Friday, June 29, 2007

La Herradura

The Horseshoe. And a lucky find this was.

8414 Geyer Springs Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 565-6063

An innocuous storefront in a dingy Southwest Little Rock strip mall hides a well kept secret in Mexican cuisine. Although I've heard through the grapevine that the owners are from El Salvador and not Mexico. The restaurant is surprisingly elegant inside with polished wood tables and chairs and real china and flatware to eat with. And it boasts a full bar with a good selection of beers and drinks.

We started with an appetizer called an "Aye Chihuahua!" which was a bowl of melted goat cheese, "country" chorizo sausage, onions, cilantro and chipotle pepper sauce. It came with fresh corn tortillas that appear homemade. Absolutely delicious, though you may want to request some of the house hot sauce to liven it up a little. Don't be too afraid when they tell you the sauce is "very hot." It has just the right amount of heat and a wonderful flavor.

We tried the Enchiladas Monarcas and the Enchiladas Aztecas. The first being cheese enchiladas topped with pork and the second being corn tortillas stuffed with pork. The Aztecas gave you quite a bit more to eat and had a more robust flavor. Both were very good.

Most of the dinners hover around $7.00 to $10.00 with lunch specials as low as $3.99. The lunch specials look like they were copied straight off the menu at Cancun in North Little Rock. I avoided those and stuck to the well appointed regular menu.

We are definitely going to make this a regular stop. Muy saboroso! Highly recommend.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

La Hacienda

Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Arkansas

I've mentioned before that La Hacienda is a tad different than all the other white cheese "Mexican" restaurants that are on every corner. The Senor Tequilas, the Casa Mexicanas, and Las Palmas. There are others, and blindfolded I bet you couldn't tell one from another. But as I said, La Hacienda is different.

I first went to the one in Hot Springs many years ago and was impressed with the quality of the food and the near lightening quick service. And this quality standard has translated well into this market.

I love the refried beans here, best anywhere, and the fruit punch is actually a real fruit punch and not a cool-ade mixture. You get three styles of salsa when you come in and it's kind of a three bears effect: One is too sweet, one is too salty and the green one is juuuuusssst right! But, if you find the verde salsa a little too warm, mix it with the salty red salsa to get the right effect.

The entrees are all decent, but that's not what I'm going to talk about. At this place, I'm going to steer you towards something that most folks around here are not familiar with -- Tortas. A torta is a sort of Mexican submarine sandwich. In some of the little store front taquerias around here you can get some decent variations on the torta with chorizo sausage or beef tongue for the meat. But here, at La Hacienda, it's carne azado (beef) or pollo (chicken) and both are good.

The sandwich is a large bolio roll slathered with a mixture of avacado and refried beans, salad and stacked with fajita meat. One sandwich is a full meal for all but the most voracious appetite. And by the time you finish your basket of chips with the verde salsa, you're pretty well done for. And at around $4.00 it's truly one of the best kept secrets in the lunch bargain category around town. For two of us today including drinks, two torta sandwiches, tip etc. it was less than $17.00. Do I sound like Rachel Ray, or what?