Mexican

471. E&L Supermercado – March 8, 2020 – Detroit, MI

March2020E&LSupermercado1 (2)March2020E&LSupermercado2 (2)As of the writing of this post, I haven’t been to a grocery store in almost two weeks – or anywhere, really. But it cheers me to know that wonderful grocery stores such as E&L Supermercado are still in operation during this challenging time, doing the noble work of feeding the masses.

I visited the Southwest Detroit-based grocery store in early March, marveling over its well-stocked meat counter, mounds of fresh produce, array of fresh-baked breads and sweets, and ample selections of locally-made corn and flour tortillas, house-made salsas, and Mexican dry grocery goods.

I enjoyed shopping in the store bustling with families and friends running into each other. After perusing all of the goodies, I came out with a variety of fruits and vegetables, a sack of house-made tortilla chips, bags of fresh flour tortillas, canned salsa, a package of El Milagro non-GMO tostadas (LOVE those – they’re so deliciously crunchy!), and what turned out to be my favorite purchase, a container of E&L Supermercado’s house-made Salsa a la Diabla.

I ADORE spicy food. But I’ll admit: buying a salsa labeled “Salsa of the Devil” from a Mexican grocery store gave me pause; I wondered if it would be more heat than I could handle. Happily, it was not; that Salsa a la Diabla was nowhere near as spicy as I’d expected it to be – but it was wonderful.

It brought the heat, but in a pleasant way – at least, in a pleasant way for someone who has a high heat tolerance (I acknowledge that those who prefer mild heat might indeed find it as hot as a work of Satan’s); it had such beautifully nuanced flavor. It struck me as more of an oily, spice-infused paste than a traditional salsa; it didn’t have chunks of tomatoes or veggies in it but appeared to contain an ample amount of ground red chiles. I became OBSESSED with it, consuming it daily mixed into meals or slathered on E&L Supermercado’s perfectly crispy, salty tortilla chips – until it ran out and I found myself scrambling for an excuse to drive down to buy more.

Even if E&L Supermercado wasn’t doing the work of heroes at this intense time in history, feeding people fresh and nutritious and tasty food when they need it most, I’d still view the store as a superpower for manufacturing that Salsa a la Diabla and for offering such stellar produce and groceries. E&L Supermercado has definitely been added to my rotation of top-notch locally-owned markets!

6000 W. Vernor Hwy.

Detroit, MI 48209

www.el-supermercado.com

439. Taqueria Mi Pueblo – October 6, 2019 – Detroit, MI

October2019MiPueblo1 (2)October2019MiPueblo2 (5)October2019MiPueblo3 (2)October 6 was a monumental day for me. Not only was it my birthday, it was also the day that I finally consumed some of Taqueria Mi Pueblo’s sweet, sweet cuisine.

I’d learned of Mi Pueblo, a Mexican restaurant in Detroit, years prior from an uncle who lives in the city and raved that it was, hands-down, his favorite Mexican restaurant. I’d dreamed of visiting it and attempted a few times to schedule dinners there, to no avail.

Mi Pueblo was starting to become my white whale: looming tantalizingly and ever elusively in my mind – which made it an ideal spot for a birthday lunch with my mom and stepdad. The visit was finally happening!!!

It was after 1 when we arrived at Mi Pueblo on this warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. It was kicking; we waited about 15 minutes for a table. I took the time to peruse Mi Pueblo’s menus and soak up its ambiance.

The place was bringing some good vibes. Mi Pueblo’s exterior is striking, with its neat brown-brick façade, vibrant yellow signage, and bright flowers. Its interior is even more cheerful with its color-splashed walls, strung garlands of bunting, art-bedecked tabletops, and profusion of potted plants.

When we got a table and sat down to it, we joined lively groups of patrons – many of whom appeared to be families – enjoying meals and camaraderie on that Sunday afternoon. I again scanned Mi Pueblo’s extensive food and drink menus.

The beverage menu is loaded with various margarita varietals, fruity cocktails, and fun frozen drinks. Mi Pueblo boasts a full bar and has an extensive tequila collection; in addition to liquor, it offers wine and draft and bottled beer. A virgin cocktail section is available for those who opt to go sans alcohol, as are fresh juices, milkshakes, bottles of Mexican pop, and traditional drinks such as horchata.

And Mi Pueblo’s food menu! It’s loaded with the most delectable-sounding of Mexican dishes: burritos, tacos, enchiladas, a whole section of tostadas, tortas, quesadillas, fajitas, and more. A dessert section caps off the menu, proffering goodies such as tres leches cake, flan, and Tamales de Dulce (sweet tamales). Yum!

After careful deliberation, I chose the Enchiladas Dinner with its three enchiladas (I opted for one chicken, one cheese, and one ground beef) slathered in red sauce, plus a lime margarita on the rocks with salt.

I sipped the tasty (and massive) margarita and munched on the complimentary chips and salsa while waiting for our food to come out.

We didn’t have to wait long. My Enchiladas Dinner arrived in all of its gorgeous cheese- and sauce-slathered glory, I took a bite, and my palate exclaimed WOW!

Mi Pueblo’s enchiladas were bursting with flavor. The red sauce was superior to most other enchilada sauces I’ve tasted: more spice-infused, and more nuanced. The meat was hearty; the cheese was fresh-tasting; the rice and refried beans were solid accompaniments. All melded together to form supreme deliciousness that made my heart and my stomach very happy.

I left Taqueria Mi Pueblo that afternoon feeling full and content, the good birthday vibes sustained. I’d finally become acquainted with the restaurant I’d wanted to visit most over the last several years, and it was a beautiful thing – and a beautiful way to start a new year of life (ushering in a new phase by exploring new places? You can’t go wrong with that!).

7278 Dix St.

Detroit, MI 48209

www.mipueblorestaurant.com

429. El Taco Veloz – August 31, 2019 – Detroit, MI

August2019ElTacoVeloz1 (2)

August2019ElTacoVeloz2 (2)El Taco Veloz is, hands-down, the BEST visit of Blog Year Six of 100 Places in the D thus far.

I’m OBSESSED with this Detroit-based purveyor of Mexican cuisine after visiting it during Labor Day weekend. I’ve exclaimed over a lot of fantastic tacos on this blog, but I seriously think El Taco Veloz’s Al Pastor tacos are the BEST tacos I’ve ever eaten. They are PHENOMENAL!!!!

It’s hard to know how to categorize El Taco Veloz: is it a restaurant, or is it a food-truck-based business? The answer I’ve arrived at is that it’s both.

When you pull up to El Taco Veloz’s given location on Toledo Street in Southwest Detroit, you see a gated parking area. Mind the wholesale produce warehouse to the right of the lot and the semi-trucks rolling in and out of it, and look towards the rear, where you’ll see two food trucks parked. Those are the El Taco Veloz kitchens/ordering stations.

Behind the El Taco Veloz trucks is a building, which contains a dining area with tables where you can enjoy food ordered from the trucks.

From one of these food trucks, I ordered six Al Pastor tacos to go, which cost under $11 – an awesome deal, especially considering the supreme deliciousness of the tacos, which I was about to discover.

I’d ordered the Al Pastor tacos to share with my dad and brother, who I was on my way to visit. But I couldn’t resist eating my two tacos right away, while they were still super fresh (sorry, Dad and Bro!). So I hunkered down at a table in El Taco Veloz’s dining room to do just that.

Opening the foil-covered to-go container, I revealed the six steaming-hot, fresh-off-the-grill Al Pastor tacos. Grilled corn tortillas were loaded with marinated shredded pork topped with cilantro and diced raw onion and accompanied by sliced raw radishes, sautéed onion, a grilled jalapeño, a lime wedge, red salsa, and a creamy, spicy green sauce (alllll that goodness for under $11!).

The experience of biting into one of those Al Pastor tacos . . . the written word cannot do it justice. All I can say is, WOW!!!! The flavor explosion these babies are bringing is just exceptional. These are not only very probably the best tacos I’ve ever eaten – they may be the best thing I’ve ever eaten, period!

Driving away from El Taco Veloz after consuming two of those magical Al Pastor tacos, I literally could not stop exclaiming to myself over how amazing they were. Every 30 or so seconds during the first several minutes of that drive, there’s me declaring “Those were SO good!” to no one but me, myself, and I. That’s how enchanting these El Taco Veloz wares are: they will make you talk out loud to yourself!

Worth noting: El Taco Veloz is a cash-only establishment (and SO worth that trip to the ATM!). AND it has a second location from which it peddles its glorious goodies: a counter inside Midtown-based convenience store Marcus Market.

6170 Toledo St.

Detroit, MI 48209

417. La Noria Bistro – July 13, 2019 – Detroit, MI

July2019LaNoriaBistro1 (2)July2019LaNoriaBistro2 (2)La Noria Bistro is gracing 100 Places in the D! If I didn’t know better, I’d say this Southwest Detroit-based restaurant was tailor-made for me, serving as it does my two favorite cuisines – Italian and Mexican – under one roof. But naturally, La Noria Bistro is serving up the cheesy, spicy, flavorful goodness to more than just my party of one. 😛

I visited La Noria Bistro on a Saturday night in mid-July. July up to that point had been cray-cray-ba-nay-nay for me, so I was thrilled to step away from the madness for a new-place visit.

As restaurants serving both Mexican and Italian food aren’t common to this area, it was funny to realize that La Noria Bistro is located next to the only other Detroit restaurant I’m aware of that features a similar menu mash-up: 100 Places in the D favorite El Barzon. It was also no surprise, then, to later discover that they are owned by the same chef.

As with El Barzon, when you walk into La Noria Bistro, you feel as if you are leaving the banal outside world behind and entering a place of enchantment. From its backlit bar with rows of gleaming bottles to its brick walls etched with archways to the royal purple linens enrobing each table, La Noria Bistro’s dining room exudes an elegance that feels as welcoming as it does sophisticated.

Mexican and Italian food hold equal footing on the menu. Calamari lives alongside Chorizo con Queso Fundido. Italian-prepared veal, pasta, and seafood dishes coexist with fajitas, tacos, and enchiladas. There’s a section devoted to pizza – and another devoted to Mexican Sandwiches. SOOOO much goodness to choose from!

Would I go Italian or Mexican, Mexican or Italian during my visit? The glorious thing about dining at La Noria Bistro was that I didn’t have to choose one of the cuisines to the exclusion of the other  – I could choose BOTH! And choose both I did.

For my beverage, I went Italian, ordering a glass of red wine (though La Noria Bistro’s extensive list of signature cocktails is deeply intriguing me as I peruse it during the writing of this post). My appetizer, the tasty complimentary chips and salsa brought to the table, was Mexican by default – but I also went the Mexican route with my entrée, the Enchiladas Rojas. For dessert, you KNOW I had to order some of that Italian tiramisu!

The Enchiladas Rojas were exquisite! I opted for my dish to include cheese enchiladas as well as chicken-stuffed ones; both were richly flavorful and well complemented by a perfectly-spiced red sauce, shredded cheese, sliced avocado, and sour cream drizzle. They were accompanied by seasoned rice and black beans.

The tiramisu was exceptional, too. It represented the Italian side of La Noria Bistro’s menu well with its layers of mascarpone cream and ladyfinger cookies well-soaked in rum flavoring.

Service at La Noria Bistro was excellent; our female server was friendly, prompt, and professional.

So while I know La Noria Bistro was not custom-made for me, my visit there certainly made it feel like it was, embodying as it did the ethos that I adore in a dining experience: top-notch food, service, and ambiance served up in a way that makes the meal – and you, as the guest – feel special. PLUS, Mexican food and Italian food comingling on one menu: does it get any better than that???

5517 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48210

https://la-noria-bistro.business.site

375. Gran Castor – November 13, 2018 – Troy, MI

November2018GranCastor1 (3)November2018GranCastor2 (2)November2018GranCastor3 (2)Gran Castor: you WOW’ed me!

It’s always thrilling to dine at a new-to-me restaurant I’ve been looking forward to trying and have it exceed my expectations. That’s what Gran Castor, the latest opening by the Union Joints restaurant group (which also owns local faves the Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage, Honcho, and Fenton Fire Hall) did when I visited it on a Tuesday evening several weeks ago.

Remember what restaurant was previously located at the intersection of Big Beaver and Rochester roads in Troy? That’s right: a Hooters. Now the building that housed that notorious chain-franchise purveyor of wings is Gran Castor, the restaurant/coffee bar with a gorgeous aesthetic and delectable cuisine.

Check out the above photos of Gran Castor’s dining area, complete with pleasing pops of color, mod Southwestern vibes, cozy seating areas, and eye-catching fireplace-in-the-round. Is it not STUNNING? I immediately felt a boost of happiness when I settled into that bright, beautiful, welcoming space for an after-work dinner with a friend.

Gran Castor’s food menu reminds me of that of one of its sister restaurants, Honcho of Clarkston. While the overall vibe of the cuisine is Latin, ingredients of Asian origin are prevalent in dishes such as fried chicken tacos with a “spicy soy fish sauce glaze” and a rice bowl including “kimchi house pickled jalapeño and carrots.”

It becomes even more apparent what a fusion menu Gran Castor’s is when you check out the pizza section and see how many traditionally Latin ingredients are included in the offerings there: see the Papas y Chorizo pizza with its chorizo sausage, mole rojo, and salsa criolla and The Mallmann with its chimichurri sauce and queso fresco.

For my entrée, I went with a relatively un-fusion-y offering: the Gran Castor Burrito stuffed with pulled pork. With its tender meat, smoked cheddar cheese, black beans, cactus pico, lettuce, and queso sauce, plus sides of refried beans and cilantro-lime rice, it was incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

I saved half of the large-and-in-charge Gran Castor Burrito to take home and looked toward the dessert menu. My friend and I were psyched to see that as at Honcho, that menu included fresh-fried mini donuts with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. We opted for an order to share.

If I’m remembering correctly, eight donuts came standard with that dessert, and our server was kind enough to throw in a few more. These donuts were AMAZING: freshly fried, pillowy-soft-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside decadence – especially when dipped in the rich chocolate and caramel sauces.

Our awesome server went above and beyond in offering us a top-notch dining experience, throwing in a sample of Gran Castor’s house-made soft serve for each of us, as well, and WOW – my mind and taste buds were BLOWN by how YUM that stuff was. The twisty soft serve included the cinnamony Mexican Dark Chocolate flavor and the wonderfully nuanced Vanilla-Chamomile. I loved, loved, LOVED both.

And I loved Gran Castor. From its striking interior and delicious cuisine to its stand-out service, it offered a memorable dining experience that had me super enthused about the prospect of a repeat visit (I NEED more of that soft-serve in my life!).

2950 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

www.grancastor.com

335. El Barzon – June 12, 2018 – Detroit, MI

June2018ElBarzon4 (2)June2018ElBarzon1 (2)June2018ElBarzon2 (2)Behold, my latest obsession: El Barzon restaurant of Detroit!

Of course this restaurant that serves both Italian and Mexican dishes would pique my interest. How could I go wrong by visiting a place that embraces two of my favorite cuisines – cuisines both centered around the bewitching culinary trifecta of Spice, Sauce, and Cheese? I was immediately enamored with the concept.

I was immediately enamored with El Barzon’s ambiance as well when, on a Tuesday night two weeks ago, I pulled up to the restaurant on Junction Street in Southwest Detroit, this bright beacon with its neat red-brick exterior and abundance of vibrant flowers crammed in window boxes and perched atop the patio wall. I was even more enthused when I saw that the restaurant had its own parking lot to the rear of it (as I’ve previously mentioned on this blog ad nauseam, free lot parking in Detroit is LIFE to me, Ms. Parallel-Parking Phobic).

My friend who accompanied me to El Barzon and I entered the restaurant through the rear entrance into its semi-open-air covered patio. I was thrilled to sit on that patio with its gurgling waterfall, bar back-lit with pink and purple lighting, and tables bedecked with vases of fresh red roses.

Upon being greeted and led to a table, a basket of tortilla chips with two different kinds of salsas was placed before us – illustrating that at least in the complimentary-appetizer sense, El Barzon was promoting Mexican cuisine over Italian. Fine by me – I’m not one to refuse endless chips and salsa!

The menu was a treasure trove of delectable choices. Between both the Italian and Mexican choices, my brain was about to explode in a frenzy of indecision: should I order veal? or enchiladas? or lasagna? Italian or Mexican – Mexican or Italian???

In the end, I went with my gut instinct, and that instinct said to go with Mexican: specifically the steak-filled Enchiladas de Mole Poblano. Enchiladas have never been one to lead me astray.

Upon ordering the enchiladas, our server insisted that I sample the Mole Poblano first to ensure I liked it. Though I’d not tasted the traditional Mexican sauce prior to my visit to El Barzon, I assured him I was confident I would, as I knew it incorporated chocolate, dried chili peppers, and spices such as cinnamon – all ingredients I adored. But he persisted in advising I try the sauce first, and being one who gives high regard to servers’ opinions (I was in their shoes once myself, after all), I assented.

Sampling that Mole Poblano sauce confirmed what I’d suspected: it was rich, flavorful, totally-up-my-alley deliciousness! I could also grasp how it might not suit everyone’s preferences, especially those who are not into richly spiced items or incorporating chocolate into savory dishes.

And the enchiladas themselves! They were wonderful with their tender steak and doused in that decadent mole sauce and topped with sour cream, shredded cheese, and sliced avocado. It’s safe to say that I am steadfastly a Enchiladas de Mole Poblano enthusiast after the experience of consuming El Barzon’s.

While I’d waited for those delectable enchiladas, I’d sipped on one of the restaurant’s signature margaritas, the Jamaica, which was perfect with what the menu refers to as “hibiscus-infused tequila” and a “homemade citrus agave blend” along with triple sec and a salted rim. I’d opted to again defer to the Mexican side of the menu with this drink choice – though I did also peruse El Barzon’s extensive and impressive wine menu.

The magical ambiance and supreme food and drink were enough to label El Barzon a winner in my book; the top-notch service qualified it as a veritable champion. The gentleman who waited on us offered the epitome of prompt, pleasant, professional service, as did the other staff members who we interacted with. Their graceful action added to the elegance of the place.

The restaurant was also wonderfully clean. The ladies’ restroom at the time of my visit was so sparkling that I found myself musing “You could eat off of this restroom floor!” – an assessment wholly atypical of my usual assertion around public restrooms, which in general threaten to trigger my childhood germ phobia more often than not.

As I’ve illustrated here, I cannot rave enough about this place, the beautiful El Barzon! I could keep waxing on about it indefinitely, so let me wrap it up by simply asserting this: it’s a definite gem of the Detroit restaurant scene, and you should definitely visit it if you at all feel compelled to.

3710 Junction St.

Detroit, MI 48210

www.elbarzonrestaurant.com

328. Dos Locos Tacos – May 17, 2018 – Hamtramck, MI

May2018DosLocosTacos1 (2)May2018DosLocosTacos2 (2)May2018DosLocosTacos3 (2)This is a post about a Mexican restaurant housed inside of a former hamburger joint in a city known for its Polish and Middle Eastern cuisine. Say hello to Dos Locos Tacos!

The tiny restaurant perched at the corner of Joseph Campau Avenue and Caniff Street in Hamtramck brandishes red-lettered “Hamburgers” signage above its door, but neon lights in the window flaunt its real name, complete with a logo of a taco enveloped by a heart.

That taco enveloped by a heart could be tattooed on my soul, I love Mexican food so much! While I’d initially planned to check out a new-to-me Middle Eastern restaurant while in Hamtramck last week, when I spied the recently-opened Dos Locos Tacos among the Yelp results for the area, I knew I and my similarly-taco-obsessed friend who was meeting me in Hamtramck had to go there.

Thusly, we found ourselves in this tiny hipster-retro diner on a Thursday night, dunking perfectly crunchy chips into enticingly garlicky guacamole and awaiting the corn-tortilla-clad centerpieces of our culinary hearts.

In perusing Dos Locos Tacos’ menu, I noticed that it offers tamales, quesadillas, and burritos (each taco variety offered can be upgraded to a burrito) in addition to its namesake item. I decided pretty quickly that in addition to the aforementioned shared chips and guacamole, I would order two tacos: one beef chorizo and the other carne asada (because red meat is LIIIFE).

Both tacos were tasty, but the carne asada one stole my heart. Wow, was that one rich in flavor with its tender shredded steak, crumbly cotija cheese, and vibrantly fresh cilantro! I could’ve eaten a platterful of those.

Open at 3 p.m. daily and closing late (at midnight Sundays through Wednesdays and 4 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays), Dos Locos Tacos is an on-point option for a late lunch, dinner, or post-bar-crawling grub session (which begs the question: is there ever a time of day when tacos are not an on-point option? I think not.).

10337 Joseph Campau Ave.

Hamtramck, MI 48212

www.doslocostacos.com

324. Burrito Mundo – May 3, 2018 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

May2018BurritoMundo2 (2)May2018BurritoMundo (3)Mexican food is high up there on my List of Things that Bring me Joy (right there with baseball games at Comerica Park and that BOMB ice cream sandwich I enjoyed a few weeks ago at Holy Moly Donut Shop – yep, still thinking about that). So when I learned that Burrito Mundo in Grosse Pointe Woods was a fast-casual Mexican joint where I could build my own burrito, of course I was psyched to visit it! I love me some autonomy when crafting my Mexican meals.

BTW, if you’re wondering why there’s what looks like an unsupervised child in the above-shown photo of Burrito Mundo, worry not: that kid is the baby of a friend who accompanied me to the restaurant. This was his first foray out with us, and we wanted to photo-document it. We’re introducing him to the joys of restaurant-exploration while he’s young (if Auntie Jackie has anything to do with it, this kid is gonna know every hot brunch spot in the D by the time he’s three! 🙂 ).

Back to Burrito Mundo and the crafting of the Mexican meals: this place is like a mecca for burrito building, my friends. While the restaurant’s menu is populated with a variety of intriguing signature burritos (plus tacos, quesadillas, and entrée salads), I knew I had to try my hand at creating my own. The dizzying array of filling choices made it too fun a prospect to ignore.

To start, Burrito Mundo allows you to choose from various meat (and meat-substitute) fillings for your burrito base: ground beef, steak, chicken, pulled pork, shrimp, mahi mahi, tofu, and vegetables.

Then you get to your filling side-kicks. You see all the ingredients you’d expect: tomato, avocado, onion, rice, sour cream, cilantro, beans, guacamole, tortilla strips, jalapeños (both roasted and pickled varieties), cheese, etc. – plus two that are a bit more surprising: potatoes and zucchini/squash. And there are seven kinds of salsa to choose from at varying heat levels, from mild to wild.

To finish, you can opt to have your burrito doused in queso fundido cheese sauce or its tortilla grilled to crispy perfection – or to nix the tortilla entirely, à la Burrito Mundo’s “Ghost” style. The first two options are an upcharge, as is any ingredient that isn’t your standard meat-filling base (steak, shrimp, and mahi are $1.99 extra, but everything else is standard in that category) or tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, rice, romaine, or salsa. It’s .79 cents to add a cheese, avocado, or guacamole to your burrito, while the remaining ingredients are .29 cents each. In other words, these build-your-own burritos with their base price of $5.29 can get pricey if you aren’t intentional.

But let’s face it, these burritos aren’t Lamborghini-pricey; they’re a reasonable splurge. My pulled pork burrito with its rice, tomato, cilantro, pinto beans, onion, roasted jalapeños, tortilla strips, queso fundido, and roasted tomatillo chipotle salsa was around $8.00.

And eight dollars turned out to be a reasonable price for the massive burrito I was given, which could easily be made into two meals. It was delicious, with tender pulled pork and fresh, flavorful ingredients.

The only thing I would change for my next round of Burrito Mundo burrito-making would be to ask for more salsa and queso fundido on the side, because once they were mixed in with all of the other ingredients in the large-and-in-charge burrito, they didn’t cover much ground (and I like a LOT of sauce, to boot). I’d also add guacamole, because guacamole is LIFE and well-worth the additional .79-cent upcharge.

I’m going to consider this first run to Burrito Mundo a dress rehearsal. As I’m always looking for an excuse to nosh on Mexican food, I’ll consider the burrito-refining process my rationale for a revisit.

19459 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.burritomundo.com

298. El Camino – December 20, 2017 – Keego Harbor, MI

December2017ElCamino1 (2)December2017ElCamino3 (4)December2017ElCamino4 (3)Keego Harbor is represented on 100 Places in the D! The new-to-the-blog city is home to El Camino, a Mexican joint that opened earlier this year. And you know I was psyched to check it out because I ADORE Mexican food to the jillionth degree (the cheese, the spice, the vibrancy of flavor – ¡sí, sí, and sí!).

Walking into the restaurant for lunch on Wednesday, I was immediately taken with its whimsically eclectic decor. Where else do you see wicker lighting fixtures, red accent walls, gilded mirrors, mini cacti, and avocado chairs (yes, avocado chairs: lime-green seats studded with an image of a halved avocado) all comingling? I was even more thrilled, of course, to discover the deliciousness of the food and drink.

The Not Cho Mojito is a refreshing riff on a mojito: it’s less sweet, infused with tequila rather than rum, and steeped with cilantro instead of mint. That little guy goes down easy, as does the chips and salsa sampler, which was AMAZING. The fresh tortilla chips are thick, crispy, grease-saturated little triangles of heaven – especially when dipped into the pico de gallo, salsa verde, and charred tomato-pineapple salsa. I especially enjoyed the salsa verde with its zesty lime flavor – a pleasant surprise for me, as I’m generally not a big fan of the green sauce.

And the tacos: they were glorious flavor bombs, tender meat sprinkled with Cotija cheese and nestled in pillowy corn tortillas. I ordered the Carne Asada with grilled steak and the Al Pastor with shredded, slow-roasted pork and grilled pineapple. I appreciated how liberally filled they were and how fresh and flavorful they tasted. They were an apt reminder that Mexican food is LIFE – not that I needed a reminder of that, of course, but I’ll take it!

2807 Orchard Lake Rd.

Keego Harbor, MI 48320

www.elcamino.cool

291. Tamaleria Nuevo Leon – November 11, 2017 – Detroit, MI

November2017Tamaleria1 (2)November2017Tamaleria2November2017Tamaleria3 (2)I’m so excited to bring you today’s post on Tamaleria Nuevo Leon, a tamale joint in Detroit!

This carryout restaurant is a cash-only establishment on Vernor Highway in Mexicantown. It’s a place I’ve referenced wanting to visit in a few of my recent posts, and this past weekend, I finally made it down there for some sweet, sweet tamale goodness.

You walk in and place your order at a counter. Tamales can be ordered by the dozen, half-dozen, and individually. The larger the order size for one variety of tamale that you order, the better the discount. For instance, I decided on a dozen tamales – one-half dozen pork with jalapeños and one-half dozen cheese with jalapeños – which cost me $14 before tax (as it’s $7 per each half-dozen variety of tamales). But if I had gotten all dozen tamales as pork, they would’ve only been $11. Since I wanted to try two different kinds, I was willing to pay a few extra dollars on this visit. And I still received a discount with the half-dozen orders versus ordering tamales individually, as single tamales are $1.50 each.

I LOVE Mexican food, so I was super excited to leave Tamaleria Nuevo Leon with two warm bundles of those little babies nestled in their corn husks. I finally sat down to lunch an hour-plus later, ravenous with hunger and anticipation.

My appetite was quickly sated, and I was not disappointed. Man, are these tamales melt-in-your-mouth delicious! If I had to pick a favorite, I would go with the pork ones with their meaty, spicy filling, but the cheese ones are certainly good, too. I ate eight tamales throughout the first day of getting them – not a difficult feat, as they are smaller than some tamales you will find in restaurants – more long and narrow.

If you love a good tamale, you’ve got to check out this place. Tamaleria Nuevo Leon is yet another Mexicantown gem!

2669 Vernor Hwy.

Detroit, MI 48216