eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “tamales

El Jalapeno 4902 S. East Street

This was Pat’s choice. Normally he shies away from any “Mexican” food because of onion and he doesn’t like beans and the rice they serve. However he loves a crisp ground beef taco, or three.

As soon as we were seated we were served some chips and salsa. The chips were warm and the salsa was okay. It was the thought that counted. After some deliberation Pat decided on 3 tacos for $6.99 and a large side of cheese sauce for $5.50.

A large cheese sauce

I was hardly impressed with the size of the cheese sauce they offered. A monkey dish worth for 5 bucks! What does the small come in. A potion cup. The tacos were a different story.

I wanted to try as many different things as I could so I ordered a combo for $8.99. That was a pork tamal and a steak burrito. The steak was $1 more.

The meat portions of my lunch were very generous. The tamal was overflowing with thick chumks of pork, something I have not seen before. The masa shell was unusual as well. The bottom was about one half inch thick and the top was nearly an inch thick. I like masa but it can become dry as it cools so you need quite a bit of chile to keep it moist. The amount of red sauce they add was not enough for me. However the amount of meat they used and the flavor of the steak made up for it. I would get it again but with some adjustments.

With the exception of their cheese sauce this joint offers good food and a good value. Worth the drive.


Pupuseria Casa Maria 7363 N. Michigan Road

I have been wanting to try this place for a while. One of those times when Pat was gone I went there but they were closed for a remodel. Pat is hardly ever interested in eating something different but some times he surprises me.

Pupusas are thick tortillas stuffed with various other food items. This place offers several different varieties along with tamales and tacos.

Pat ordered a steak and cheese and a chicken and cheese pupusa. All of the pupusas come with a cup of pickled cabbage. We also had a basket of chips with different salsas.

I ordered 2 pupusas, a pork and cheese and a loroco and cheese. I also got a tongue taco and a chicken tamale. More food than I was able to eat so I was able to take them home for an evening snack.

My pupusas were excellent. Large and hearty. Loroco is an herb used in some parts of Latin America. The pupusa I ordered was made with a cheese with the bud chopped up in it. So the actual flavor of the herb was minimal regardless they were very tasty and went really well with the slaw.

That large dolma looking object is my tamale. They use banana leaves instead of corn husks. This was the biggest tamale I think I have ever had. I probably should have unwrapped it to photograph but I was more concentrated on eating. It was pretty good. It did have a thicker “shell” than some tamales I have had but it wasn’t a deal breaker to me. As for the taco it was ideal for me. Two soft corn torts with a lot of meat and topped only with cilantro and onion.

I really liked this joint. It is small but nicely appointed and the food is very good and more than reasonably priced. The total cost for our feast was $18, and for a Bonus Pat tried something he never thought he would try.


Javier’s Hacienda Mexican Cuisine 2444 E. Washington St.

Well Javier is back in the kitchen. For many years he ran the best Mexican kitchen in the city. El Sol. A couple of years ago Javier left, and then unexpectedly the joint closed. Well now he’s back. In the same building but with a different name.

A few years back he redid the entire dining room. Using hand-made chairs and tables from Mexico he made the whole joint resemble an open air plaza. Complete with a fountain.

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The salsa is fresh and the chips are warm, but the guacamole is a show stopper. He offers it three ways. Traditional with tomatoes etc., a personalized version with Mexican oregano and the 1800. This recipe is more than 200 years old. Avocado, garlic, fire roasted Serrano chiles and salt. Hand ground in a stone mortar and pestle. It is more than good.

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Their web site is still under construction so I scanned their menu. This I will add to Urban Spoon. Their lunch menu shows up on their Face page. I urge you to check out the menu. For folks who want authentic. Here it is.

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Pat’s Cochinta Pibil was $8.95 with black beans, and sweet plantains. And of course flour tortillas.

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Having never tried Javier’s tamales before that is what I ordered, from the lunch menu. Three tamales, chicken or beef and black beans and salad. Again $8.95. I opted for the pig. Three good-sized tamales, robust and savory with nice strands of meat. The beans were really good, and the rice was  tasty and colorful just a mite dry. I really enjoy the salad they add. Spring mix with a light vinaigrette and pickled onions.

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I am surprised that this post is as short as it is, considering my natural tendency to ramble. Well here it is. I am sure it doesn’t come as a surprise to folks that remember El Sol. Javier is back and he is as good as always. If nothing else you owe it to yourself to try the 1800 guacamole. It is that good.

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Javier's Hacienda Mexican Cuisine on Urbanspoon

 


The Tamale Place @ The City Market

The City Market is a piece of Indianapolis history. Originally it was an open area that had stalls for merchants to sell meat, fish and produce. In 1886 a large brick building was erected to make it a one stop shopping place. Similar to a modern grocery store.

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The Market is now a large two-story building that houses several vendors that sell ready to eat food, fruits and veggies and specialty snacks. The Tamale Place has its first facility out west. A place that I never have had an opportunity to go to. So when they opened the outlet at the City Market I was more than glad to check it out.market square ( tamales) 012

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They offer more than tamales, but to me tamales are the Greatest food ever from south of the border. Well, with a taco a close second. Since I was solo I wanted to try both their red and green variety. And what is a trip to a Latin style joint without a taco? I ordered a red pork tamale and a green chicken tamale and a steak taco. Since I am forced to admit to the “aging” of my belly I got the mild salsa. I just can’t handle hot chiles any more.

 

 

 

 

Let’s talk taco. Their tacos are $2.99 and they certainly don’t mess around with the amount of meat they use.

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I probably should have taken the picture before adding the salsa. This just doesn’t show the large amount of steak used. I don’t think I have ever had this much steak in one taco before. And every morsel was tender and tasty. Also the mild was too mild. In the future I think I will opt for the hot stuff.

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Now, for that most noble of corn creations the Tamale.

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Their regular tamales are $3.49 and you should be advised that they are 8 ounce monsters, not the 4 or 6 ounce deals that you normally get. They offer smaller versions called sliders, but they offer them in limited varieties. The first one I tried was the red chile pork.

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Like the taco they were not at all stingy with the pork filling. And like the taco the pig was tender and had great flavor it just needed more intensity, more heat. Of course I realized the solution after I finished the pork and moved on to the chicken.

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When you bite into the chicken tamale you really taste slow cooked chicken at its best. To me it was reminiscent of a piece of chicken out of a pot of chicken and dumplings. Once again their tomatillo sauce was missing heat. While pondering the situation I realized the answer was right there all along on the menu board. For a quarter you can get a 2 oz. portion of red or green sauce, mild or hot.

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Next time I think I can see an Xmas tamale with my name on it. So should anyone from the Tamale Place read this I tip my hat to you folks for constructing a beautiful tamale.

The Tamale Place on Urbanspoon


3 in 1 Restaurant 4202 W. 56th Street

Today we traveled to the west side for some El Salvadoran treats. Pat discovered this place more by happen stance than anything else. His wife, Fran, brought him a tamale she had picked up at the City Market from the 3 in 1 Restaurant,it had a stand at the Farmer’s Winter Market. Sweet corn, pig and no onions. Love at first bite for Pat.

We don’t go to the west side that often so I was curious to see what sights I have been missing. Besides. I am a freak for tamales. Also I was quite curious about the name. At each table was a laminated sheet explaining the origin of their name. I thought it was a touching story so I am posting a copy.

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I wish to apologize in advance for my pictures. Normally I make up for my lack of photographic skill by taking multiple shots, and picking the best to publish. However my batteries were dying so I couldn’t.

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As you can see the prices are more than reasonable. They also have a special on Pupusas, 2 for $5. A pupusa is a thick corn cake stuffed with various tasty things. Chicken or pork and cheese or loroco and cheese. Loroco is an edible flower. An item I have heard of but never tried. Both pupusa and loroco are common in El Salvador. And the closest I have been to El Salvador is Costa Rica .

We ordered Deep Fried Corn Balls and a Riqua to share. A riqua is like a unstuffed pupusa.

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These bad boys were delicious. Look like hush puppies don’t they? That’s what they taste like, but sweeter due to the corn used. At the owner’s suggestion I added powdered sugar to one and it was so reminiscent of a State Fair elephant ear my mouth thought it was August.  And if you added the house made tomatillo sauce the whole flavor profile changed. Instead of enhancing the sweet corn it complemented it with a note of sour and a touch of heat. I thought the tomatillo sauce was outstanding. Definitely one of the best I have had. Including my own.

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This is one-fourth of a riqua. We did it again. Eating before snapping. It too was tasty. Like a Johnny cake with extra sweetness.

Pat ordered a pork tamale and a chicken and cheese pupusa. Since I ordered a locoro pupusa we shared.

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As you can see their presentation is very utilitarian. In addition to the loroco pupusa, I got a plain tamale and a steak taco. They don’t add the garden to their tacos. For that they have a small cold table for the customer to add their own.3 in 1 009

The tamale was softer and sweeter than I am used to but it was good none the less. In the future I will go with pork. I know it wouldn’t be “authentic” but I think a little bacon with the pork would be a nice little addition. The loroco had a nice flavor but I am unable to describe it. The end taste was familiar  but I can’t quite put my tongue on what it is. I know that’s not much help but that’s the best I can do.The steak on my taco was tender, moist and abundant. I think the one factor that made this taco outstanding was the choices in the condiment table.

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In addition to the usual taco toppings they offered green olives, banana peppers, cojita cheese and a crazy slaw. Just shredded cabbage, carrot and lemon juice. Simple and delicious. And the addition of green olives to a taco is brilliant. I can not believe I have not tried it before now.

So if you like good eats with a Latin flair then you should get to 3 in 1 Restaurant. The family that owns the joint is earnest and committed to good food. Also I noticed on a sign as we were leaving you can get the Fried Corn Balls with bacon and cheese for about a buck more. Fried corn, bacon AND cheese. The 3 main food groups.

3 in 1 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 
http://www.3in1restaurant.com/