Friday, February 6, 2009

Mexican food in Central Ohio

There are 2 kinds of Mexican food restaurants here in Central Ohio:

1. "Authentic" like El Vaquero, with a huge menu filled with endless combinations of a handful of foods (2 tacos and 1 tamale; or 1 chalupa and 2 flautas, etc.), a mostly Hispanic staff of men in their 30s and 40s, and TVs playing Univision telenovelas.

2. "Americanized," usually part of a chain, with a smaller, more expensive menu, a mostly Anglo staff of young pretty people, and a cluttered, decrepit "cantina" look. (Actually, some of the "authentic" ones are also chains, like the aformentioned El Vaquero.)

Sometimes I'm in the mood for one, sometimes the other--when it comes to margaritas, the Americanized ones win hands down. My favorite Americanized Mexican restaurant was Don Pablo's, but that chain seems to have bitten the dust, so we went to the new chain that's replaced the old Pablo buildings, Baja Sol Cantina. It looks the part, though I have to say it's a bit junkier than the old Don Pablo's, and the staff isn't as pretty (so important for a good dining experience). I started with a Blue Margarita which was pretty darn good (I don't know why I'm always so happy drinking something blue...); the salsa bar, with at least 7 different salsas and sides (like a nice cilantro/onion mix) was good; the main course was this:

Inside Out Chicken Tinga Tamale
Grilled corn cake served over Salsa Verde and topped with chicken tinga, sour cream, pico de gallo and green onions. Served with Baja rice and your choice of black or pinto beans.

It was OK, though because I had ordered the corn cake for an appetizer, I was a bit corned out. I'd go back and try the fajitas, but for now I'm still in mourning for Don Pablo's,

1 comment:

  1. At least you have two kinds of Mexican restaurants in Columbus; here in Morgantown, we have only one: awful. Runny flavorless refried beans and stuff-covered-with-cheese-and-red-sauce.

    I suppose it's a mark of how much happier I am here than I was in Greeley, though, when I say that that's been one of the few big disappointments about our move. Greeley had some fine Mexican restaurants, and I miss them deeply and regularly.

    Congrats on blog #3!