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Archive for the ‘Mexican/Tex-Mex’ Category

Three Words: Caldo de Res

In Mexican/Tex-Mex, San Antonio on October 1, 2011 at 3:14 am

Olivia’s Mexican Restaurant, located just south-east of downtown at 801 Vanderbilt Street, is small, very small. I’m sure the average visitor, maybe even the average local, will pass by Olivia’s without even noticing it. Even if it’s noticed, I’d guess it would be brushed off as something insignificant. As my regular readers already know, these are the places I often come to consider special.

My first taste from Olivia’s came from a friend bringing to church some of their fine breakfast tacos. On Sunday mornings when we bring tacos, Olivia’s has become our go-to restaurant. It’s in our immediate community, it’s family-run, and it’s really good.

In addition to breakfast tacos, Olivia’s makes some tasty lunch dishes.

Very seldom do I order gorditas. However, as a little appetizer, I decided to try out a chicken gordita. Gorditas are by definition a deep-fried pocket of cornmeal dough usually filled with picadillo (beef), chicken, or bean and cheese. As you can see in the picture above, the chicken gordita came with a little lettuce, tomato, and cheese. There was just enough toppings to complement the moist, shredded chicken inside. It was the perfect start before an extremely delightful food experience. Three words: caldo de res. Oh my goodness, it was so good.

Recommended by one of the cooks, this dish was so enjoyable I could barely wait to share it with all my readers. Caldo de res, which is a Mexican beef soup, is filled with all kinds of vegetables like corn, cabbage, carrots, celery, and zucchini. Along with all the various vegetables is the thinly sliced shanks and beef still attached to the bone. The meat and vegetables together bath in a delicious and flavorful broth.

This medium portion costs only $4.99!

I’m so glad I was introduced to caldo de res. I’m just sad it took so long for me to discover it. I can’t wait for the weather to one day turn cold, because I’m going to enjoy eating and sharing this dish with friends and family who come to visit during the holidays.

If you decide to give Olivia’s a shot, just know it’s closed on Mondays and usually opens at 6:00am and closes at 2:30pm.

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Mexican Food At Its Finest in Southtown

In Mexican/Tex-Mex, San Antonio, Top Five Mexican/Tex-Mex on July 2, 2011 at 1:28 pm

“Does the reader pick the book or does the book pick the reader?” I could ask the same type of question about restaurants. Does the foodie pick the restaurant or does the restaurant pick the foodie? It seems like every time I go to First Friday in Southtown, I find myself at Tito’s Restaurant, which I’m convinced, continues to pick me. Side note: I promise to branch out and not do another Mexican food review until I’ve written about two other types of cuisine. Not only is it in my favorite part of city, but it has some delicious Mexican cuisine and is in my top five Mexican food restaurants (as of right now). Apparently, they can make some killer fajitas (the beef fajitas I tasted were tender and impressive), but I keep coming back for their enchiladas.

I really enjoy variety so I ordered the Trio Especial. I chose enchilada verdes (chicken filled and topped with green tomatillo sauce and sour cream), cilantro cream enchilada (chicken filled and topped with cream sauce and fresh cilantro), and a poblano enchilada (also chicken filled and topped with a poblano cream sauce).

Trio Especial

Honestly, I couldn’t taste a whole lot of difference between the three different types of creamy chicken enchiladas, but I still enjoyed them. The chicken inside was really well done. It was moist and not overly seasoned so that the natural chicken flavor complemented very well the creamy sauces. The rice and beans were really tasty as were the chips and salsa (just a little kick of spice). What helped me wash this all down was a Mango Titorita (House Margarita). The Titorita also comes in peach and stawberry flavors.  I was tempted to try the Fresh Agave Margarita, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay $9. They also offer a decent selection of draft beers: Victoria, Dos XX, Modelo Especial, Tecate Light, Negra Modelo, and Sam Adams (seasonal).

Mango Titorita (House Margarita)

So, to all my friends, if you’re ever at First Friday, walk on past Rosario’s and instead give Tito’s Mexican Restaurant a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed even if they oddly ask you to seat yourself while being extremely crowded on First Friday. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

Patty’s Taco House

In Mexican/Tex-Mex, San Antonio, Top Five Mexican/Tex-Mex on June 21, 2011 at 11:28 pm

For some time I kept hearing about this place called Patty’s Taco House just south-east of downtown. A good friend of mine, whose opinion I greatly respect about food, describes the mini-puffy taco plate with an enchilada as “guuuud.” This finally motivated me to give this place a shot.

Located just south-east of downtown at 2422 S Hackberry

However, I decided to go with the regular puffy taco plate that comes with two tacos, rice, and refried beans. I ordered one chicken and one beef. My initial impression wasn’t good. I thought the shredded chicken was lacking both in moisture and in taste. The beef one, on the other hand, was really good. What surprised me was the refried beans and rice. Usually sides are an after-thought for me. The green salsa, which was good (even though it wasn’t spicy at all!), made the rice and beans even better. The refried beans had a perfect consistency and great flavor.

Puffy Taco Plate

While Patty’s didn’t blow me away, I do intend to go back with my friend and try their enchiladas. The overal atmosphere was okay, but I was really pleased with the customer service. While I still favor Taco Haven Gevers over Patty’s, my friend and I will just have to agree to disagree on which one is better. If it comes down to enchiladas, Patty’s might just win that one! However, I think Taco Haven will win when it comes to quesadillas, beef short ribs, brisket tacos, breakfast tacos, ranchero beans, carne con papas,  etc., etc., etc. 🙂 I can already hear her booing me.

I guess I liked it enough to clean my plate!

Taco Haven Gevers: best Mexican food in San Antonio and it’s on the south side!

In Mexican/Tex-Mex, San Antonio, Top Five Mexican/Tex-Mex on May 22, 2011 at 6:45 pm

One thing San Antonio is well-known for is its Mexican food. Mexican food restaurants abound and a lot of them are really good, but I don’t care about good Mexican food. I care about great Mexican food that is delicious and affordable in a casual, family setting. Fancy ambiance doesn’t impress me. I prefer small parking lots, a mostly Hispanic clientele (I love the fact that I’m usually the only Anglo at Taco Haven Gevers), and a friendly wait staff (and having difficulty communicating sometimes in English is always a plus and a good sign!)

Luckily, I live right down the road from what I consider San Antonio’s #1 Mexican food restaurant: Taco Haven Gevers (tacohaven.info) (3019 South Gevers), which I prefer over the other Taco Haven (1032 South Presa). The main thing I have against the South Presa Taco Haven is they charged me for chips and hot sauce and the one on Gevers doesn’t charge.

Taco Haven Gevers is a small, family-oriented restaurant with wait staff that always welcomes you, especially their regulars. They have a variety of homemade tortillas, great tacos, and house specialties. My absolute favorite dish is one of their Thursday specials: beef short ribs. This dish is so fantastic that other customers come on Thursday just to order it as well. Other than this special, I recommend their barbacoa taco, torres special taco, and the carne asado taco with guacamole. In summary, it’s all good!