The first Mexican food restaurant I can remember going to is El Rancho Grande in Fort Worth. I remember being greeted by the twin sister owners, chowing down on chips and hot sauce, and asking my dad for pennies to throw into the blue tile fountain. I started going back to El Rancho a few years ago, and good thing I did, because that's where I ended up meeting Andy- small world.
|El Rancho Grande, Fort Worth, Texas|
One night when I was about seven, my dad asked me if I wanted to try a new Mexican food restaurant. I was skeptical, and wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this non-El Rancho place. We turned onto Hemphill and pulled into the parking lot of Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. We walked in, and I was instantly in awe by the tortilla machine off to the left. The sweet lady making tortillas waved to me, and kept flipping those round patties of corn. We were greeted by Anita Barriga, and her amazingly friendly, caring family. The staff- hostesses, cashiers, waiters, and waitresses- was mostly made up of the Barriga family, and they were as kind as could be.
|Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, Fort Worth, Texas|
We went to Fiesta almost once a week until I graduated high school and moved to Austin. When it came down to planning a graduation party, I could think of no place more appropriate than Fiesta. I had grown up there- watched it nearly double, then triple in size. I shared smiles as I met new babies born into the Barriga family, and I shared tears when members of the family passed away. I'm now listed as an organ donor because of Michael Barriga, a family member who died while waiting on a vital organ to save his life. (Look into organ donation- give the gift of life!)
When I moved to Austin, I thought I was in Mexican food heaven. Matt's Famous El Rancho, Santa Rita Cantina, Maudie's, Trudy's, El Arroyo, Iron Cactus, Guero's, The Rio Grande- holy moly, it was never-ending. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, or happy hour- there was a patio and a margarita waiting on almost every corner. Tonight, I made Mexican Lime Chicken- not quite the amazingness that is El Rancho, Fiesta, or Austin Mexican food- but delicious, nonetheless. I made Black Beans & Corn as a side, and that recipe is posted here. And, yes, of course, I had a margarita while I cooked!
Mexican Lime Chicken
- 1/2 c lime juice
- 2 cloves garlic (or 1 tsp pre-minced garlic)
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tbsp chile powder
- 2 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
- 2 chicken breasts
- In small bowl, mix the lime juice, garlic, cumin, chile powder, and yogurt together
- Place chicken breasts in a small pan
- Pour mixture over chicken- cover chicken completely
- Marinate for 2+ hours, flipping approximately every 30 mins
- Drain chicken, discard remaining marinade
- Grill on both sides until done (appr. 7 min on each side, depending on thickness)