Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Fiesta Grill - 7/29/2009

In the middle of nowhere on highway 54 between Chapel Hill and Carrboro lies un restaurante increible. While it can take some time to get there, Fiesta Grill has an expansive selection of Mexican dishes, both typical fare and dishes that are more esoteric to us gringos. But fear not! The family who owns the restaurant is friendly, helpful and speedy for all of their customers. The restaurant itself has a no-frills decoration scheme, but that is only because they spend so much time making their food so good.

Ceviche Taco

One of the weekend specials is a ceviche taco. We decided to give it a try in addition to our freshly made tortilla chips (very thickly made, meaning they're sturdy enough to support just about anything you throw at them). In addition to the marinated gamish of seafood was tomatoes, onions and avocado. Underneath this mass was a crispy taco shell. We ended up using the chips to eat most of the ceviche. This appetizer was not overly complex and was all about the fresh flavors of all of the ingredients. Try not to fill up on appetizers, though, because the real gut busters of the meal are still to come.

Bean & Cheese Burrito

Enchilada & Tamal

For our main courses we had a bean and cheese burrito, covered in sauce, and a combination platter of one enchilada (mostly hidden in the sauce) and one pork tamal. Briefly, the tamal is pork and a spicy tomato sauce of some sort encased in a corn-based flour and cooked in corn husks. The result is tender and subtly corny, but still packing the punch of the filling. The combo came with some rice and refried beans. All of the food was very good and highly filling. If the burrito does not look like it could fill you up, you can get it stuffed with nearly everything but the kitchen sink. We saw a nearby customer order a monstrous burrito and eat about one-quarter of it.

Horchata & Jamaica

After finishing our meal, we had some general questions about some of the items we had seen on the menu. After asking what menudo was (tripe soup, pretty much), we asked what the two beverages were moving around inside of two large dispensers. Instead of merely telling us, the owner gave us a free, small taste of each. One which was a light beige color was horchata, a rice drink flavored with vanilla and cinnamon. This sounds like some saccharine concoction from the local coffee house, but it had been thinned down to be a refreshing beverage. The flavors were all present, but you did not feel disgusting after drinking it. The second drink was called jamaica, made from hibiscus. This drink was a little sweeter and more floral, but it also reminded me of candied apple to a small degree. Both of these drinks together fall under the category of aguas frescas (cool waters), drinks made from various grains or fruits originating from Mexico. Based on the quality of the food and the amazing friendliness of the staff (and the size of the exhaustive menu), I will definitely be going back to this restaurant, which has become my new favorite Mexican eatery.

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