Friday, August 20, 2010

Waking Up In Mexican Heaven

Bad cellphone picture of a chimichanga at Los Laureles

My love of trying new places to eat has certainly had its share of set backs as witnessed in Wednesday's blog post but it has also found little places of food heaven. Although I seem to write mostly about my hunt for the perfect BBQ, my favorite food genre is Mexican. In our little rural town where I reside, our standby restaurant is a Mexican place that serves decent food. It certainly has a lot to be desired but it is good cheap food.

I have eaten at perhaps hundreds of various Mexican restaurants over the years and there is one thing that can usually help identify the quality of the place and rule out easily 95% of the other restaurants as being your average everyday ordinary Mexican restaurant. Order something with the word beef in it such as a beef chimichanga, enchilada or burrito and see if what is served you is nothing more than hamburger or actual shredded beef. If it is hamburger, you are eating at an everyday ordinary Mexican restaurant that is like 95% of all of them out there. For me, it is best described as going to McDonalds. If you eat at one of them, you know exactly how the food is going to taste at all of them.

But if you are like me and don't want to eat at McDonalds, then read the following. On a tip, we pulled into a hard to find Mexican restaurant in what is probably described as the Little Mexico of the urban jungle where we have an apartment. The place in question was named Los Laureles which is unlike any other named Mexican restaurant I have dined at which was a good sign. The restaurant itself is a small cozy place with a half dozen booths and perhaps a few more tables. The first time there, I order beef enchiladas and was blown away. Not only were they made from shredded beef chunks, but the cheese was a consistency that can only be found in authentic Mexican restaurants. I was in heaven.

Still I bided my time until we could make a return trip just to verify that I hadn't gotten lucky and ordered the one thing off the menu that was good. The second time around I order a beef chimichanga (normally I stick with chicken at the run of the mill Mexican places) and the first bite assured me that I had actually found Mexican heaven. It was outstanding. It was three times as tasty as any chimichanga that I have had the privilege of eating in my life. My wife ordered a chili relleno and two pork tacos. The chili relleno while very good, was a bit soupy for out tastes but the tacos were outstanding. Only after I tasted them did she tell me that they were actually pork tongue tacos but I honestly don't think that would have stopped me from sampling them. You can get them in a variety of flavors. They looked and smelled so delicious and their taste certainly confirmed it.

Last but certainly not least, the meal begins like any Mexican restaurant with chips and salsa but instead of the watery salsa that most serve you, Los Laureles gives you three different versions of three different heats with spoons to encourage mixing. Since my wife and daughter like the mild version, that left me with the two hotter bowls to eat and I did so with pleasure until the chips ran out.

I mostly give you a review of the adult foods that my wife and I eat but this time, I had to include the chicken tenders and french fries that my daughter chose to eat. Like almost all restaurants, they came boiling hot so that my wife and I are forced to spend the next ten minutes burning our fingers as we blew on them to cool them down to a temperature our daughter could handle. Why they don't allow them time to cool down before serving I'll never know. I was raving about how good my chimichanga was when I asked my daughter if her chicken tenders was good. "They're okay daddy," she replied. Pressing on, I asked her where the best chicken tenders she has ever eaten were at. "McDonalds."

So if you can avoid the kid's meal section of the menu, Los Laureles is the best Mexican restaurant I have ever eaten at and it will continue to get my business in the foreseeable future. Send me an email if you happen to be going through town and would like an address. You won't be disappointed.


Bad cellphone picture of tacos at Los Laureles

11 comments:

R. Sherman said...

I've always been a Mexican fan. You're BBQ quest manifests itself as in the form of enchiladas for me.

Cheers.

Ed said...

R. Sherman - Well then the holy grail of enchiladas can be found there. I was blown away with them the first time I ate there.

Murf said...

Forget sushi. I'm doing Mexican when I come to visit although why is your chimichanga shiny?

Murf said...

And McDonald's does have great chicken nuggets.

sage said...

I know our local mexican restaurant has shredded pork, but I seldom order beef... I'll have to find out next time I'm there. I like going to a placed called the Mexican Connection that is ran by Columbians... But the Columbian Connection might should a little suspect.

Eutychus2 said...

The former city we lived in had two excellent, authentic Mexican food places. My wife really loved something called 'sopies' or something like that, we've never found any since. I find the Mexican Connection Sage spoke of leaning a little too much to fast food takeout, although from time to time I do eat there.

Ed said...

Murf 1 - I think it is a combination of a crappy cellphone camera and the glare of the lights off the cheese.

Murf 2 - Yuck!

Sage - I find that most Mexican places use shredded pork or chicken. That is why I use beef as my gauge of quality in a new place.

Eutychus2 - You are undoubtedly referring to a sopapilla which is a friend pastry that is most tasty when served with honey.

Ron said...

Dang, that looks good. I'm a sucker for Mexican too. Reminds me that I badly need to give some business to the local establishment...

Ron

TC said...

I hate you a little bit right now. I looooooooooooooooove Chimichangas!

Beau said...

Oh, I wish I had seen this one last week! We drove in the parking lot at 8 am on Thursday 8/19 but I was itching to head south, and didn't wait until lunch. Life on a cell phone- my internet access was poor in terms of browsing... Looked like an interesting part of town.

malor said...

You are really getting around the urban jungle. You are making me hungry.