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May 26, 2009 08:55 AM

La Hacienda - Mason City Help!

I lived in Mason City during my teen years. There was a family-run Mexican place called La Hacienda that had these fabulous enchiladas with a brown beefy gravy instead of the usual more red or green chile sauce. I've tried to replicate it with no joy for decades. I've never found any restaurant anywhere else that had the same gravy, either.

First I was wondering if they're still around, and if so, are they still great? (All their food was really fantastic to my untutored, Midwest-bred palate but from what I can remember, it was actually good, not just good because I didn't know better.)

Also, I was wondering if anyone knew a way to get the recipe for that gravy out of them. Over the years I've tried calling them (the last time I tried was maybe ten years ago), and they've always been unwilling to part with the recipe, despite the fact that I'm never going to go into competition with them or anything. :)

I'm kinda hoping they're still around in 2013 so when I return for my 30 year reunion I can give them another go. And this time get extra enchiladas so I can try to analyze the gravy with my much more sensitive palate. ;)

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  1. Morganna
    This response is about 1year and 1month late, but La Hacienda was owned and operated by my family, more over my grandfather Victor Martinez. I would like the thank you for your kind description of our food, it was nice to read. We have re-opened in Mason City as Maria's Kitchen on N. Federal (named after my late grandmother). When you are back in town, come visit us for our one-of-a-kind Enchiladas. 641-423-TACO. And sorry, we wont give out our receipe for our gravy. :)

    4 Replies
    1. re: MariasKitchen

      Maria, I say this with all due respect and the foodie love in my heart...

      You're evil. ;) EEEEEVILLLLLLLL!!!!

      The thing is, I am no longer in the area, ever. Ok, not true. I'll be there, MAYBE for my 30th high school reunion in 2013. But I never visit. I have no family in the area. I haven't been there in over 25 years (since I moved to Alaska in 1993). I now live in Vermont, and when I travel these days, I go across the ocean to Europe because I want to see the world!

      I miss your family's food so much, Maria. I promise you, having the gravy recipe would not stop me from coming in to eat there when I -am- in the area (if that happens in 2013), but I really really miss that gravy!

      Pppplease could you email the recipe to me? Puhleeeeaaase? :)

      And everyone in the Mason City area? GO THERE. Go eat there NOW NOW NOW! And post here about doing so. I want to live vicariously through you. ;)

      I know you won't, Maria. :D Your Gramma always refused to give it to my mother, when she asked... :) I've never understood keeping recipes like that to oneself, but I can accept it.

      But someday, maybe someday, you'll be willing to pass it along. :) I hope I'm around for someday. :)

      In the meantime, maybe one of my old high school classmates will ship me some enchiladas overnight... ;)

      1. re: Morganna

        I know exactly what you mean about that sauce. My grandma took me to the first restaurant that was located by the mall in a huge white house. I can still remember the smell of the place. AWESOME! We lived by a large factory that I think was called curries. Heard it shut down though. Anyway, the point was, I was young and only lived a few blocks away from the restaurant, so I would ride by and and stare at the place wishing I was old enough to stop in and eat by myself. Now every time I go to visit, I always get three enchiladas. Cheese, chicken, and beef. I would probably pay a hundred dollars for the recipe right now but to help you out, I notice when I fry cheese and add enchilada sauce I get an instant memory of their sauce. Of course It is not even close to as good but it is a start. Good luck and please keep me posted of any new findings.

        1. re: kingkisner7455

          Yeah, know what you mean. I'm just never going back to Mason City, and it's a little frustrating that they won't give out the recipe but I suppose trade secrets and all. I just really wish I could have a shot at recreating that wonderful sauce at home, but it's gone forever. I have had someone suggest a possible recipe that might do it, I'll give it a try at some point and report back. :)

          1. re: Morganna

            That sounds awesome! Thanks. I am under the assumption that it probably isn't good for you because it tastes so good. I will also try to make it and keep you informed. Good luck and thanks. Shawn.

    2. Morganna, I'm originally from Omaha, NE, and we had a similar dish at my favorite restaurant that was founded in Colorado. It has closed now. It was a "Tacorito". I have searched for about 35 years to master it and finally found a very similar recipe, if not the actual recipe. You can find it on "A Chelsea Morning by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It's delicious and sounds similar to what you are looking for. Let me know what you think. I live in Florida, but always got my Tacorito fix when I would visit. I understand a chain "Romeo's" took over the recipe, but not alll that impressed.

      La Fonda's
      2820 S 123rd Ct, Omaha, NE 68144

      Romeo's Mexican Food & Pizza
      14630 W Center Rd, Omaha, NE 68144

      1 Reply
      1. re: mmgd1960

        Sounds like a possibility, I'll give it a go, and thanks. :)

      2. I can't believe I just came across this post tonight. I was responding to something else in another blog and had to google La Hacienda for that purpose - I grew up in Mason City, graduated in 1987, relocated to Oregon roughly 10 years ago. The original restaurant you n I know of closed, the kids branched off on their own and there is one sister who is doing better than the rest with the original recipes. PM me and let's talk!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mutch2Do

          Not entirely sure how to PM you! :) I've tried contacting the daughter/sister/whomever it is running the shop in Mason City and no dice. They wouldn't give me the recipe. On the one hand, I understand, on the other, I'm NEVER going to be in Mason City again! I'm not going into competition. I just want the beefy enchilada gravy! ;) Still.... how do I pm?