Los Tarascos

Got together with some friends to celebrate a birthday (not mine) recently and got to check out another new (to me) place in Ft. Collins. This time it was Los Tarascos.

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Love Mexican food so I was quite excited about this. We were meeting at 6pm, but I was told to get there a little early to make sure to get some Happy Hour specials. Well, I got there at 5:45pm and I happened to be the only one to arrive early. I easily chose a Classic Margarita and dang, that thing was good. Since I knew there would be several more people coming, I ordered a few pitchers of the amazing drink. When the other attendees arrived, they were quite pleased.

At this place, they bring you chip baskets…of course. I surveyed the table and was wondering about salsa. Then I found out they have a salsa bar. You get to pick what you get to dip those addictive pieces of corn in. Dang, talk about trouble. Now, the only problem is, the containers they give you for the salsa are small. But, you can make do. They have many choices and I liked how I saw one person use a menu as a tray to carry several cups of salsa back to their table.

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Somebody at the table ordered some guac and I grabbed a bite — very good. Excellent consistency and nice spice.

As I looked through the menu I found what I love at this type of establishment — ceviche. This one was Ceviche a la Tequila — Shrimp cured in lime juice and tequila mixed with tomato, onion, and jalapeno. And for a few more dollars, you could add Octopus, which I totally went for.

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This stuff was good, with the different texture of the octopus. The only downside was that the jalapenos made it very spicy for me. I don’t have a huge heat tolerance. I picked as many pieces of it out as I could. But, I will totally go back and get more of this.

So, between the delicious margaritas, tons of salsa, good guac and octopus ceviche, this place is definitely one I’m checking out again.

Salud!

Coyote Grill, Queenstown, NZ

Next place to check in a NZ town if of course a Mexican restaurant, right?  After getting back fairly late from a tour it was close to the hotel and looked pretty good, so why not?  So we checked out Coyote Grill.

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One of two mandatory orders was right (and done right away) – chips & guac.  The other that wasn’t (margarita) was simply replaced with sangria.

The guac had a perfect texture and spice to it.

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Two appetizers were ordered after that for dinner.

Prawns (that’s what they call shrimp) Veracruz– sautéed with mild guajillo chili and slow cooked garlic IMG_5406

Duck Tostada – shredded roast duck served on a crispy corn tortilla with salsa

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The shrimp had a nice kick to them and whatever seasoning they used on the duck was amazing.  And for appetizers, these were big dishes.  Perfect end to a long day.

Taqueria el Poblano

Was finally able to visit a Mexican restaurant that I have only heard great things about.  Checked out Taqueria el Poblano in Alexandria/Del Ray, VA.  They also have 2 locations in Arlington.

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At such a restaurant one much always start the meal off with a margarita.  Very nicely done!  Found out later they also make them with some Grand Marnier and decided to give that a try…can’t complain at all.

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Opted for the other mandatory piece at such a restaurant, guacamole.  Just the perfect balance of smooth vs. chunks and nice spices in there.  The chips were ok.

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One of their specials that night was lobster tacos.  Uh, yeah, I think I’ll order those!  AMAZING.  I don’t think I’d ever had lobster tacos.  Huge chunks of meat in those things, some non-mayo coleslaw and other great flavors.  So much good food.

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My friend opted for pork tacos that came with green peppers, cheese and other great stuff.

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We were stuffed to the brim.  Definitely have to go back here.

 

 

 

Gringos & Mariachis

Caught up with a friend the other night and we were in the mood for some good margaritas.  There are always the cookie cutter places.  Why we must we always go there?  Then I remember checking out a place in Woodmont Triangle (in downtown Bethesda) last year that I wanted to go to again.

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It is so ‘hidden’ that it’s easy to miss.  We eventually tracked down Gringos and Mariachis on Cordell Ave.  I say hidden because there is no sign for it.  The exterior of the building is gray and their name is painted in black above the windows.  If you don’t know exactly where it is, amongst other popular restaurants, you walk right by it, as we did.  I only worked and lived near it for years and missed it.

Anyway, we walked in and it was packed on a Friday evening.  We snagged a (1) stool at the bar and (fast forwarding) were eventually able to get another.  They had a good variety of margaritas and I opted for the smoked one to begin.

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The bartender said it’s the combo of the type of tequila and mezcal, and of course the special salt blend they use that makes it good.  Very unique and darn tasty!

We also got some staple food, from chips and guac to salsa.  Some of their salsa is super spicy!  They have tacos al pastor, which are very hard to find in the US.  I remember having them in Mexico.  It’s a pork taco and very good.  We also had their delicious seafood taco with Mahi Mahi.

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Another great restaurant to check out, especially if you’re into margaritas.  And, it’s close to the Bethesda Metro and near many of the parking garages.

DC Brunch Spot

Last Sunday the weather was bad but that was no reason to avoid heading out for brunch.  It had been planned and was going to happen.  There is a great restaurant called El Centro on 14th Street with a (food and drink) bottomless weekend brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 10:30-3 for $35.

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It’s a great Mexican fare and you order, essentially, small plates.  So, you can have a little bite of everything.  The drink menu contains everything from Mimosas to Bloody Marias to seasonal mixes.  What’s ironic?  You HAVE to pay for coffee, tea and juice.  Dang!

As soon you get there they bring you great chips and salsa and come on, guac is a requirement!

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I tried some of the ceviche, chicken tacos, beans and eggs.  Others at the table had beef tongue, jicama, chile relleno and more.  Didn’t get pictures of everything.  It was delicious.  Definitely worth checking out.  It was very slow, though.  Sort of ironic with things like ceviche that don’t really cook and the restaurant wasn’t that busy.  But, there was no rush since it was an ugly weather day out there.

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