Chicharrónes at El Carnicero in Lakewood, OH
Beef and Chicken Tacos from Fired Up Taco Truck in Cleveland, Ohio
The beef (up top) was good… but the combo of the chipotle aioli, a corn/green chili salsa, and the crispy fried onions on the chicken taco (on the bottom) were out of this world. Pretty much a dream taco for me.
They park weekly at the Mini Mart in Lakewood for Taco Tuesday, and make other stops around the city on a regular basis. Check out their Twitter feed for upcoming locations.
Azada Taquitos at Momocho Mod Mex in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio
Soy marinaded Hanger Steak, Onions and Peppers, Honey-Chipotle Mojo
This place has the best Mexican food I’ve ever had, but since the whole upstairs is lit like a cave, it’s next to impossible to get a good picture. As a group, we tried the Blue Crab/Corn/Chipotle Guacamole, Smoked Gouda Tamale Dumplings, and Vanilla Bean Flan; and for the second time in a row, everyone in my party loved everything.
Vanilla Bean Flan at Momocho Mod Mex in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio
Mexican Custard topped with Caramel Sauce
Honey Chipotle Chicken Taco with Lettuce, Tomato, and Avocado
Now that I’m back in the country, and settled in Berea for the foreseeable future, I should be back to posting as usual.
Puffy Tacos at The Mad Cactus in Strongsville, Ohio
Fried Tortillas, BBQ Glazed Mahi, Tomatillo Verde, Onions, Lettuce with Rice and Beans
A month ago, The Mad Cactus was revamped from head to toe by chef Robert Irvine. It’s set to be featured on the November 2nd episode of Restaurant: Impossible. Having never been to the “old” version, I can’t say anything about the changes that were made. But I will say that I really enjoyed my experience here.
Ever since I saw the Puffy Taco Throwdown episode a while back, I always wanted to give them a try. We’re quite a ways from San Antonio (one of the only places you can find a puffy taco); so when I finally saw them on the menu, there was no way I was getting anything else.
While we were waiting for our food; we tried out the salsa bar that was stocked with at least 10 fresh salsas. My favorite was the chimmi churri. My least favorite was the chips. Why? Because you had to pay for them by the basket. What? Are you kidding me? As my friend Joey tweeted: “I want to live in a world where all Mexican restaurants give free chips and salsa.” The salsas were really good though, so I’d say it was worth the extra dollar or two.
The main dishes came and the puffy tacos were amazing. The caramelized BBQ sauce on the fish was great, and the tortillas were crispy but still had a good chew. Perfect mix between a hard and soft taco.
As I said, I can’t talk about where this place has come from (and I’m sure they don’t want to talk about it either), but I can definitely say that I like where it’s going.
Bacon and Goat Cheese Guacamole
Avocado, Thick-Cut Bacon, Goat Cheese, Onion, Cilantro, Lime Juice, Salt & Pepper
I really should be getting paid for this.
Chile Poblano at Maya Mexican Restaurant in Berea, Ohio
Since Maya debuted in Berea during my high school days, it’s been a favorite of my friends and family. Maya’s a pretty regular choice because it’s close to home, quicker than any other sit-down restaurant, and known for serving up big portions that almost always yield leftovers.
It’s not a restaurant that you plan to go in advance. You don’t make reservations. You don’t daydream about it all day at work. But when you’re in a “We only have an hour and I’m feelin’ like Mexican food” situation, there’s nothing better.
This roasted Poblano pepper is stuffed with cheese, battered, and fried. It’s essentially the world’s largest Jalapeno Popper.
Guacamole Sampler at Momocho Mod Mex in the Ohio City neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.
From left to right: smoked trout/bacon/chile poblano; pineapple/jicama/chile habanero/mint; and blue crab/corn/chile chipotle
Chicken Fajita with Peppers, Onions, Colby Jack Cheese, and Avocado Salsa
We couldn’t go out to eat every night of family vacation, so in addition to bringing two pans of Gentile’s lasagna; I made fajitas for the six of us one night.
The best part, by far, was my sister-in-law’s Avocado salsa (made with tomatoes, corn, black beans, and cilantro) that topped it all off.
And I thought it’d be funny to mock some of the classier food blogs on Tumblr who only post single bites of food. So there’s that. A perfect bite.
Tequila Shot at Casa Nueva in Athens, Ohio
I will almost never do a shot of Tequila under any circumstance. But were on a shuffle, and needed something quick. So I obliged.
I have a million other things I should be doing today, but I love this picture and figured it’d make a good post.
Spring New York City Trip (Part III of V): Pollo Toloache at Toloache in the Theater District; Manhattan, NY
When I was putting together a spread sheet of potential restaurants for our group to eat at while in the Big Apple, I had the Food Network on. It just so happened that Iron Chef America was on - and it was Battle Mexican Chocolate between Iron Chef Jose Garces and his challenger Julian Medina.
I looked up Medina’s restaurant, and it was getting good reviews, so I figured I would give it a shot with my group. On our second night, the group agreed on Mexican - and I suggested Toloache (pronounced to-low-AH-chay) since it was right by our hotel. After sitting at the bar and wowing at the 100+ tequilas and sangrias, we got seated upstairs pretty quickly.
I chose the Pollo Toloache because the namesake dish (granted it doesn’t actually contain any toloache) is always going to be a hit. The coolest part was the dumpling made out of pinto beans and Chihuahua cheese. They take the traditional Mexican staple of beans and cheese and go 180 degrees away from Taco Bell’s 99 cent “Pintos N Cheese”.
However, I thought the chicken was a little dry; and others in my group complained that the portion sizes were too small. And while I agree with that, the overall quality was very high. I was just glad that my group of college kids on a budget all agreed to go to a fine dining restaurant operated by a competitor on Iron Chef.
The final two posts from my NYC series will come from McCormick & Schmick’s, where we went for both dinner with a company rep and their insane happy hour specials.