Burnet Road Austin, TX 78756)
Chuy’s Panaderia (8716 Research Blvd Austin, TX 78757‎) Mexican street food and bakery, locally owned.
Alfredo’s (800 Pecan Street West Pflugerville, TX 78660) Breakfast platters are great and cheap too!
Taqueria Guadalajara Arandas (6534 N. Burnet Rd Austin, TX 78757) Houston-based franchise with several locations.
Morelia Grill (920 East Palm Valley Boulevard Round Rock, TX 78664) Always a crowd at dinner time!
Dos Salsas (1104 S. Main St. Georgetown, TX 78626) Tex Mex, Mexican, seafood, bar, Saturday night salsa lessons.
Taco Cabana (9605 Research Blvd,  and 12525 North Mopac Austin, TX and other locations) Bear with me a moment, I realize this is fast food and drive-thru, but it’s the best fast food where you can get breakfast platters, tacos, beef fajitas and guacamole served with freshly made tortillas that are pillowy and warm.  And if you decide to stop in they have a great fresh salsa bar.  Cheap and good food, period.
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Check out the 2013 Austin City Guide for more!

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This recipe has been under development for a couple years, this one was pretty close to what I want.  The cream cheese was what I had in the fridge, this should be a mozzarella blend of some kind.  This was already an experiment so the cream cheese went in.

  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 15 oz can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 15 oz can cream of Poblano soup
  • 1 (28 oz) can green beans
  • 1 (30 oz) jar cactus strips
  • french fried onions

350ºF for 45 – 55 minutes until bubbly and onions are browned on top.  Kinda like this:

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Taco Salad

Want to skip the crunchy carbs of taco night?  Make a salad instead!

Chop up your favorite lettuce.  Make a fresh “salsa” out of diced tomato, onion (red or white, or green yum) and peppers.  Cook ground meat with taco seasoning or combine chili powder, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt.  To make it vegetarian, you could use beans instead of the meat or diced Portobello mushroom caps.  Hey that actually sounds pretty tasty!  Top with shredded cheese.

Funny tidbit for you:  the most popular search on my blog remains at Claire Robinson, she has many fans including yours truly!

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Ceviche Salad

My friend made a huge bowl of ceviche, how could you not after returning from Cancun?

We swapped dessert for appetizer today.  All I did was add some garden tomatoes, a bed of arugula and spinach, and a drizzle of olive oil.  The ceviche was made with bay scallops, tilapia, red pepper, avocado, red onion, cilantro and lime.  The lime juice cooks the scallops and tilapia while it marinades in the fridge.

Perfect post-vacation dinner to bring the surf home with you!

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Pes fish Pescado a caught fish

This was one of the first strange things I learned in Spanish from my Hubby.  Apparently you cannot make “pes” soup because that would require you to make it in the river or other body of water that fish is swimming in.  A “pes” is as free as Willy.

So, to make the soup you have to catch that fish first.

Caldo de Pescado

  • 1/2 lb firm white fish fillets (tilapia, bass, catfish) per person
  • 2-3 cups stock (any flavor)
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes (or use 3 – 4 fresh tomatoes)
  • bay leaf
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 cup frozen vegetable mix (lima beans, carrot, peas)
  • (optional) hot peppers, sliced
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • lime wedges for serving

Sauté the onion and garlic in a soup pot.  Add stock and water, bay leaf, tomatoes, vegetables, peppers and rice.  Bring to a rapid boil.  Reduce to medium for 10 minutes.  Adjust seasoning.  Add the fish fillets and cook until done, about 5 minutes.  Serve with lime wedges.

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Molé, made from scratch is not something commonly done these days in Mexican homes.  It’s easier to buy a paste as it is to buy prepared Phylo dough.  Nobody does these by hand unless you are compelled to do so.  From my understanding, molé is akin to chili, everyone has their own recipe.

Given the fact that I have not reached that level of kitchen skill (at least in Mexican/Latino cuisine) I used a can of prepared molé for my chicken.  This was a challenge and spur of the moment dinner after a short jaunt to the store for a curtain rod.  We can never go shopping for just one item and browsed around until hunger set in.  The molé was there and it was selected for a quick dinner.

Following the vague memory of a molé and instructions from Hubby, I was able to put this together.  The most important part is to remember to dilute the canned molé paste with a chicken stock, a 4 to 1 ratio give or take.  Sauté onion and peppers along with chicken breasts, season with cumin and garlic, salt and pepper.  Blend the molé paste with some of the stock to a thin liquid.  Add the stock and molé to the pan, bringing it to a gentle simmer.  The sauce may reduce and thicken as it simmers, you can add a few tablespoons of water to keep a consistency you prefer.

Serve with a side of fideo, warm tortillas and Mexican cheese and you will be in the middle of Mexico before you know it.

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Marisco Grill (6444 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78757 ) is a tiny turquoise blue restaurant serving up a surprising array of Mexican seafood dishes.  The three page menu focuses a third of the offerings from the ocean.  One you shouldn’t miss is the Vuelve a la Vida (above), this was a half portion for only $7.25 and was plenty to share between Hubby and I as our appetizer, besides the house salsa and tortilla chips.  There’s heat, lime, and treasure chest of real seafood pieces, nice avocado chunks and fresh cilantro.  This was my first octopus in a ceviche, I found it soft and oily, maybe like blubber.  It was alright,  I stuck to the shrimp and avocado.

Soccer games flicker in each corner of the dining area.  Neon beer signs hang on the walls above nautical images, mostly sailboats, which is odd because sailboats are not exactly the type of boat you would fish from.  Lunch arrived.  Hubby had the small order of crab soup Sopa de Jaiba ($5.50) which caused a series of “mmmm”s from his side of the table.  I tasted the broth, it had a chipotle flavor in the background and a fish stock base I’m guessing.

The show stopper was my platter of crab stuffed enchiladas, Enchilada de Jiaba.  I was pleased to have vegetables instead of refried beans, and the rice had a garlic butter hint to it.  For $9.50 this pair of crab meat filled tortillas was more than I could eat.  I found a few pieces of crab shell in my enchiladas but I know how hard it is to see the translucent interior shells of those small crabs.

Might be classified in the dive category, but they do have decent seafood at a price I can swallow.

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Simple Mexican Dinner

Any day of the week is great for fajitas!  In our local grocery store, as well as the Mexican markets, you can pick up seasoned flank or skirt steak ready to cook.  I like to pile on pico de gallo and avocado slices (guacamole is reserved for the not-so-pretty avocados).  I make a pot of beans on the weekend to see us through the week as a quick snack for the kids (and big people too).  The beans are sorted and rocks removed before heading for a very long simmer in a bath of onion, garlic, chili pods and bay leaf.  There should be about 3 to 4 times the amount of water to beans in the pot so that there is a broth left when the beans have plumped up and finished cooking.

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