Category Archives: Mexican & Southwestern

Fish taco at The Ville Taqueria.

Ville Taqueria brings St. Matthews an alternative to pizza

Everyone likes Mexican food, don’t we? But what do we mean when we say “Mexican”?

If our grandparents in Louisville knew Mexican food at all, they probably meant chili con carne, a spicy mix of beans and beef served over spaghetti.
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Huevos Rancheros at El Camino

El Camino’s brunch wows us with Latino style

What? The food guy is going Mexican again? Three weeks running, he’s ricocheted from Argentine beef to taqueria offal to fancified Chicano fare in the surfer tradition? ¿Qué pasa? Or, in the Queen’s English, what’s up with that?

Hmm. I suppose I could claim that I’m dining Latino-style out of solidarity with the flood of kids from Central America who are piling up at our border. I could say I’m doing it to take a stand in a national debate that prompts some Americans to yell that Lady Liberty lifts her lamp beside the golden door only for immigrants who look like us.

And those things could be true.

But to be honest, I mainly went to El Camino this week to check out the Sunday brunch Continue reading

Lengua tacos at El Molcajete

Feeling offal? Check out your local taqueria

Menudo, the fabulously strong flavored and fiery Mexican stew made from pork chitlins (“chitterlings,” to the prissy, or, if you insist on a definition in English, pork intestines) is one of the world’s most trusted hangover cures.

This may relate to the truth that, no matter how bad you feel, if you can hold down a stenchy ration of menudo, you can probably hold down just about anything.
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Tacos and a house margarita at Wild Rita's. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

The ‘ritas are the wildest thing at Wild Rita’s

So, just how wild are the ‘ritas at Wild Rita’s?

Well, this new spot just east of downtown, within the noise penumbra and particulates shadow of the Great Bridge Boondoggle, offers 10, count ‘em 10, variations on the margarita, not to mention tequila cocktails, tequila tastings and nearly 100 fine tequilas by the bottle or drink. It would take more effort than I’m willing to expend to answer this question definitively. Continue reading

Spinach empanada at Gara Empanadas

Dashboard Dining With Latin flavor At Gara Empanadas

Wow! I’ve got to tell you about the cozy little place where we ate on a trip out to Oldham County the other day.

It was a small space, intimate but surprisingly comfortable as we sat surrounded by walls of glass that let in plenty of sunlight and the suburban view. The colors were muted, almost spartan, wsoft upholstery and crisp edges in shades of gray. The seating was most comfortable of all, form-fitting and even adjustable; and we could take our pick among scores of entertainment channels. Really, about the only downside I could see was the the big steering wheel in my lap that made it kind of hard to get at my food.

Yep, we were dashboard dining! Continue reading

Lechon al horno at Riviera Maya.

Can Riviera Maya exorcise a haunted venue?

This may seem a topic better suited for Halloween than the dead of icy winter coming up on Fat Tuesday, but hey, let’s talk about “haunted” restaurant locations. Local foodies quickly learn about these venues that seem to labor under a curse, housing one short-lived restaurant failure after another. Continue reading

Tacos at El Taco Luchador. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

We wrestle and win at El Taco Luchador

Okay, Taco Luchador, we get the “taco” part. But what the heck is a “luchador”?

Simple, señoras y señores! The luchador is a skilled artisan, a practitioner of lucha libre (“free fight”), the manly art of self-defense. In other words, luchadores are Mexican pro wrestlers. But trust me on this, lucha libre makes the overweight, steroid-pumped thespians of the WWE look like a bunch of slow-moving sissies. Continue reading

Birria de borrego (pork shoulder) at El Camino. LEO photo by Frankie Steele.

No, Bar Belle! El Camino is surfin’ good

My pal the Bar Belle is also the boss of me when it comes to this column, but that sure doesn’t stop me from calling Bullwinkle when I just have to. So, yo, Bar Belle! You’ve got it all wrong when you go hatin’ on El Camino! How did this debate work out? Well, our conversation went something like this:

Your Humble Critic: We checked out El Camino the other night. It’s the new place with the Cali-Mex surfer/tiki-bar vibe that’s run by the Silver Dollar peeps in the old Avalon space on Bardstown. It is truly awesome.

The Bar Belle: I went the other night and wasn’t impressed.

Critic: Whaaa? Continue reading

Golden Tacos at Hay!! Chi Wa Waa

Don’t judge the name. Try Hay!! Chi Wa Waa

Hey, Chihuahua? What kind of a name for a restaurant is that? With a wacky Señor Gonzales accent? Really? Are they talking about the state of Chihuahua in Mexico, or calling a little dog? Or maybe, just possibly, poking a thumb in the eye of “Yo quiero Taco Bell“?
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Tabla de chimichurri at Mojito.

Whatever you think it means, Mojito does tapas right

Who doesn’t like a table full of tapas? These days, when just about every eatery from diners and dives to classy upscale joints offers small plates to tickle the taste buds, tapas are just about everywhere.

But that word may not mean quite what you think it means. Continue reading

tacos

Bazo’s shows off the fine art of the fish taco

Gather ’round, youngsters, and I’ll tell you about a time when fish tacos were unknown in our town.

It wasn’t all that long ago, really — as recently as the ’90s — when the idea of putting fish on a taco pretty much struck everyone as weird and unappetizing. Or so it seemed to everyone who hadn’t tasted the original at taco shacks on Mexico’s Pacific Coast beaches, or at Rubio’s in Old Town San Diego, anyway.

But that was before Bazo’s arrived in town with a more than credible version of Rubio’s original, and suddenly the idea of putting crunchy, golden-brown and delicious nuggets of fried white fish on a soft corn tortilla with shredded cabbage and spicy white crema didn’t seem so strange anymore. Continue reading