Tag Archives: Mexican

El Meson

1 May

A colleague and I have decided to try a new restaurant around our office space once a month. After working there for several years, I was shocked to see all the random places I have not been. Hoping to cure that over the next few months, we began with El Meson.

In the quite large restaurant, there is more than meets the eye of the bright exterior Mexican restaurant. Set up to simulate an outdoor garden in decor, the colors are bright and bold. To the right of the main dining area is more dining, but to the left is this dark, mysterious night club atmosphere. Open late, I have to imagine that a club atmosphere is exactly what it turns into. But on a lunch hour, we weren’t interested in those details. We came hungry for some chips and Mexican flavors.

I opted for a chimichanga as it had been quite a while since the chimi and I engaged with one another. What I received was a full plate of food, all that was good but not the best thing I ever ate. The beans and rice were simple, mild in any flavor profile. The main component, the chimi, was also average. I had expected something a bit different as most chimi’s are wrapped up tight and are full of filling. This was wrapped with open ends, stuffed only with a mild and slightly dry chicken filling. The edges were all crispy due to the frying, but it wasn’t heavy in oil taste or anything like that. Just an average meal. Covering the chimi, the classic white cheese sauce was the highlight of the meal for me. Basic quest is always good in my book – very rarely will I turn on a cheese.

It took quite a while to order our food, though our server was pleasant and engaging. That day, El Meson filled my Mexican craving though I would have liked a bit more flavor throughout. My colleagues enjoyed their meal, so maybe I just need to break up with the chimichanga once in for all.

El Meson * 8920 wesleyan road * indianapolis, 46268 * 317.872.4600

La Hacienda

27 Feb

We all know that you shouldn’t go grocery shopping when hungry. With that in mind, hubs and I made our way to La Hacienda for a quick bite to settle our stomachs before we shopped the shelves of food. Out of all the Mexican restaurants in the area, we had never been here. Two of our friends make this their go-to Mexican restaurant, so we decided to give it a go. I’m sure I’m late to the table as I know this is a chain and all, but alas, we stepped into the colorful restaurant around 2:00 on a Sunday with images of queso and chips dancing in our head.s

After quickly being seated, greeted and our drink orders in, we placed our orders. Of course, we started off with some queso and tortilla chips. The death of me. I could keep eating and eating these things – which I do. I liked the queso, but it was because it was exactly what I expected out of the classic Mexican melted cheese. Nothing fancy, but it hit the spot. I also liked the fresh taste of the salsa. Quickly after we polished that off, our entrees showed up.

We both ordered some combination meals and the portions were quite large. I ordered number 22 (got to love numbered combos – do they show up anywhere else than Mexican restaurant menus?) – a combination that included a taco, tostaguac and chili relleno – with chicken. I had no idea what a tostaguac was, so I was looking forward to the surprise I had in store. The taco was crispy shelled, with marinated chicken all stuffed inside. The chicken was tender, having sat in a spicy sauce, and slightly messy. But, I really liked the cumin and chili spices I was getting with every bite. The shredded cheese and iceberg lettuce freshened up the taste, completing the flavors that I craved. The tostaguac, as I discovered, was a tostada with guacamole. I had an ‘a-ha’ moment – it seemed like a no brainer. But, it was exactly the same flavors of the taco with an added spoonful of guacamole. It was creamy, but I would have preferred more cilantro and spice to compliment it. I also prefer mine to be a bit more chunky in texture – I guess I could have gone without it. The biggest surprise for me was the chili relleno. Normally, I receive a whole fried poblano stuffed with creamy goodness. Instead, this was an odd globe of similar flavors. It had an exterior of crispness, but not the typical fried shell. Inside, more of a tamale texture of cheese and diced pieces of chilis. It wasn’t what I was looking for in regards to flavor, texture and design; I probably wouldn’t order it again. But I did like the other portions – even if I only ate about 1/3 of my plate.

La Hacienda fit what I was looking for. Hubs got a red enchilada sauce plate of a few different things – of course all tasting similar because of the red sauce that was ladled all over it. He wasn’t expecting that either, so a few more surprises I guess. The decor was bright – brightly painted chairs and booth boards – and the service was fast and efficient. Overall, a good solid Mexican food experience. It will satisfy the craving when I’m looking for something close to home as it is one of the better ‘cheap’ Mexican places in the area.

La Hacienda * 12237 N. Meridian * Carmel, 46032 * 317.566.9563

La Hacienda Mexican on Urbanspoon

Revolucion

15 Jul

A dear friend of mine wanted to check out White Rabbit Cabaret for her birthday, so we found ourselves at Revolucion for drinks and Mexican fare prior to the show.  I’m always game for Mexican; love the creamy guacamole, the spicy peppers and crisp tortilla chips.  And nachos – let’s not even go there – my love is too extreme.  From authentic to fully Americanized, I just love the food.  Though the restaurant was new, I had several reasons to check it out.  1) Friend’s birthday; 2) I just won a gift certificate compliments of IndySpectator and 3) it was new and I was hearing good things.

I have to admit, the whole experience was full of surprises.  When we walked in at 8pm, I expected it to be busy.  Besides two other tables, we were the only people in the restaurant.  With a large group (10) , the birthday girl even arrived early to ensure we would be able to grab a table.  However, we had nothing to worry about.  The next surprise was how casual it was.  Let me rephrase, I wasn’t surprised it was a casual environment, but that it was a casual process.  The menus on the tables displayed limited items to order and you were instructed to order at the bar.   My surprise went to confusion, because we ended up having a server throughout the night.  I’m not complaining, I’m thinking it was because we had a large group and that no one was really there.   Then again, as the restaurant/bar became more busy throughout the night, I noticed others were being served too.

I mentioned the menu was limited, but once again, not a complaint.  I like when restaurants focus on a few things and make them really great, so I was anticipating something delicious.  I began by ordering a raspberry margarita to sip on while sharing some chips and guacamole with the group.  The margarita was okay – I couldn’t really taste tequila only the raspberry flavor.  This is good for some people, just depends on your taste preference.  Birthday girl ordered the chili margarita, which we were informed was also the most popular.  There was a hint of chili in the back of your throat, but I did really anticipate more out of this.  After all, the rim and floating pepper made me think it was going to be a fire, but it was subtle smokey.

Though I wasn’t overally impressed with the margaritas, they did pair well with the salty homemade tortilla chips.  They were thin, crisp and still warm out of the fryer.  These were extremely salty, maybe even on the edge of too salty, but still great.  The guacamole was creamy and light in cilantro flavor (I like mine to be heavy on the herb).  I would have liked it to be a bit more chunky and flavorful, but I seemed to be the only person at the table who thought this way.

Wanting to try something else before we brought on the tacos, we tried to order the sausage roll.  Described as being made with a puff pastry, I was intrigued because I don’t normally see puff pastry at a Mexican restaurant.  But I was informed they were out, so hubs and I settled on splitting the quesadilla instead.  Simple ingredients for sure, two corn tortillas created the base for the cheese quesadilla.  It seemed to be your basic queso blanco (perfect for melting) between two heavily seasoned tortilla that were sandwiched on a griddle.  The only spice factor was a mild sauce that was also encased between the tortillas.  It could have had more of a spice factor, but I really enjoyed plucking the cilantro stem and layering the salsa on top of it to give it more flavor.  Spicy, not at all, but still enjoyable (hubs really liked it.)

For our meals, the table ordered pretty much every taco on the menu.  We had opted for the fish tacos and the pork.  I nibbled on hubs pork and thought it had great flavor.  Once again, not spicy by any means with my palate, but really fantastic and simple.  It was tender and the double corn tortillas were necessary as they soaked up the juice.  It was served with red salsa and some raw white onion.  Hubs wanted more besides the onions, salsa and meat as he originally thought they’d be more than street taco style.  Overall, he also thought it was dry.  With my mouth full, I nodded as I could see why he would think that – the tortillas were really doing a great job at soaking up the flavor.  However, the meat really was tender and delicious in my opinion – great pulled pork.

My fish tacos were fantastic.  They had a great seasoning (I would even be inclined to say rub) to them and they were crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and flaking perfectly.  It was an abundant amount of tilapia – no skimping on these tacos – that was cooked well.  Sliced cabbage was served on top to add a little more crispness and really lighten the overall taco.   A fruit salsa, consisting mostly of mango, cilantro and red pepper was the perfect accompaniment.  Next time, I think I would ask for this with chips and salsa – it was extremely fresh in flavors and gave the perfect sweetness to the fish.  Each order consisted of two street style tacos – for me, the perfect amount for dinner (and yes, I acknowledge we had chips & guac plus splitting the quesadilla).

Overall thought, it is a great place to grab a drink and some street food tacos.  However, I don’t know if I would make the drive from my home to Fountain Square just for the restaurant.  I would need to be in the area to give it another go, but it was good solid food with great service.  Plus, there is a Tiki bar out back for those perfect sunny days when you want a margarita and sunshine.  If I lived in the area, I could see myself relaxing there during a week night or mingling with friends on the weekend.

Revolucion * 1132 Prospect Street * Indy, 46203 * 317.423.9490

Revolucion on Urbanspoon

Walt Disney World Dining, Part I

30 Jun

Hubs and I made our way to Walt Disney World this past May with two of our closest friends.  I’m a huge fan of The Mouse and his World, so getting their once a year is on the schedule.  And while we are there, eating all the great food is a priority as well.  We tried a few new things while we are there and a few favorites – thought I’d share the experience with all of you.

Epcot

Germany’s Biergarten – a buffet of meat and pretzels and then some.  You can begin with the salad buffet, which doesn’t just include your basic salad building ingredients, but also pate and pretzel croutons.  Creamy macaroni salads and beet salad, there is a variety for any tastebud.  The main courses include a variety of sausage (all spiced accordingly that I find to be decent for a buffet in this type of atmosphere), schnitzel with brown gravy, salmon with dill and lemon slices, meatballs (these may be one of my faves on the buffet, tender and well seasoned), spaetzle (with or without cheese!) and pork tenderloin with 7 different options of chutney or mustards to choose from as a topping (I selected spicy mustard, cinnamon applesauce and apricot chutney).  The best part of it all – the desserts: apple strudel (all delicious with cinnamon love and a whipped topping), bread pudding, German chocolate cake, German cheesecake and so much more.  Pending on how much you want to stuff in your stomach, the price can be good or pricey (approximately $28 for lunch and around $35 for dinner).  But if you love German food like hubs and I, you may want to give it a go.  The ambiance is similar to a beer garden, with entertainment and German servers.  One thing to not miss, grabbing a pretzel and beer from the vendor outside of the restaurant – always a good bet.

United Kingdom’s Rose & Crown Pub – the menu is full of traditional English fare – from bangers & mash, corned beef sandwich and sheppard’s pie, there are many options to satisfy your taste buds.  Not to mention the full bar available to quench your thirst.  This is a popular establishment, so make reservations early if you can.  Or, do what we did, and grab fish and chips from the vendor outside.  It is all they sell, but it is the most popular item they sell so it is self explanatory.  Crisp and perfectly fried, it is always a great entree that is a go to for me in Epcot.

Magic Kingdom

Tortuga Tavern – right outside of the Pirates of the Carribean ride, there is a quick-service restaurant for burritos and tacos.  The thing I like about this place is the toppings bar – it makes the casual food customizable.  Surprisingly, the tortilla is quite big and stuffed black beans, rice and chicken.  Then you top it with tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, salsa and whatever you would like.  A quick bite that is satisfying, but I’m not going to compare this to other Mexican burritos.  It is overpriced for quality, but I expected this to be ‘park food,’ and I got exactly what I thought I would get.  But, it was a good first try and change from the frozen hamburgers or hot dogs offered at other quick-service restaurants.

Hollywood Studios

Sci-Fi Dine In Theatre – I have to admit, I really like this place because of the atmosphere.  It is set like you are at an outdoor movie theatre, sitting in ‘cars’ while watching ‘B’ rated science fiction, complete with servers on skates.  The food can be hit or miss though.  This time around, hubs and I shared an order of onion rings, perfectly salty and crisp.  Hubs ordered the corned beef sandwich which was a very large portion.  A lot of corned beef with good flavor, served with creamy thousand island dressing on rye bread.  I don’t normally enjoy rye bread, but it was good and I wished that I had ordered his (maybe next time).  I ordered the steak salad – was surprised to see it as a wedge (maybe I didn’t read the description clearly) and to see that my steak was actually cooked to what I ordered.  The steak was served warm and had apparent grill marks (which you may be able to see in the photo), though I’m not quite sure it was ‘grilled’.  It was satisfying, but of course, I’ve had better steak salads.

50’s Prime Time Cafe – though I haven’t eaten at all the restaurants in Hollywood Studios, this is my favorite.  Why?  Fried chicken.  I don’t know why, bu I just love the fried chicken.  So much, I have a hard time ordering anything else on the menu.  It is always crisp and perfectly fried, extremely tender and juicy on the inside just like it should be.  Plus, you get a ton of chicken – a breast, thigh, wing and drumstick.  I enjoy the green beans more than the collard greens, so I always swap them out as an accompaniment to the mashed potatoes and gravy.

Animal Kingdom

Yak & Yeti – a perfect place to cool down as the AK seems to be the hottest park to me.  We were looking for something not too filling so we opted for something to share.  We settled on a few appetizers including fried rice, egg rolls and the dim sum for two.  Hubs could NOT stop raving about how much he loved it all and I do have to agree.  The fried rice was great, buttery but not enough to linger on your tongue to make it overwhelming.  Egg rolls were crisp on the outside and filled with a pork and veggie filling – I loved that it wasn’t heavy with grease.  The dim sum for two appetizer was really good – lots of options that left hubs and I wanting more.  It included pork pot stickers, Cha Su Bao (barbecued pork buns), Shrimp Siu Mai and Pork Siu Mai.  These were all steamed on a banana leaf and served with a soy lime dipping sauce.  The potstickers were great, as were the shrimp siu mai and pork siu mai – we thought it was mean to provide three of each item because it left us bargaining for the last piece.  Our least favorite was the pork buns, but they were still very good.

This is a quite delayed post due to work and all that jazz, but things are calming down.  I have a few extra’s from the trip as well – to be posted soon!  Thanks for bearing with me and continuing on the nom nom journey!