El Mariachi Loco advertises itself as Authentic Mexican Cuisine. I will be the judge of that I thought as I entered the tiny café with 4 or five tables. I wanted something simple just to sample.
I order two Sopes, which I had never heard of. One was with spicy pork and another with Mexican sausage. Served open faced - a ground corn tortilla still hot off the grill. Bottom layer meat of choice with layers of beans, tomato, cheese and a swirl of cream.
Simply put, a fantastic light snack. Fresh ingredients, all the flavors converged. You must try this. Very unusual. Most places do not feature open face taco's.
On another visit, I ordered Plato Marimba - Salad, guacamole, pico de gallo, 2 enfrijoladas, rice, beans, spicy pork, and grilled beef. Now most Mexican salads are very bland- dressing is usually a wedge of lime. Throw in two avocado slices, tomato, and a good slice of white cheese, and now we are talking. I think a light tropical dressing of lime and mango would really complement the shredded iceberg lettuce.
Pinto Beans are served in a very light sauce and are excellent. Guacamole is fresh and excellent. Rice is red and I think spainish style. Very good. Spicy pork is spicy and tasty. Beef is a taste of grass fed, fairly tender and of good flavor, and if imported from Mexico, hormone and antibiotic free.
Enfrijoladas and Enchilado were both excellent with fillings and topped with red or green sauce. I would like to go into more detail, but I do not know Mexican cuisine as well as I should.
On subsequent visits, solo and with family and friends, we sampled the following-
Chile relleno - stuffed roasted or sauteed green pepper cooked to perfection with a meat and cheese filling. A must try.
Catus Leaf - you can see where they pulled the thorns out. Tender and slightly juicy . Texture and taste of a softly roasted raw green pepper.
Mole sauce - I am not a big fan of mole- chocolate and spices. But theirs was unusual and it might just work with the right dish.
Coctel de Marisco - Octopus, squid, and shrimp. Seafood in a Mexican restaurant ? I had reservations, but I had to go for it. I had to know. I would not rest till I knew.
My dish came out in a LARGE cocktail glass. Octopus. Squid. Shrimp. My glass was surrounded by 4 saltine crackers, as if standing guard to protect this masterpiece. Seafood swimming in a blend of tomato salsa with onion, spices and cilantro. Served slightly warm.
Could they pull it off ? Simply put, this is one of my favorite entree's here when I am in the mood for seafood that is in a natural state with fresh tomatoes and spices.
My Brother had Pollo- chicken that is pounded thin with a spicy flavoring. Well, it should be spicy- a delight to the tongue, teasing the taste buds. This chicken was HOT, HOT, HOT. So hot it spoiled the dish and the chicken was not finished . Chef, do not pound the chicken fillet so thin. Try a nice marinade for a few hours or over night . Experiment and you will come up with something unique. Then cook or grill with just enough spice to be a tease- you know like our first girlfriend.
Quesadillas De Torillas De Harina - Flour Tortilla Quesadilla- I also speak fluent spanish - "FRITO LAY" ? made me many friends in Mexico. Mine was filled with white cheese- this was a miss. Try a few different cheeses. Try a white, yellow and hot pepper cheese melted to perfection . Be sure it is a nice thick portion of melted cheese perfection in the tortilla. Served with a green or red sauce. Hmm... your mole sauce with chocolate may complement the cheese perfectly. Serve all three on the side to give the patron a sensory delite.
Today, I had grilled chicken, grilled sweet Banana, but I prefer plaintains ,rice, salad,fresh grilled tortilla's and took half home. A pitcher of ice water was brought to my table - without my asking. That's a lot of class for a small place.
They feature Mexican soda and juices, homemade sangria and a another beverage made with condensed milk, which I sampled and found excellent.
But the question remains. Is this authentic Mexican food ? I talked to the owner. She is originally from Mexico City and many recipes are from there. I will say this. This is no Tacco Bell or CHI-CHI's or Carlos and Andy's .
I have been to Mexico three times. This is the real deal. This is, and I will take a gambit, the BEST MEXICAN FOOD in Cape May County.
Check back and I will post pictures. I bet you will be drooling over your computer screen. Yes, this little place is that good. I wish them all the best and keep up the good work.
See you next week. I bring family and friends. We drink Sangria.
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