Monday, October 1, 2012

Restaurant Review- Fajita Grill or Food that Makes Me Nostalgic

Tom here, posting in the blog about something or another.   As the people who are around me can attest,  I'm rather homesick.  Its something that I've come to accept will likely never change, so I in turn have taken to seeking out ways to take that edge off. One of them is food. Good food at that.  I keep saying I'm going to throw some recipes up here, but that's for the future. Right now, lets talk food, and nostalgia.

For those of you who are unaware I'm a Midwestern boy. I'm sure this revelation will come with more then a bit of mocking, and jokes; however, the joke is on everyone else.  I'd tell you, but then it would ruin it for us. I digress however.

The food nostalgia moment came when we decided to get Mexican food.  Mexican food in Maine is by and large either Taco Bell or frozen overcharged microwave burritos. Back home, in Kansas City there's is a plethora of real Hispanic restaurants.  In a city with a population of 463,202 people, 10% of them are of Hispanic descent.  What can I say, Mexican restaurants are right up there with BBQ and fried chicken joints.  They are everywhere, it's as close to authentic as you are going to get without heading south.  I've missed it, a lot.

We happened upon an authentic Mexican restaurant in Lewiston, called the Hacienda del Patron. It met everything that I had missed about food from home, and provided speedy, efficient service. When it closed down for inexplicable reasons, I was disheartened, and we thought it was back to microwave burritos and Taco Bell until vacation time came about. Then, one day, the rumor mill at work started, as it turns out, Hacienda del Patron was a branch of a Mexican restaurant in Westbrook, the Fajita Grill, which, thankfully, remains open.

 Now I good go into long descriptors about how this was your typical hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant, complete with Mexican decorations on the wall and beer pennants across the ceiling. I could tell you about how before we even received menus, the standard bowl of chips and salsa was placed on our table. I could help you understand the creaminess of the cheese enchiladas or the crispiness of their tacos. Instead, I will describe for you my love affair with chile relleno. In a nutshell, this concoction is a poblano pepper, filled with cheese, dipped in batter, and deep fried. Like a giant jalapeno popper. The subtle heat from the pepper spread to everything on my plate, providing a delectable level of warmth. The pepper was cooked perfectly, just long enough to make it soft and non-offensive, but lightly enough that it did not lose its texture and become mush. It was a combination of creaminess from the cheese, chewiness from the pepper, and a crisp crunch from the coating. I asked my wife, who devoured her chicken burrito, cheese enchilada, and chalupa, if her cheese tasted spicey, to which she responded "no." I offered her a bite of my cheese enchilada, and she even noticed the "slight kick" to it.

All in all the food was fantastic. So good in fact, that combined with pricing, we decided to continue our adventure to the one dish that is 100% hit or miss, in every Mexican restaurant I have ever been to in my entire life, the tamale. I couldn't find anything negative to say about the tamale if I wanted to, it was perfect. Except, maybe, for the ground beef garnish. That was a bit different than usual.

All in all, if you find yourself in the area, and you are craving Mexican, and you don't want to deal with the shenanigans of trying to park in Portland's Old Port, head on down to Main Street in Westbrook. As far as the pricing goes, you are looking at between $7-$8/plate for a combination of three different items. Their menu is included on their website

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