Friday, October 31, 2014

Restaurant Review: Redondo Taqueria

Yesterday I reviewed Mazunte - one of the latest taquerias in town - and today - it's #2 with a review of Redondo Taqueria. Redondo is at Newport on the Levee's street level and replaced the Toro restaurant and is attached to Axis Alley (bowling). 

They have a fantastic patio outside - with big comfy couches and fire pits as well as a life-size jenga game! Sounds like some drinking fun is waiting to happen there! (Next work Happy Hour anyone?)

We were then introduced to our server - Valentine. Normally I don't talk about servers but it's hard not to with this guy. He's FANTASTIC!!! I'm a bit obnoxious (shocker right?) and a smart a$$ - and he went toe-to-toe with me and my snarkiness. I would (and do) go back just for Valentine! So when you go - ask for him. :-)

We had the chips and salsa first to nosh on - I'm not exactly sure if that's included or charged - but we weren't charged (and we paid for all our visits - they didn't even know about my blog). The chips are soooooo good! They're warm and have big hunks of sea salt. The salsa is fine - nothing special but I like it. I have also asked for a small cup of queso and it's REALLY good. :-) (Of course I did - I'm a queso addict!)

I will say - I've been there 3x in 10 days. Is it the best taqueria in the world? No - but it's really good and it's super convenient and it has a great server in Valentine. 

All three times I got the tres tacos (someone asked Valentine how many tacos are in the tres tacos- oye vay!). The tres tacos is either 3 of one kind or any combo of them ($8-11). My standard is the crispy fish and two carnitas. 

The crispy fish is topped with radish, cilantro, citrus slaw and tomatillo aioli ($10 for 3). It's really good! I like it BETTER than Mazunte! The breading is so crispy - loved it! 

Then I get two of the Carnitas ($8) topped with pineapple salsa, pickled onion and cotija. It's everybodys favorite - the pineapple really sets of the shredded pork. Delicious! I'd say this is on par with Mazunte. This is sweeter but they're both my favorite. 

I've also had the short rib and poblano. Short rib is usually something I obsess over but oddly enough I didn't care for it on the taco - it was a little tough. The poblano had a lot of great toppings but I didn't care for the bitterness of the cooked pepper - it's also the spiciest of them. 

We also tried dessert there once - mainly because I'm obsessed with Tres Leches cake. This was a big let down and not NEAR as good as Chuy's. In actuality - when they brought it out - it was still frozen and basically inedible. Once we mentioned it - they took it off our bill. Valentine tried to get us to get churros (which I love) but we're usually too full after the chips and tacos. 

Why Should You Go? We love it - we work right across the river and the Levee has free parking Mon-Thurs. A lot of people on Urbanspoon compare this to Bakersfield - and I think a bit unfairly. Bakersfield is good - but I don't think their tacos are any better (their guac and queso are great). And personally - I don't plan on EVER waiting 2 hours for a table or food.  If you want great service (Valentine), delicious tacos and free parking (Mon-Thurs Lunch) - then check out Redondo.  

Redondo Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Restaurant Review: Mazunte Taqueria

So we're going to do two days of Taquerias - today it's Mazunte in Madisonville and tomorrow Redondo in Newport! I'm just obsessed with tacos - so I just keep going to them! 

Many people wonder - where the heck is Mazunte??? It's at Red Bank & Madison next to the Rainbow Car Wash. Just be forewarned - it's closed on Sundays - I found out the hard way - drool coming down my cheek on a Sunday - then I pulled in and REJECTED! 

The first thing you see when you walk in is the tortilla station. This lady has the hookup - graffiti, tortillas, chips, salsa and drinks - all within arms reach. You order at the counter and then find a seat (if you can) - then head over to this little lady with your bowl & cup in hand to get your fresh chips, salsa and a drink!

There are a range of seats - from picnic tables outside to stoops inside. The stoops are BY FAR the least comfortable things in the joint. Its like I'm at a spin class that won't end. Thankfully for us - two seats opened up at the bar!

Ahhhhh - chairs! Plus you get to watch them cook!!!

We grabbed our chips and salsa - they have 4 different choices and with the $1.50 salsa bar you can have as much as you want.

Oh the drinks!!! They have sodas but you can also get more authentic drinks. They have horchata and I tried the hibiscus flower water and...

It was delicious! It's like grape juice without the tang and tart. It's just nice, sweet and fruity! I loved it - I definitely will get this every time I go back. I had a Hibiscus Lemonade at a restaurant in Chicago and this reminded me of it - yum! I'm not sure if you get free refills - I wanted more - but I didn't want to seem greedy. So good.

So here are the chips & salsa - you get your bowl when you pay - then take it over and get some hot, fresh, crisp tortillas - sometimes blue - sometimes yellow - sometimes both! I liked the greenish salsa the best - it was a little spicy but not too much. Yum! I also could have devoured about 3 bowls of these but was trying to be good. :-)

My friend Kelly and I got the same order of 3 mixed tacos ($9) - except she got grilled fish and I got fried. This is her grilled fish taco.

These both come with Mexican slaw, guacamole and mango-habanero salsa. The mango makes it just a little sweet while the habanero adds the kick. I loved the fish - it was nice and crispy. 

We both also got the Sangria marinated skirt steak tacos topped with red-onion, pico and goat cheese. They were very heavy handed with the goat cheese - which I LOVE - but even for me - it was heavy. We both liked it and ate it - but it was our least favorite. 

Now the shredded pork topped with avocado salsa & salsa rojo was our FAVORITE! I didn't reallize but the menu online says you can sub out chicken or chorizo on this. Now I know my next order - one of each!!!  This was delicious and I could have downed two orders of these! So good! I highly recommend 3 of the shredded pork!

They also have sides - one of which is Grilled Corn ($3 - seasonal) with dried chili, aioli, lime and cheese. It looked so good - but I was pretty full and didn't feel like spending $3 for it when I wasn't that hungry.  
Why Should You Go? Cuz it's awesome! But I pretty much say that about any taqueria. I guess at least I can tell you to get the pork tacos for sure. I've also heard good things about the blue enchiladas. I will give you fair warning - if you go at peak dining times - prepare for a wait. 
Be sure to check back tomorrow for my review of Redondo! 

Mazunte Taqueria Mexicana on Urbanspoon