How To Be an Adventurous Eater

The dictionary defines adventurous as “willing to incur hazard, fond of adventure, daring, or courageous.”  It seems that a common theme I see in food shows from various countries is that the (usually American) host is dared to eat some kind of local delicacy that I am sure most Americans would not normally try.

This topic came to my mind when I saw a recent episode of CBS Sunday Morning (from Nov. 22, 2015) which was devoted exclusively to food (something that is appropriate for the Thanksgiving week).  One of the segments was about “Food Preferences,” which explored the reasons why different people have different tastes in food.  In the segment they visited a Japanese restaurant in New York City which was well known for serving all types of cow body parts.  They do not disguise it as “mystery meat” and for people from certain parts of Japan it is perfectly natural to eat things such as cow’s tongue and cow testicles (both of these are found in many other cuisines as well).

The CBS show described diners ordering these items as “adventurous eaters.”  They described how some people are brought up on certain foods so that they have a taste for them, and to these people this type of food is not adventurous.  I suppose that how people would define “adventurous” depends on whether they consider it to be a positive or a negative.  If I think being an adventurous eater is good, I would have satisfaction in eating certain foods that most other people do not.  If being an adventurous eater is bad, then I would consider people a little bit off if they eat foods that most of us would not touch.

I still remember an episode of Beverly Hills 90210 in which Brenda and Donna were in Paris eating at a restaurant.  Not wanting to look too out of place in a French restaurant, they ordered something at random from the menu without asking for a translation of it.  When it arrived they were quite shocked to discover that they had been served brains.  Their common sense kicked in, though, and they did not eat it.  The moral of this is that even the best cuisines in the world can sometimes require that adventurous eating be stretched too far.

In my blog I encourage people to try things at restaurants that I think most of us would like if we just knew what it was and how to order it.  This task is made difficult by culture and language differences at many ethnic restaurants, so I do the best I can to unravel these mysteries.  I can do a better job with the cuisines I know best (mainly Mexican and Chinese), but I try to explore others as well.  In any case, I attempt to give readers a variety of options, both for those who would be considered adventurous eaters and for those who like to stick with more traditional fare (although I keep in mind that the latter is generally well covered by other web sites).

No matter where people are on the “adventurous” curve, there are plenty of others at the same place. I hope to challenge people to be adventurous in trying new things because many of them are quite delicious (at least in my experience).  If they turn out not to be so delicious, I will give readers the benefit of my experience.

People are either adventurous by nature or they are not, but I think most of us can be stretched at least a little bit.  I think it is good, though, to know what we are getting into (as the fictional story about the girls from Beverly Hills demonstrated).  In any case, eating at restaurants should be fun and maybe an adventure (but the adventure needs to be within our comfort zone).

Some Enchiladas in Oklahoma City that are Worth Seeking Out

On the subject of enchiladas, I think the biggest news for Oklahoma City is how much they have improved over the past 20, 10 or even 5 years.  I know that some of the best enchiladas (and Mexican food in general) is found south of Interstate 40.  This article, though, is not about the best enchiladas in the Metro, but rather about some interesting ones I have found in the north part of town (and which I think compare favorably to other cities).

Several of the enchiladas mentioned are from restaurants that are known primarily for their American style Tex-Mex food (not in these words, of course, but this is how I think of them).  Even in some of these restaurants, though, I have found some gems which I thought should be shared.

The following list is not ranked in any order, but it goes roughly from west to east:

 

Green Chile Kitchen

12 E. Main St.
Yukon, OK

Review of Green Chile Kitchen

In some ways I thought their presentation of New Mexican cuisine fell a little flat, but the green chile was excellent, and one of the best ways to get this is in the green enchiladas.

Green chile enchiladas at Green Chile Kitchen

Green chile enchiladas at Green Chile Kitchen

Green enchiladas are served just about everywhere in New Mexico, and now they are available at Green Chile Kitchen in Yukon.  I thought these enchiladas were special because of the green chile, which has a more pure chile taste than many of the others in the Oklahoma City area.  It is not over-the-top spicy, just a flavorful chile with a little bit of kick.

 

San Marcos Restaurant No. 3

12201 N. Rockwell Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Review of San Marcos

San Marcos has four restaurants in the Oklahoma City Metro (including one south of Interstate 40), but this location is the one at which I have personal experience.  I think the menu is the same at all of the restaurants, but the “authentic” dishes seem to be seldom ordered at the Rockwell location (and I would guess, based on the demographics of the other neighborhoods, that they would be more popular at these restaurants).

Green enchiladas at San Marcos

Green enchiladas at San Marcos

I have to give the disclaimer that the most authentic enchiladas are not necessarily the best ones, but in this case I think it is worth giving the green enchiladas at San Marcos a try.  Like the previous restaurant mentioned in Yukon, you will not get a dish here which is super spicy (but yes, it is a little bit spicy).  This is a green tomatillo sauce which I think is popular in central and southern Mexico.  For this particular sauce I like to get chicken enchiladas and some sour cream on the side (these are listed simply as “Green Enchiladas” on the menu).

 

Birrieria Diaz

6700 N.W. 39th Expressway
Bethany, OK

Review of Birrieria Diaz

Still on the far west side of Oklahoma City is a small restaurant serving authentic Mexican food that has made converts of many locals who formerly had Tex-Mex as the predominant choice.  Like most authentic Mexican restaurants, enchiladas are not a big part of the menu.  Also like most restaurants I have experienced in Mexico, the enchiladas here do not major on the cheese.  The root for the word “enchilada” is “chile,” and the dominant flavor of the enchiladas at Birrieria Diaz is the chile (either red or green).

Red enchiladas at Birrieria Diaz in Bethany

Red enchiladas at Birrieria Diaz in Bethany

The red and green enchiladas are both good, but I like the green slightly better.  The photo shows a full order of the red enchiladas (and both types of enchiladas are available in a half order).

 

Abel’s Mexican Restaurant

5822 N.W. 50th St.
Oklahoma City, OK

Review of Abel’s

Abel’s serves Tex-Mex style enchiladas, but the “Mexican” styled red and green enchiladas are the ones I think are special.  The green enchiladas at Abel’s have a sauce similar to the tomatillo sauce found at some other restaurants, but I particularly liked the flavor here (as well as the rice and beans, salsa, drinks, and the entire meal as a whole).

Green enchiladas at Abel's

Green enchiladas at Abel’s

Abel’s red enchiladas also make a good meal, and should be added to the list of “enchiladas worth seeking out.”

 

Casa Perico Mexican Grille

4521 N.W. 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK

Review of Casa Perico

I will have to say that I was somewhat surprised to find the next entry to this list at a restaurant that generally does not impress me very much, but I think the rajas enchiladas here are among the best enchiladas in the city.  Some rajas dishes seem to have a very odd flavor, but Casa Perico does it the right way (in my opinion, of course).

Enchiladas de rajas at Casa Perico

Enchiladas de rajas at Casa Perico

These have a very robust chile flavor without being overly spicy, and the cheese provides a good balance to it.  Some even better news is that there is another Casa Perico at N.W. 122nd St. and Pennsylvania.

 

Poblano Grill

13593 N. May Ave.
Oklahoma City, OK

Review of Poblano Grill

Poblano Grill has a green tomatillo enchilada similar in quality to Abel’s (and others), but it is not on the menu.  It so happened that I asked the waiter if they could make a tomatillo enchilada, and I was rather surprised that they could!  It was even more of a surprise that it was one of the best green enchiladas I have had in OKC.

Tomatillo enchiladas at Poblano Grill

Tomatillo enchiladas at Poblano Grill

Poblano Grill is now on my short list of places I want to try again because of being able to make special orders, and because what I had was very satisfying.  When I said the Mexican restaurants have come a long way in the last few years, Poblano Grill is a prime example of this (most of the menu continues to be Tex-Mex, but it is a very good sign that they now have other items).

Poblano Grill also has a location in Midwest City.

 

Mamasita’s

1121 N. W. 63rd St.
Oklahoma City, OK

Review of Mamasita’s

I have not been to Mamsita’s for a while, and I do not know if they have changed the menu, but what I really liked was the fact that they served enchiladas with blue corn tortillas.  I think Green Chile Kitchen in Yukon was thinking about doing this, but of course it is better if you can actually get it this way when you go.

Enchiladas with blue corn tortillas at Mamasita's

Enchiladas with blue corn tortillas at Mamasita’s

Overall I did not think this was actually one of the best enchiladas in Oklahoma City, but just the fact that it had blue corn tortillas made it a treat for me.