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Archive | December 4th, 2009

Mi Pueblo: Mexican Home-Cooking

Mi Pueblo: Mexican Home-Cooking

MiPueblo2Readers and friends can be the best sources for restaurant recommendations. There are countless places I’ve passed by without a second thought until someone has raved about a particular dish or a two. Such was the case with Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant, a family-owned place on Nacogdoches Road near O’Connor.

A fellow member of my bell choir insisted it was the real deal, and he kept talking in terms I could understand. When he said it was like having Patty’s Tacos on the northeast side, I was sold.

So, I ventured in. And I went back. And I went back again and again. On most of those trips, the timing was a little off. I wanted a snack in mid-afternoon or I wanted dinner after 8 p.m.

Food: 3.5
Service: 3.0
Value: 4.5

Rating scale:
5: Extraordinary
4: Excellent
3: Good
2: Fair
1: Poor

I’m saying this because the traffic was light each time – certainly nothing as busy as the swarms at Patty’s – and the service quick and efficient. Who knows what a rush of people could do, but I urge you to rush there.

That’s because the food tastes like something out of a family kitchen. The handmade corn tortillas, just a little thicker than those pressed flat, have a freshness about them that makes you want to squeeze a touch of lime on them. The salsa has its own distinctive edge from a touch of cilantro that keeps you reaching for more chips.

The taco al pastor, with a definite pineapple tang, was so good that I couldn’t set it down after the first bite. In fact, I had most of it eaten before the waiter could bring around the cilantro and onion meant to garnish it. No problem; I just used it to crown the vibrant, crunchy chalupa and to garnish the pork-filled red tamal.

MiPueblo1The caldo de res arrived with a pile of bones in the bowl. That may seem odd to some, but each was filled with so much marrow that I found myself obsessively picking every last one clean. (I’m glad no one else was there to watch me). The soup itself had a hearty stock made bright with a squeeze of lime juice while the vegetables were soft without being overcooked.

Perhaps my favorite dish sampled so far, and the one that keeps me returning for more, was the plate of shrimp enchiladas. Again, the corn tortillas were handmade. The shrimp inside tasted freshly cooked and just-peeled, firm, not mealy or soggy. The tomatillo salsa on top was zesty and rich in both acidity and flavor.

Mi Pueblo’s interior is colorful and spacious with several flat screen TVs broadcasting the news. (I remember on my first visit being somewhat distracted by coverage of the Fort Hood shootings. Most of which later turned out to be false, but there was something reassuring in the comfort of those shrimp enchiladas.)

Now you know about Mi Pueblo.  Now, it’s your turn to tell someone else.

Mi Pueblo Mexican Restaurant Bar & Grill
13860 Nacogdoches Road
(210) 967-6700
Breakfast: Saturday-Sunday; lunch-dinner: Tuesday-Sunday
$-$$

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Ask a Foodie: How Are Maraschino Cherries Made?

Ask a Foodie: How Are Maraschino Cherries Made?

CherriesQ. I usually buy maraschino cherries around this time of year for making Christmas cookies.  Does the word  “maraschino” refer to a variety of cherry? How are they made?

A. Not exactly. The way the term “maraschino”  came about was because these bright red and green candied fruits once were made with an Italian liqueur by that name. Because maraschino liqueur became expensive, the cherries are now pitted, then soaked in a flavored syrup, according to “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Usually, the red cherries are soaked in an almond syrup while the green ones are soaked in mint. Then, the cherries are dyed. Marschino cherries can be bought either with or without stems. Also according to “Food Lover’s,” most any variety of cherry can be used for this preparation, but generally Royal Ann is the one most often used.

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