Wednesday, March 14, 2007

El Salto

We love the Brooklyn/Glen Burnie branch of El Salto so much! They also have a branch in Perring Parkway, sort of near Waltham Woods, but this one is closest and most convenient, so we go there.

When I came back from the UK, El Salto was one of the first places I went. You just can't get good (any) Mexican food in Wales - go figure! The first time back, the waiter came up to me and asked if I'd like Taquitos Mexicanos and a frozen strawberry daquiri - the meal that I always get! Pretty impressive.

I discovered El about 12 years ago when I was having the oil changed in my car at the oil change place next door on Ritchie Highway. I figured I could either sit at the service station or go next door to the Mexican restaurants. When I walked in, mid-afternoon on a Saturday, I was about the only gringa in the place. So, I figured that it was authentic. But since I wasn't that familiar with Mexican food, I rounded up some friends originally from Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to come with me to re-check. They all loved it and thought that it was pretty authentic and not dumbed down like a lot of Mexican restautrant. The fact that all of the waitstaff are from south of the border, and some barely speak English bodes well.

Last night, my friend C and I went there after tromping through the streets of Pigtown looking at houses, so we had worked up an appetite. It's about a ten-minute drive from my house, the parking is ample and the food is cheap and good - three things that make a place a winner! C got huevos rancheros and I got Taquitos Mexicanos, and we each got a non-alcoholic drink, and C got a flan, and the total bill came to $17.00.

The menu is pretty extensive and El has things that you don't see on the chain restaurants' menus, like a Jalisco Special (pork, rice and beans, served on a tortilla with a salad), chicken mole, chile rellenos and an excellent house-made flan. We started with the complimentary basket of fresh tortilla chips and salsa, which is an endless basket if you ask for more. Sometimes we order their excellent house-made guacamole which they are generous with, too.

One of the best things there is the sizzling hot fajitas, which you can get with steak, chicken or shrimp, or any combination of the three. The fajitas have peppers, onions and plenty of meat and are served smoking hot on an iron plate, with tortilla wraps. Without the wrap, it's a perfect low-carb option.

The drinks at El are also great - very heavy-handed with the alcohol and quite potent. They have a wide range of Mexican beers and sodas.

I don't think I've ever paid more than about $15 per person for dinner and drinks. Even though the location is a little out of the way, it is well worth the trip.

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