Is it just me, or does there seem to be an out-of-whack disproportionate amount of Mexican restaurants per capita in these parts?
I am genuinely stunned when I see a new opening. If only any of them were exceptional in any way. Our American version of Mexican food is much like our American version of Chinese food, or any ethnic cuisine, i.e., a watered-down version. Tom has always maintained that people love their own favorite places, and that is the barometer by which all other same-ethnic restaurants are measured.
For us, the barometer is La Caretta’s, which I readily admit is an ordinary restaurant. But every time I try another Mexican place, I appreciate the tastes there anew.
Last night we went to Pedro’s Tacos and Tequila Bar, a place that is proliferating at about the same pace as El Paso. Our daughter has an endless craving for the flavors of Mexico, and we keep searching for the pinnacle, the one that will measure up to our expectations. They never do, and this one was no different. “It was fine” which is my explanation of nearly everything we eat.
We started with the choriqueso, which I always love, though the quality of the chorizo is key. This one had an intense flavor, more like the real deal, which you might find in Spain. But that is unexpected in a place like this outpost of a large chain. I do love to see side puddles of grease in choriqueso. It seems fitting.
There was little else in this besides the chorizo and thick cheese. Very large flour tortillas came alongside it, and Tom absolutely loved this choriqueso. Mary Leigh was also a fan. It was quite fine, but I like my choriqueso to have more “stuff” in it. We also ordered a side of corn tortillas, and these were unusually large as well. I prefer small corn tortillas. They at least seem to be more authentic. There was a small cup of pico de gallo alongside the dip, and again this was fine, but I prefer the familiar tastes of the spicy jalapēno pico at La Caretta.
The menu at Pedro’s is large, to put it mildly. We got something for Tom called the Puff Taco, and Mary Leigh got a chimichanga. My empanada obsession could be indulged here, and I got an empanada appetizer.
The empanadas were sliced in half and stacked prettily on a plate. It came with some bare lettuce and a little cup of plain queso. I have often said I never met a meat pie I didn’t love, but I didn’t love these. I didn’t even like them enough to keep eating them. I was not crazy about the flavor of the ground beef, though they were definitely cute little bites. The queso is pretty bland here, amounting to what seems to be simply melted cheese.
Tom was absolutely wild about his puff taco. He practically inhaled this. It was an enormous thing in a large tortilla folded over and covered with a sauce that included chunks of beef, which matched the stuffing inside. This was served with a pile of lettuce and tomato and cheddar cheese.
Mary Leigh’s chimichanga was stuffed with sliced beef rather than ground beef and it came with the same little cup of pico and another of queso. I realize this is hardly a recommendation, but I fondly remember the chimichanga at Chi-Chi’s, in the pre-Tom days, so I question the validity of my attraction. I have seen many such rolled tortillas since then but none I liked as well. The one at La Caretts is not fried. I thought this one might be like the Chi-Chi’s version because it was fried, but it was not.
Tom finished his Mexican meal as he always does with a flan. This one was more dense and firm than the ones at La Caretta, but Tom never met a flan that he didn’t love.
Pedro’s is a handsome place, with white leather chairs upholstered in a glamorous Mexican style. It is more traditional than hip, and I am glad about that.
It will be interesting to see how it does in the same realm already owned by El Paso. But the bigger question to me is: could there really be room for yet another Mexican place to eat?