El Rincon de Cortez (Sun Bowl)–El Paso, TX

El Rincon de Cortez
3415 Sun Bowl Dr.
El Paso, TX
(915) 544-2808
El Rincon de Cortez on Sun Bowl

El Rincon de Cortez on Sun Bowl


El Rincon de Cortez is a favorite lunch hangout in the UTEP area, located near the Sun Bowl on a street that is quite busy on game days and when classes are in session, but otherwise would not be called one of El Paso’s main drags. Instead, it seems that word of mouth brings consistent business to this modest restaurant.

With a second location now on the east side of El Paso, El Rincon de Cortez remains a favorite place to order Mexican steaks (in fact, I usually think of it as the place for Chihuahua style steaks). In the 1990’s I had the opportunity to visit the city of Chihuahua and go to one of the city’s most famous steak restaurants, so I have some point of reference for this type of cuisine. I do not think El Rincon de Cortez uses cuts of meat that are quite as good as I experienced in Chihuahua, but they are good nonetheless, and El Rincon offers so many good items to go with the steaks that it is a very worthwhile experience. The menu at El Rincon has a wide variety of items so that it is not exclusively a steak house, but I think the steaks are what set it apart from most other restaurants.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa are provided to each diner even before an order is made, and both are very good (but I think the salsa is particularly notable).

Steaks

Tampiqueña steak

Tampiqueña steak

Most of the most popular steaks at El Rincon de Cortez are rib-eyes with different Mexican style toppings. The Tampiqueña Steak is one of the best, with a tomato, pepper, onion, and Mexican style cheese topping that is hard to beat. The Guacamole that comes with it is the only aspect of the dinner that I think could use some help, but the rice and beans were delicious.

The Red Enchilada that came with the tampiqueña steak had a strong, earthy red chile flavor (as I have usually found it in northern Mexico), and was quite good.

I used to order the Chuleta Mexicana on a regular basis, and found the meat a little tough but the flavor delicious. This is a rib-eye steak topped with tomato, pepper, and onions, with guacamole on the side. I think they might add some extra seasonings to the meat to give it a different flavor from the tampiqueña–I thought it had a more distinct taste than simply omitting the cheese that is on the tampiqueña.

Flautas
I thought the Chicken Flautas were some of the best in El Paso, despite the fact that the guacamole was mediocre. The shell was cooked to just the right crispiness, and the white meat chicken chunks were very fresh. They are not stingy with the sour cream, as is the case at some restaurants. Even though El Rincon is famous for its steaks, it seemed that the chicken was even better in terms of meat quality.

Breakfast

Huevos rancheros

Huevos rancheros

Huevos Rancheros come with very spicy green chile, a pool of queso, but no salsa other than the green chile. I think this is an excellent version, and one of the best in El Paso. The cheese sauce is what really separates it from others (I am not normally a big fan of cheese unless it is especially good, as I found the one here to be).

The Hash Browns were excellent. Unlike other refried beans I have had at this restaurant, these could have been better. My conclusion is that there is quite a bit of variation in the beans according to the cook, and possibly the time of day.

Other Menu Items
A good selection of tacos is available, and I imagine they are as good or better than the steaks. If you want vegetarian Mexican food, though, I think you are out of luck at El Rincon de Cortez (the cheese enchiladas do not have meat, but I would not be surprised if they are made with lard). My comment about the lard would apply to the beans as well (the non-meat breakfast items come with beans).

Drinks
The Horchata was possibly the best in El Paso. It had a creamy texture, was well flavored with cinammon, and was not too sweet. It would really be worth ordering just to get an idea of how a good horchata is supposed to taste.

Additional Comments
Prices are moderate, and I do not believe they use bad cuts of meat but they are not the most expensive either. It certainly gives customers the type of experience they would have in a family style steak restaurant in northern Mexico. It also allows people to have a good steak without breaking the bank.

Breakfast is the only time I have seen the restaurant packed with people, and obviously this is a very popular time for people to come. Other than the good flavor, what I like about breakfast is that it is not too expensive and I do not get so much food that it is then hard to enjoy lunch.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Mexican Chihuahua
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. Evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No
Special Features: Serves Breakfast

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 31, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Steak Tampiqueña, Flautas, Huevos Rancheros, Horchata

 

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Red Enchiladas
star 5 Steak Tampiqueña
star 5 Flautas
star 5 Huevos Rancheros
star 4 Guacamole
star 5 Rice
star 4 Chips
star 5 Salsa
star 5 Horchata

Los Mariachis–Las Cruces, NM

Los Mariachis
754 N. Motel Blvd.
Las Cruces, NM
(575) 523-7058
Los Mariachis

Los Mariachis


Los Mariachis in Las Cruces could also be called the Roving Mariachis, having moved from its original location in Mesilla to the west side of Las Cruces.  The distance moved was only two or three miles, but after eating at the new restaurant I suspected some other changes had occurred, such as changes to the menu. I decided it would be best to start over with a new review and appraisal of the food, although what I tried was influenced by what I liked best at the old restaurant.

The restaurant entrance

Los Mariachis entrance

Los Mariachis’ modern building is more spacious than at the old restaurant, and the large parking lot (contrasted to the very constrained parking at the old restaurant) probably explains the reason for the move. I think its popularity in Mesilla allowed the owners to open a larger restaurant, and its current popularity is evident by the reviews I read on the Internet.

Chips and Salsa

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

The excellent chips and salsa are one feature that has been carried over from the old restaurant. I rate the Salsa as among the best in Las Cruces, and the Chips equally (although this is not as important as the salsa being good). The salsa had a good flavor and a good spice (“good” being defined as definitely there but not so overwhelming that it numbed my tongue so that I could not taste the flavors).

Stuffed Sopapillas

Stuffed sopapillas

Stuffed sopapillas

Stuffed Sopapillas are an item I frequently order in New Mexico because of the fact that it is almost non-existent in El Paso. Previously I had thought the ones here were some of the best in Las Cruces. After some additional experimentation I still feel this way, but with some qualifications.

The stuffed sopapillas shown in the above photo not only had different toppings but also different fillings (on the Stuffed Sopapillas plate you have several choices, and the two on the plate can be different as mine were).

The one in front had shredded beef with green chile on top. I ordered this because it was the waiter’s recommendation, and it turned out to be my favorite of the two. The most surprising thing about it was that the green chile replaced the red I had at the old restaurant as my favorite. In fact, this was easily one of the top green chiles I have had in New Mexico. The shredded beef was also excellent. The menu gives a choice of shreded beef, chicken, or ground beef, but they also allow you to make other choices (such as the beans I really liked in the stuffed sopapillas at the Mesilla restaurant).

The other sopapilla was topped with red chile with chile con carne inside (one of several choices suggested by the waiter although it is not listed on the menu). The chile con carne was spicy, though, and I really do not recommend getting something spicy inside when the chile on top is quite spicy in itself. It tasted good, but I cannot say I enjoyed it as much as the spicy green chile contrasted with the non-spicy shredded beef.

Another difference I noted, though, was in the chiles. Both were spicy, but the green chile had a fresh and crisp flavor while the red sauce seemed filled with too many other ingredients that did not make it taste like the red chile I have enjoyed over the years (or like the one I had at the Mesilla restaurant). In short, the red chile was not as good as before, while the green one was better. The sopapilla itself had the same excellent flavor as before, and I was completely satisfied with the green one (although the red was also pretty good).

Red Enchiladas
I reported on my previous review that I also really liked the red enchiladas, but now I would recommend the green.

Rice and Beans
The beans and rice were very good, very much like the ones in other restaurants. The important thing is that the beans are suitable to put inside the stuffed sopapilla if you want a vegetarian version.

Other Notes

The cashier

Specials are posted as you enter

They sometimes have specials, such as the albondigas posted on the board the day I went.

One of the keys of this restaurant is that they make substitutions to give you the food you want, and the waiter did a very good job of working with me to offer some good choices on the stuffed sopapillas. Whatever menu changes they have made are not terribly important because they will make your food the way you want whether it is on the menu or not.

I am not sure whether the red and green chiles have actually changed from their Mesilla location or whether my tastes have changed, but based on experiences at other restaurants I tend to think the former (the chiles at other restaurants still taste the same to me as before). I still like Los Marichias as much as before, but I have switched from being a red person to a green one (at least based on this one experience I have had).

I changed the chile index from “5 chiles” at the old restaurant to 4 here, and I think this is actually a good thing (there is still enough spice to really enjoy it). My stuffed sopapilla with chile con carne inside, though, was still at the 5 spice level.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Mexican New Mexican
Cost: $$
Hours: Closed Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: Beer

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 27, 2017
Number of Visits: 2
Best Items: Stuffed Sopapillas, Salsa

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: Vegetable
Special Ratings
star 5 Stuffed Sopapilla
star 5 Beans
star 4 Rice
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa

Christmas in Southern New Mexico–Tularosa, NM

For those who might be in the Alamogordo or Ruidoso area at Christmas, one way to experience a traditional New Mexico Christmas is to see the luminarias at the Catholic Church in Tularosa, a historic town about ten miles north of Alamogordo.

Setting up luminarias

Setting up luminarias in Tularosa, NM

These photos were taken during the afternoon of Christmas Eve when it seems that practically the entire town participates in setting up luminarias. Hundreds of luminarias are set up outlining the church, lighting up the church grounds, and following the main street in town leading to the church. They are lit at nightfall in preparation for the the special Christmas Eve service which takes place at the church.

The Catholic Church in Tularosa

Saint Francis de Paula Church

The church in Tularosa has the typical Spanish style architecture that is found in New Mexico, and this one dates from 1869. Even without Christmas decorations the town is quite photogenic, and is worth a stop if you are in the area. With the Sacramento Mountains as the backdrop, the White Sands to the west, and extensive pistachio orchards to the south, this is one of the most scenic spots in New Mexico any time of the year. I will say from experience that usually the weather in this part of the state is agreeable enough to enjoy the celebration and possibly a few outdoor activities during the daytime.

The manger scene

The manger scene

The tradition of luminarias signifies lighting the way for Mary and Joseph to find their way to the stable where Jesus is about to come into the world. The tradition of lighting luminarias is found in towns throughout New Mexico, but I find the light show in Tularosa to be one of the most impressive I have seen.

Casa de Sueños

Casa de Sueños Restaurant in Tularosa

Of course most restaurants are closed late on Christmas eve and on Christmas day, but at other times visitors to Tularosa can enjoy traditional New Mexican cuisine at Casa de Sueños on the south edge of town. I particularly liked the red enchiladas with blue corn tortillas (the blue corn variety is not normally served in southern New Mexico). Casa de Sueños is not particularly spicy, but it is spicy enough to be what I would call “real” New Mexican food that is not dumbed down for tourists. Quite a few tourists stop here, though, because of its reputation for serving delicious New Mexican style food.

I also discovered another stop a few miles south of Tularosa on U.S. 54 and 70 where the McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch has its store and winery at 7320 US 54/70 (but don’t worry about the address, just look for the giant pistachio on the west side of the highway).

 

The giant pistachio at McGinn's

The giant pistachio marks the location of McGinn’s Pistachio Tree Ranch

 

Of course one of the main items for sale is the pistachios grown on the McGinn Ranch, and these come in different sized bags according to how many you think you might need. They have a number of different flavored nuts, but after trying several of the free samples I decided to go with the plain ones.

Quite a number of other items are also available, including New Mexico salsas.

McGinn’s is open daily according to the newmexico.org web site, but of course there may be special hours around Christmas.

Jalisco Cafe–El Paso, TX

Jalisco Cafe
1029 E. 7th Ave.
El Paso, TX
(915) 532-7174
Jalisco Cafe

Jalisco Cafe


Jalisco Cafe is one of those places that seems to be known almost exclusively by word of mouth. I am guessing it has been operating for at least forty years, but regardless of its history it has built up a customer loyalty that is matched by few other restaurants in El Paso.

The area of South El Paso, located between downtown El Paso and the Mexican border, is one of the city’s most historic areas. The neighborhood is little changed from the early twentieth century except for the upgrade and modernization of many of the former tenements. Jalisco Cafe is adjoined by several small apartments that give it the feel of being a true neighborhood restaurant. When I used to eat at Jalisco on a regular basis during my lunch hour I observed almost as many customers ordering take-out as were dining in the restaurant, and I think Jalisco Cafe has become an integral part of the neighborhood’s life. Other restaurants have come and gone over the years, but most people have considered Jalisco to have higher quality food and have continued to patronize it as much as possible.

Jalisco offers special dishes every day, as well as a regular menu that serves lunch portions of food at lunch prices. By this I mean that people will not fall asleep when they go back to work because of overeating at lunch. One of my biggest gripes with El Paso restaurants is that they serve portions that are too large, but most places do cut it back somewhat for their “lunch specials.” Since Jalisco Cafe only serves breakfast and lunch, quantities are already geared toward the amount of food that is comfortable for people during these times of the day.

Jalisco's interior

Jalisco’s interior

One reason lunch portions are kept small is so every customer can enjoy a bowl of soup before the meal. This is actually filling enough to serve as a meal if you order the large size, but a small one will leave room for one of the lunch plates. I have probably eaten just about all of the lunch plates, but because of my advancing years I am not going to try to give reviews of them by memory. Like most of the more authentic restaurants that prepare food much the same as in Ciudad Juarez (which in the case of Jalisco Cafe is only a few blocks away), the enchiladas were one of the items that was least memorable to me. I think Jalisco Cafe excels in the variety of foods it offers, such as tacos, stews, and even mole (served as a special on Wednesdays). I am not saying to avoid the enchiladas, I just did not make a mental note of them being among the best in the city.

While the food at Jalisco is true to the heritage of most Mexican food in El Paso that originated across the border in the state of Chihuahua, it also falls into what I call the “El Paso” style of Mexican food in offering more flavorful salsa than is usually found in Ciudad Juarez with less garlic and other ingredients that would tend to adulterate the chiles, better chips, and the variety of foods that are served in many El Paso restaurants. In fact, El Paso is somewhat of a “melting pot,” taking the best of Chihuahua cuisine but adding dishes from other places in Mexico as early residents and recent immigrants contributed them from their list of recipes. I think Jalisco Cafe offers the flavors of Chihuahua with a more consistent cooking quality than is typically found south of the border.

One place the quality of Jalisco Cafe can be seen is in the home made Corn Tortillas served with soup, and probably by request to anyone who wants them. These are so light and fresh that I think I have probably unconsciously used them as the standard for other restaurants in the city. I say “unconsciously” because I pretty much took for granted that El Paso had excellent tortillas until I found out otherwise by visiting other restaurants, particularly some of the ones in the suburban shopping malls. I am not sure how tortillas are usually made, but the ones here are thin and firm without being too hard, and have only the basic ingredients needed to provide a good taste.

Caldo de Res

Caldo de Res

Caldo de Res at Jalisco is the best I have ever tasted

It would probably not be an exaggeration to call the Caldo de Res the signature dish at Jalisco Cafe. This is another dish I took for granted until I found out that few other places could come close the quality of Jalisco’s. Just as the excellent tortillas are an integral part of enjoying this beef soup, so is the fact that the caldo is simmered long enough to infuse the flavors into the broth, give the vegetables the right texture, and make sure everything is cooked just right. I think the problem with most caldos served in El Paso (and even more so elsewhere) is that the vegetables either remain in their raw state, or else they are overdone. I think Jalisco also uses herbs and spices in a way that few others have mastered. While a good quality caldo can be made with lower quality cuts of beef, Jalisco excels by using high quality, non-fatty pieces that again make this one better than the caldos found at other restaurants. Limes are provided to cut down on the greasy flavor of the caldo (from the beef fat), but at Jalisco the limes are mainly for flavor since the grease is at very low levels.

The caldo in my photo is the small version usually ordered before patrons indulge in one of the lunch plates, but a large version can also be ordered that would pretty much serve as a meal in itself. In either case, if you can only try one caldo de res in El Paso, Jalisco would most likely be my suggestion. If there are others that are better I have not found them.

Daily Specials

Chicken mole

Mole available on Wednesday

The plate dinners at Jalisco are not large in size, but they pack a large amount of flavor into what they serve. For instance, the Chicken Mole served on Wednesday is made in the traditional style from Puebla, Mexico. It comes in a dark brown color with what many describe as a “chocolate” flavor, although it is much more complex than that. I find the mole at Jalisco to be very similar to the ones served at other restaurants, except for the fact that the chicken here is shredded into very small pieces.

Mole, the daily special for Wednesday, is only available on this day (I do not know if the same is true for other daily specials). It was not any more or less expensive than the other dinners, but I can say that I enjoyed it more than I have with some of the regular menu items I have tried in the past. In this respect it was truly a “special item” to me.

Other Menu Items
The items I tried years in the past are not ones that I will include in the review, but I can say that they have the full range of popular Mexican items. The ones that stick out in my mind as being good are the tacos and stews (chile verde, chile colorado, etc.).

Jaslisco Cafe does not have a full line of aguas frescas drinks, but the Lemonade is home made and is typical of this type of Mexican style drink. I thought it was a little too sweet, but it was very good.

Additional Comments
I do not find myself downtown at lunch time very often any more, but Jalisco Cafe remains one of the better choices in the area. It is a little off the beaten path, located on a neighborhood street, but it is well worth searching out. The dining room is rather small, but you know you are getting something authentic. One thing many people will appreciate is that fact that although it is located very near the Mexican border, you do not need to know any Spanish to communicate with the staff. Also you do not need to bring a lot of cash (Yelp says they accept credit cards but it is so cheap I do not bother with this).


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Mexican El Paso
Cost: $
Hours: Open Daily 8:00 am to 4:00 pm
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 13, 2017
Number of Visits: 10+
Best Items: Caldo de Res, Mole

 

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Caldo de Res
star 5 Mole
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa
star 4 Lemonade

Cafe Mayapan–El Paso, TX

Café Mayapán
2000 Texas Ave.
El Paso, TX
(915) 217-1126
Cafe Mayapan

Cafe Mayapan entrance to the mercado on the east side


Restaurant Web Site: Cafe Mayapan


Café Mayapán is more than just a restaurant, it is part of a nonprofit organization that provides job training and neighborhood revitalization as well as being part of a complex of businesses located in an old warehouse. The idea of Café Mayapán was to employ some of the displaced workers from the old factory where the restaurant is now located. Next door is a mercado selling arts and crafts, with several community organizations housed elsewhere in the building.

Cafe Mayapan restaurant entrance

Cafe Mayapan entrance to the restaurant on the north side

Café Mayapán knows it is in a tough neighborhood to serve dinner, and is only open on Monday through Saturday at the lunch period. I do not think many customers come to Café Mayapán strictly out of sympathy for the cause it represents, rather they are coming for some of the highest quality Mexican food in El Paso. I have to admire them for not serving the same type of food that can be found at numerous restaurants throughout the city. El Paso style food has its merits with hot chiles and robust flavors, but it is not the only type of Mexican food that exists. The style of food served in the interior of Mexico is quite hard to find on the borderland, but it is the theme of Café Mayapán. I cannot identify a specific state in Mexico as the source for the recipes used, instead I think they probably represent the varied background of the women involved in La Mujer Obrera (the organization which runs the restaurant and the non-profit organization).

Cafe Mayapan's dining room

Cafe Mayapan’s large dining room has a stage for performances

The interior is quite spacious and probably could accommodate many more tables than are available, but room has been left for a stage where mariachis perform on Fridays and other groups may occasionally provide entertainment. The restaurant uses traditional wooden furniture with comfortable pads to make it easy to spend a leisurely meal. A counter is available for takeout, but those wanting a regular meal can order at the table. Service is fast, as I found out when I have had limited time for lunch.

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

All customers are given complimentary Chips that offer the first sign of the quality and home made flavor found at Café Mayapán. These are thick and about as non-greasy as you can find.

The Salsa was not memorable in terms of the local style made with New Mexico chiles. It was very good and fresh, though, being made with green chiles and a mix of spices commonly served in the interior of Mexico.

Soup

Caldo de res

Caldo de res

To me a sign of a good Mexican restaurant is that it serves good soup. At Café Mayapán the soups go beyond good, they are representative of the traditional soups found in central Mexico and are as much of an educational experience to borderland residents who are generally limited to caldo de res as they are taste treats. Several varieties are available and they make up a good part of the menu. This does include Caldo de Res, and while it is a popular soup on the border, the quality is very good compared to most (the vegetables are not cooked to the point of being mushy as they are in some border style soups).

Caldo Tlalpeno

Caldo Tlalpeño

Soups are available in two sizes, with the smaller one meant to be an appetizer while waiting for the meal. I ordered the Caldo Tlalpeño that consisted of chicken, guacamole, vegetables, and a chipotle chile. There were no tortilla strips as in the typical tortilla soup, but otherwise this one was very similar. One of the notable features of it, though, was the fresh vegetables that were fresh and crisp, not tasting as if they had been cooked all morning.

Caldo Tlalpeño is a dish from the Veracruz area, and because of migration patterns from Mexico usually finds its way to restaurants from Laredo north a lot more frequently than to El Paso and the western part of the United States. I have found chipotle chiles in other El Paso restaurants, but as far as I know Café Mayapán has the only caldo tlalpeño to be found in the area.

Sopa azteca

Sopa azteca

Sopa Azteca is made with tortilla chips and noodles, with the same spices included in the caldo tlalpeño. Missing are the vegetables, but it is good to have two versions of the same basic soup. The chipotle chile is something I have not found in all El Paso versions of tortilla soup.

Caldo de fideo

Caldo de fideo

A soup that may be more familiar to borderland residents is Caldo de Fideo made with spaghetti-like noodles and a red colored broth. The one shown in the picture is a large bowl with several albondigas meatballs that have been a traditional border favorite, but are not served at a large number of restaurants because they seem to be hard to prepare correctly. To me it is hard to find any ground beef I really like but this was good. I am not sure if this dish represents cooking from the interior of Mexico or the border, but it shows that Café Mayapán has a little bit of everything.

Puebla Style Mole

Chicken breast in Puebla style mole

Pechuga de pollo en mole poblano

Pechuga de Pollo en Mole Poblano is a chicken breast served with a green mole poblano for one of the restaurant’s “lighter and healthier” dishes (other than the fact it has such a large piece of chicken that it might be too much for lunch). This is the only green mole I have found in El Paso, but I believe Café Mayapán also offers the more familiar brown mole. I think this is a good dish with which to become initiated to Mexican mole. If it turns out the green mole is not your thing, there is enough chicken breast to make a good meal, and the mole can be scraped off. If you find the sauce as satisfying as I do, though, there is enough to cover every bite of chicken.

Enchiladas

Enchiladas suizas

Enchiladas suizas

Enchiladas are not as big in the interior of Mexico as they are on the border, and they tend to be less spicy. An example of this is the Enchiladas Suizas which were mild compared to El Paso versions, although they did have red chile. The common feature of all suizas enchiladas is that they have sour cream, and I liked this one because it was the Mexican style crema. Everything about this seemed more interior style to me than border style.

Drinks

Agua de sandia

Freshly made watermelon drink

The restaurant serves several flavors of agua fresca drinks including Sandía, a drink made of watermelon juice with no pulp included. I think for the best example of these more unusual drinks I would suggest Flautas Tepalca in Canutillo, but the one I tried at Café Mayapán was very good. These drinks tend to be seasonal, with lemonade being something that can be made all year. To me it is not the flavor that matters as much as having a freshly made traditional drink to go along with an equally fresh and traditional meal.

Tortillas
The home made Tortillas were one of the best aspects of the meal and provided a flavor that cannot be found in pre-packaged tortillas.

Closing Comments
The real strength of Café Mayapán is the consistent quality as well as the menu that offers dishes not normally found in El Paso. The whole experience of having excellent soup, drink, chips, salsa, and tortillas confirmed to me that this is one of the best Mexican restaurants in El Paso. It is too bad the restaurant is only open for lunch (and closed Sunday), but I do think it is worthwhile trying to make it.

The food at Café Mayapán is not terribly spicy, being more representative of traditional Mexican food from the interior than the spicy chiles more common near the border. I think the spiciest items I have had were the sopa azteca and the caldo tlalpeño.

In some ways Café Mayapán is not consistent in what it serves. There is a menu that does not change, but they also have seasonal items which are often times the best choices to get (I know some of the drinks are seasonal). Sometimes they also feature special dishes from different states in Mexico, but the availability of these items is not very predictable. Most of the time when I go they just have the regular menu.

The high quality of the food, though, does not seem to be because of a plan to make this a gourmet restaurant. Rather, I think most of the dishes come from recipes the women brought with them from Mexico. The restaurant is owned by a non-profit organization and most of the clientele are working people. The food is not expensive, but it is good because it tastes home made.

The down side is just that it is not as professional as some restaurants–they do not always have the same items, the selection of core items on the menu is somewhat limited, and the availability of some special dishes is hard to predict. The down side is also one of its strengths, though–the food here is much like what you would have in a Mexican household.


RATING: 24

Cuisine: Mexican Interior
Cost: $$
Hours: 11 am to 3 pm Mon-Fri (8 am to 3 pm on Sat.)
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 6, 2017
Number of Visits: 3
Best Items: Caldo Tlalpeño, Pechuga with Green Mole, Sandía Drink

 

Mexican Food Details

Chile Index: chile 4
Cooking Oil: N/A

 

Special Ratings
star 5 Caldo Tlalpeño
star 5 Caldo de Fideo
star 5 Sopa Azteca
star 5 Pechuga de Pollo
star 5 Chips
star 5 Salsa
star 5 Sandia Drink

Chubby’s–El Paso, TX

Chubby’s Bronx Deli
1830 Joe Battle Blvd.
El Paso, TX
(915) 626-5373
Chubby's

Chubby’s Bronx Deli


With all of the items I eat and new dishes I like to try, sandwiches comprise a surprisingly small portion of this. It is not that I am averse to them, but I hold a high standard for what I like to eat (probably more than with other types of food).

Chubby’s is worthwhile, though, serving Boar’s Head meat and other ingredients that are high quality. I have been eating Boar’s Head at home for a while, and I can vouch for its quality, flavor, and lack of the preservatives that nutritionists say we should avoid. It is more difficult for restaurants to serve this type of meat, with a small window of time that the meat will be fresh and not wanting to have too much of it that they have to throw away because it does not sell.

Reuben

Reuben

Reuben with sauerkraut and Russian dressing

The Reuben sandwich seems to be the specialty of Chubby’s (I gathered that both with on line comments and from what employees were recommending). Although you can build your own sandwiches here, I think the standard reuben with sauerkraut and Russian dressing is a good bet. It is very fresh, and of course each person will judge whether or not it tastes good (but I thought it was pretty good considering that I generally like things like turkey or tuna).

Other Comments
Although Chubby’s is very good, I find the choices limited for what I would expect in a deli. Some delis I know in Oklahoma prepare their own dishes in addition to the sandwiches, and I am not sure if Chubby’s is really a deli or whether it is just a sandwich shop. Yelp has reviews for their cheesesteak sandwiches and chicken salad, which take more preparation than merely throwing a sandwich together. Still, I think the choices are limited for a deli.

Having said that, I cannot argue with the quality or flavor of what Chubby’s serves.


RATING: 23

Cuisine: Sandwiches
Cost: $$
Hours: Open Daily except Sun. evening
Accessible: Yes
Smoking: No smoking
Alcohol: No

Most Recent Visit: Dec. 2, 2017
Number of Visits: 1
Best Items: Reuben

Special Ratings
star 5 Reuben