I recently married a beautiful American woman and she introduced me to mexican food. My total experience with tex-mex is a bad experience at TacoBell, so I never gave it a second thought in fact, I avoided it. In her hometown, they have Mexican places like we have fish and chip shops. On one of her mexican cravings, she said "I need some Guadalajara's". Me, I think "ugh, ok honey...because I love you ".
Quickly after seated, munching awesome nacho chips and wicked dip, we order. Not even really looking at the menu, she orders Seafood Enchiladas. Mezmerized at the selection of items, I referred to my hero, Al Bundy and ordered a burrito. Meanwhile, I gorge on the nachos and spicy salsa dip.
A plate of rice, some bean mash stuff and two burritos covered in a sauce arrived. Really, I was turned off. The beautiful American was digging in deep.."what's wrong; not hungry"? "No hun, just taking it all in ya know". I tried a fork tip of the beans, a brave full fork of the rice, ate all the salad and a good part of one of the burritos. Beautiful American, now quite satisfied wonders if I have some stomach ailment.
Back in Ontariario, beautiful American says " I need some Guadalajara's". Racking my memory for a mexican place, I only think of the defunct Chi Chi's and I can't think of the last time I saw one. So a quick browse under Google finds a Mexico Lindo in Ajax. And by the way, they have one of those in beautiful American's hometown.
Same stuff to me, bean pile by rice mound with salad and burrito. But I order the Tabasco plate, so spicy. Beautiful American is satisifed but wishes it was Guadalajara's. Intrigued, instead of Friday pizza, we go again. We decide to mix and match; she orders the chicken in chipolte special and I order an pork enchilda. The chicken chipolte is too hot for her so we switch. I'm sweating and sniffing and loving it. Washed down with a Corona, I'm hooked.
Mexico Lindo is operated by a family as near as we can see. Beautiful American wants a mexican fix so, we find that they have opened a new place in North Whitby. So new that they have no liquor licence. But that's not what we are there for. Super spicy nachos and dip come with the menu and it is the same as their other restaurants. Beautiful American orders enchilladas, I order the special; shrimp in chipolte sauce. Beautiful American says, " You're hooked aren't you"?. "This is sooo good", I say.
So, here I am. On a crusade. As beautiful American and I have discovered, mexican is not easy to find, but with what I found here on chowhound, we'll soon be down to Kensington Market. I have my copy of Rick Bayless - Authentic Mexican (thank you honey) and I will be looking to stock my pantry with the many essentials.
I look forward to sharing the quest for good mexican dining with those true believers. So when beautiful American says " I need some Guadalajara's"... I can say.." I know just the place". Or even better, I can whip that right up!
I hear ya Schtanley.
I married a souther girl, (Mrs. Sippi. I'm sure you can figure out why I call her that) and she too has introduced me to real deal Mexican. There was a place 2 minutes from her parents that was fantastic. Sadly, the last two times we were there (Christmas and Easter) they had a sign up saying "Closed for renovations. I guess we'll have to find another new favourite.
Where is the "Beautiful American" from??
There are three Mexican restaurants all owned and operated by the same family.
We've been to all three, and here they are in order of our preference. All are recommended:
1. Mexico Lindo - 1821 Scugog Street, Port Perry, Ontario. 905-982-0109. The Owner/Chef is Miguel, and he taught his brothers how to cook...the brothers own the next two restuarants in the list. All of the restaurants are totally authentic Mexican food...no Taco Bell here. Great food, friendly staff, good value. We drive for a hour to eat there!
2. Mexico Lindo - 200 Harwood Ave South, Ajax , Ontario. 905-231-9764. Closed Sundays. Great selection, nice decor, good value.
3. Cielito Lindo, 1660 Kingston Road, Unit 6, Pickering, Ontario. 905-231-2185 Try the chicken soup with lime and hominy corn. It will bring a smile to your face, and a bulge to your belly. My wife's been trying to duplicate this soup at home, thankfully.
Mexico Linda Port Perry - a pleasant experience ... three times lucky
Mexico Lindo on Taunton in Whitby/Oshawa, has been hit and miss .. it is a pit stop en route from the office, many visits to judge by. Sometimes salty,sometimes mushy - not bad for a quick fix. Good to see they fixed the place up, it was a perpetually closed brekkie stop with very gooey windows for years; I pointed and laughed "who would eat in that" every time we drove by...
La Hacienda on Hunter Street in Peterborough has always been a favourite - I've yet to have a crappy meal there .. a bit of a drive and quite stuffy warm yesterday, the door propped open for AC barely saved by the wee alleyway patio.
I have found that the original one in Ajax in the Harwood Mall is the best of all the ones we've been to. The Whitby one had only one good night. We've not tried the Port Perry one yet. However, Beautiful American is not really impressed and wishes she could get the "home cookin".
I too married a beautiful American woman -- almost 30 years ago -- in Denver. She too introduced me to Mexican food, such as it was in Denver. We moved to Toronto as soon as we married, and I've been looking for decent Mexican food in Toronto ever since ....
The best overall was Kathy Short's in 1979 (?), first on Bloor and then in Cabbagetown. She disappeared after a few years. Jalapenos was pretty good for a year or so. All the other places, over the years, were mainly Central or Latin American places, and most had never, ever heard of a poblano. Have you ever had a chile releno with a Bell? Ghastly...
She cooks it all from scratch at home.It is easy enough to find all the ingredients. We have all the half dozen Bayless books, have eaten at his places in Chicago, etc. It would be nice to find a decent Mexican place in Toronto before I die of old age.
I see where Milagro has joined Winterlicious, but with a gringo menu.
Be prepared for at least a dozen "There's no good Mexican in the area" responses!
Since you mentioned Kensington, I was at the Latin American Emporium last Saturday night to buy some cassava and there was a huge lineup coming from the back of the store - anyone know what people were waiting for?? Normally, I'd wait in line and see, but I had to dash out to meet my ride who was circling the market for a parking spot.