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El Alma

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lixlix Jan 2, 2012 07:55 PM

So on New Year's day, I decided to go to El Alma Cafe on Barton Springs as I had been meaning to try it and they were luckily open on New Years Day and served more than just a brunch menu.

Service was good though if I had one complaint it would be that they brought water even if everyone at the table has ordered drinks.

drinks : didn't want anymore booze so ended up getting the aqua frescas. They are somewhat steep at $3 considering the size but the flavor was decent. Tried the strawberry, the Mango, and the Coconut. Liked the strawberry and coconut very much. The mango was a little light on flavor.

chips and Salsa : chips were served with a green salsa and a red salsa. The green was very good and tangy with a tomatillo base and a touch of avocado to make it creamy. There was a decent amount of heat too. The red salsa is more of a roasted tomato, roasted chili salsa. There is a decent amount of smokiness and it was a good contrast to the lighter green but being one who prefers fresh tomato salsas, I definitely preferred the green.

Apps : got the black drum ceviche and the sopa azteca. The ceviche had a decent lime kick and the fish was fresh. Also having it be served with tostadas instead of more of the tortilla chips was a good touch. The Sopa Azteca was kind of like a very thick tortilla soup. If you can imagine a mix between tortilla soup and cream of tomato/roasted pepper soup.

Mains : got the duck chili relleno and the grilled quail with mole sauce. The relleno is not fried, it is either roasted or baked. The duck inside was fairly moist and in shredded form and mixed with raisins and nuts. I do wish something could have incorporated duck skin in this dish as I so do love duck skin but it was still pretty tasty. essentially pulled duck stuffed in poblano. I wish the sauce that came with this dish didn't taste so similar to the Sopa Azteca though.

The grilled quail with mole was fantastic. The 2 quail was tender with a good flavor of the grill and the mole was deep complex with definite hints of chocolate, dried chilies, almonds.

Sides : got a side of elote. It was very enjoyable with a rich sauce, good amount of queso fresco, and really took off with a squeeze of lime. Wish it was a bit less than $3 though. Also wish they cut it in to cobbetts as eating a whole one on the cob is somewhat unwieldy albeit authentic.

All in all a good experience and I would definitely go back.

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