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Posts Tagged ‘mexican’

amor mexico

This Sunday, my oldest friend Rachael came down to stay, the first time she’s slept over at my house since sometime in high school. She lives two hours away now and we don’t see each other often, but whenever we do it’s like it was when she lived around the corner from me when we were four years old, and we ate candy and watched tv and didn’t talk about boys because Teach was in the room, but we would have, believe me. Anyway, so we’re vegetarian and she is most definitely not, and one of the easiest places to deal with such situations is a good Tex-Mex joint. Not too far away from us in Forest Hill is Amor Mexico, a cheerful bright place with stellar service and good food, and they note on the menu that they’re happy to adapt food for allergies, and they mean it. This is only the second time we’ve been there, and they already remembered the Rocket and didn’t bat an eyelid when I ordered the vegetarian La Combinacion without any cheese.

There’s a little dedicated corner with some Duplo, books and toys, and they brought the Rocket a jar of pencils and a page to colour while she was waiting. (In that picture above, she’s not bored, just concentrating real hard.) She had rice and part of an enchilada for dinner, then sat quietly on the floor letting us completely ignore her while the rest of us finished our food. And it’s good, hearty fare, lotsa frijoles and hard-shell tacos and rice and, well, you know the drill. Like last time, I ordered the strawberry virgin margarita and made everyone jealous because it is DELICIOUS.

It’s made it swiftly onto my list of Nearby Restaurants To Take Friends (along with Vegie Hut and basically nowhere else in the eastern suburbs), because I love hanging out with friendly people and they are the friendliest, and they give out free corn chips with salsa when you arrive. Not even my favourite friends do that. NOT YET, ANYWAY, RIGHT GUYS? *pointed glare*

 

Amor Mexico

13 Mahoneys Rd

Forest Hill

ph: 9878 9508

website

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Look, if you don’t like Mexican food then we just can’t be friends. And I probably don’t mean authentic Mexican food, because how would I know? So many places now claim to be authentic but the closest I’ve come to Mexico was when I flew into LA to spend five hours in an airport. So should I call it Tex-Mex? Should I just get back to the topic on hand?

 

 

Guzman y Gomez (the y means and–aren’t you glad I’m here to help you with these difficult life moments?) but who cares, what you need to know is that Guzman y Gomez is basically the bestest, freshest, excellente-est Mexican food in Melbourne, probably. And I’ve sampled a decent amount, because if I know anything, it’s where I can get corn chips at short notice.

 

tacos never photograph well. what is with that?

 

This place ticks a lot of my boxes. 1) close to public transport. 2) has high chairs. TWO high chairs. 3) hard shell tacos (soft shell is really just a burrito, amirite?) 4) filling is awesome. 5) Jarritos. 6) CONDIMENT BAR. 7) swift service because I am basically without patience. 8) the choose your start/filling/sauce means it’s basically as  choose your own adventure, except the adventure is that you get to eat a taco/burrito that is great instead of getting eaten by a lion like in the books. 9) the Rocket approves of the beans. 10) also she ate part of a menu because babies live in opposites land pretty much all the time. 11) the filling is the freshest, loveliest thing ever. There are beans and capsicum and so many good things. I don’t even know or care. It is mind-blowing. The first time Teach and I went there, we were having a bit of a disagreement and the food was so good it literally fixed our fight, because we couldn’t be mad when tacos could be this good.

 

 

The cons: 1) the corn chips are a little dry, but not if you eat them with salsa or the frankly amazing guac or the filling that fell out of your taco. And if you’re not doing that, then you’re weird. 2) the menus are not edible. 3) they don’t have Trippy Fries, unlike Trippy Taco which has Trippy Fries. 4) they aren’t next to my house.

 

The entry is wide and flat. Prams can fit somewhere. Numerous high chairs. There’s a bathroom but I haven’t used it. Ordering at a typical fast-food counter.

 

Guzman y Gomez

 

289-299 Swanston St (kind of opposite the State Library)

Melbourne

9988 1402

website

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senoritas

Mexican food is having quite the resurgence in Melbourne lately, and I am ALL FOR IT. Chips. Salsa. Guacamole. Other things. We make a tremendously lazy and tasty chili non carne at least once a week and both secretly want it the other six days. So far we’ve tried impossible-to-get-a-table-at Mamasita, and gone to fast-food versions Mad Mex and Salsa’s super frequently.  Shortly, I hope to try Guman  y Gomez which has just opened on Swanston St in the city. And recently, after a tip-off from my friend Liz, we tried the atmospheric Senoritas.

 

Down one of Melbourne’s laneways that hide great food (as opposed to the ones that hide a couple of dumpsters and the half-assed graffiti of eleven-year-olds), and up an end of town we don’t go to much any more, you’ll find Senoritas tucked away and looking very excellent the moment you walk in. With glittering Day of the Dead artwork, masks, life-size statues and moody lighting, it’s the kind of place you should take a date. So, uh, don’t do what we did and take a baby. We did wait until after two o’clock to avoid the crowds, and for a while we were the only people in the place – also, the staff were very kind about the baby and made admiring noises about her big gummy smile. But unlike the fast food joints or even the brightly-lit Mamasita, this is more like a bar with food.

 

 

The food, though, is worth a visit. A warning, though: Liz pointed me in the direction of Senoritas due to the extensive vegan labelling on the menu, but after a chat with the waiter, it turns out that by vegan they just mean vegetarian. So instead of virtually everything in the appetizers and desserts being something I could have, it was a much more limited offering. To his credit, the waiter figured out what was cooked with dairy and what wasn’t, rustled up some good ideas and then even threw in a few extra tortillas for the confusion. Thanks, nice waiter. They’d already won me over when we got a little bowl of free tortilla chips as soon as we sat down, which you could then have with this cool selection of three salsas in bottles that decorate every table. And LO, they were ALL GOOD.

 

 

So, we had the tostadas de cactus (cactus, capsicum, onion, black beans and herbs) without the queso fresco. It made me wish I’d kept some of the tortilla chips or ordered more, because the topping far outweighed the chip underneath. It was tangy and strange – I don’t think I’ve had cactus before – but delish all the same. Next, I was served up the vegetables al ajillo (seasonal vegetables with garlic, chili and lime juice) along with cumin flavoured rice and the above tortillas. I rolled me up some tasty food and then slowly chomped down more of the vegetables. I was full before the end, however, and sharing some of the strips of vegetables with the Rocket which, let’s face it, wasn’t my best idea. Babies don’t appreciate chili, who knew? Wimps.

 

For a drink I had the lovely, sweet and fresh non-alcoholic jamaica (hibiscus and agave are in it, I think?) and was entirely happy. The waiter says the menu will be updated soonish, allowing for more vegan options and clearer labelling. It’s sad, really, that it’s not really baby-appropriate; there’s space, and no steps (that I can recall), and Teach says the toilet is gorgeous and big. Oh well, you can’t take your baby everywhere, just like you don’t take your mother to Quentin Tarantino movies.

 

Senoritas

16 Meyers Place

Melbourne

9639 7437

website

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trippy taco

The weather was unexpectedly excellent this afternoon, so once we’d done enough block-flinging (the Rocket) and cartoon-watching (Teach) we went out to Fitzroy to the endlessly tasty Trippy Taco. We’ve just recently rediscovered this place after a few years of neglecting it (why past self, why?) and have visited it relentlessly since. We generally order the same thing (two mandarin Jarritos, trippy fries, quesadilla for Teach and the tofu asada tacos for me) but with Teach limited to one arm and me limited to one arm due to being the one to hold the baby, we both ordered burritos.

Teach ordered the original, and I got the tofu asada (because, well, I don’t really like change), the Rocket ate some of her That’s Not My Robot book and as per usual everything was delish. The trippy fries have this smoky seasoning that is near-mythical in vegetarian circles, and help me with my need for skinny fries. The tofu asada burrito (or tacos) is full of spicy chargrilled tofu, cheese (real or soy), salad and salsa, with a squeeze of lime. It was the right decision regarding the ability to eat it one-handed, but still ended up over everything, including my chair. Lord, do I love me the tofu asada–I don’t know what they do with the tofu, because I am bad at all things tofu, but these guys make it divine. There’s a step into the cafe and it is almost always insanely busy and is far too crowded for a pram inside–though not as much as their previous location on Smith St–but they’ve never minded us bringing the Rocket in, and today we sat next to a two-year-old who pointed out to the Rocket what teeth and chairs were, and called her gorgeous. So their clientele is clearly one of excellent taste.

After that, we wanted to make the most out of the weather and the end of Teach’s school holidays, so we went to Studley Park in Kew to look at the ducks. Teach bought some duck food and we sat by the Yarra River feeding them, and the Rocket was having a grand old time watching them intently. Turns out, ducks there are very tame, and will come right up to you for food. Turns out, baby toes look like duck food. Upshot is she got nommed on the foot, I shrieked unhelpfully, and that is probably the story of Why Rocket Hates Ducks Forever.

Trippy Taco

234 Gertrude St

Fitzroy

9415 7711

website

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mamasita

Yesterday poor Teach broke his arm leaping tall buildings in a single bound*, which is an unfortunate turn of events for our little family. He’s in a plaster cast from below his shoulder to his wrist, and can no longer do his favourite things: 1) hold the baby, 2) play guitar, and 3) squeeze his best gal, aka me. (I’m pretty sure I have correctly listed his concerns in anguish order there.) So I’m on nappy, driving and dishwashing duty for a month while he heals, and I feel terrible for him and for me too because I am ultimately selfish. The Rocket hasn’t quite twigged that her papa is not able to play airplane with her for a while, and mostly thinks his sling is some kind of newfangled toy.

Despite breaking a bone less than twenty-four hours earlier, he was still keen on catching up with his fellow-teacher pal Michael in the city, and so I caught up with my pal Steph, accompanying her on her first visit to Mexican restaurant Mamasita. I’ve been there a bunch with my dear friend Lilli, so I got to be the knowledgeable one and show off my inability to say simple Spanish phrases eg. “los dos”, but my ability to get us a table without queuing (go around 2pm for lunch, otherwise prepare to wait for eternity.) Happily, the Rocket fell asleep in her carrier by the time we got there, so eating was easier.

First, we got totopos los dos (tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole), along with a blood orange juice. The chips are awesome. The salsa and guac are excellently done accompaniments. The juice was refreshing and totally perfect for a hot day.

Next we got my recommendation and perennial favourite, the de Maiz tostaditas: sweetcorn, black beans, epazote with jalapeno salsa on tortilla chips (I order them without cheese and they’re always happy to do that.) My favourite thing to do is borrow some chips from the totopos and stretch the dish out further, piling the topping on top of more chips, as you get four in a serving but they are heaped with food. I love these to pieces and cannot recommend them enough. They are fresh and tangy and feel absolutely generously served. Yummmmm.

We’d ordered two tacos too–we were going to split those like we did the tostaditas–asking for the de Berenjena (eggplant, zucchini, crispy quinoa and guacamole), but were told they’d changed the vegetarian taco option to one that I now cannot remember, but it involved beans and a kind of pickle/coleslaw affair. This was delivered with a mild pico de gallo too, and was delicious but fair warning, actually pretty spicy. I’d hoped the tacos would arrive before the Rocket woke up, but she opened her eyes before they got to the table, which was probably a better option because they were hella messy to eat and I would have dribbled beans all over her hair if she’d stayed in the Baby Bjorn. As it was, she sat beside me and I gave her my slice of lime, thinking she’d pull a hilarious face and resent me for it until she was 21, but in fact she chewed it happily and gave me enough time to indelicately eat my taco.

The whole meal was totally satisfying, and came to a pretty reasonable $44 for the two of us. We were too full to try the sorbet in a cone, which is a bit sad (also I’m sad they didn’t have the stewed apple/pear sorbet dessert I usually share with Lilli), but will endeavour to do so next time.

We followed it up, predictably, with coffees and cupcakes from Cupcake Central. The chocolate peanut butter ones are very tasty, but the cherry coconut has ruined me for other cupcakes forever. Teach met up with us and had a passionfruit cupcake and a milkshake. A fair reward for breaking a bone, I think.

Mamasita

Level 1/11 Collins St

Melbourne

9650 3821

website

Entry is via a narrow flight of stairs. If you go at midday or dinnertime, expect a queue; they’ll take your number and call you when a table’s free. I’m not sure if they have high chairs, but they were totally fine with me taking the Rocket in and sat us at a table with a booth instead of at a high counter. In fact the service was roundly excellent.

* not entirely true

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