Saturday, August 20, 2011

Affordable Authentic Mexican Eats Downtown Madison - Los Gemelos

Steak Tostada
Tostada with steak, queso fresco, lettuce, avocado, tomato, and mayonnaise.  It sounds like a simple tostada, though I'm drawn to the unique addition of mayonnaise.  It's not powerful, just enough to get a bit of tang in every other bit adding a bit more flavor to the already delicious ripe avocado and tomatoes.  For $3 a piece, this is a great deal.
Chilaquiles Con Beef
Green chilaquiles accompanied with beef, onions and cheese served with a side of rice and beans.  Chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican dish, are typically a mixture of triangle cut tortillas and salsa (green in this case) simmered till the tortillas soften then served with either eggs, chicken, or beef.  I experienced the dish with beef and discovered a different meat may have been a better choice.  The beef had no seasoning, or flavor whatsoever yet the chilaquiles was high on zest and soggy corn tortilla triangles.  It was very interesting but the beef and the chilaquiles did not come together because of the bi-polar flavors.  It wasn't too bad, though I know I probably won't have this dish again even though it's only $8.50. 
Bistec Encebollado
Beef marinated with Los Gemelos family recipe of spices covered with onions served with cactus, a side salad, rice and beans.  Unlike the chilaquiles, this dish had plenty flavor.  The dish came with a side of corn tortilla so you can dress it up however you'd like.  The beef had a variety of spices seasoned all over and tossed with even more flavor with a bit of chorizo.  The cooked onion had a tender but crispy texture and the cactus had a soft body with a watery texture and a zesty lime flavor.  Place these elements all together rolled in a corn tortilla and with just one bit, your taste buds go crazy taking an immediate hit of all the different flavors and textures.  For $8.50, you just gotta try.

244 West Gilman Street, Madison, WI

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bonfyre American Grill - And Then Some...

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Miso Salmon
Miso Salmon served with sticky rice, sake butter, asparagus, and cucumber relish.  One of the all-time fav, can't go wrong, lick your plate Bonfyre dish.  The tender flaky salmon was cooked to perfection. This dish was full of flavor with a nice dressing of the cucumber relish over the salmon but most importantly the sake butter; a sweet smooth butter that turns the rice and salmon to a silky savory combination of happiness in your mouth.

Ahi Tuna

Ahi Tuna served with sticky rice, Asian slaw and vegetables.  The tuna was amazing, very meaty with nice clean flavor.   Unfortunately, the Asian slaw was more of a vinaigrette salad that didn't really complement the tuna.  The flavor was good, but there could have been more creativeness of bringing the elements together.  An okay meal I would still try again because of the great quality tuna.

New York Strip - Wood-Fyred Specialties
A 12 oz hand cut New York Strip with rosemary butter served with mash and fresh green beans.  Bonfyre has a wood fire oven and only a hand full of their dishes are under the Wood-Fyre Speciality menu.  The wood-fyred New York Strip is definitely not your usual steak; there's more flavor, more succulent juices, and great tenderness.  A great place to go for steak done a bit differently.
2601 W Beltline Hwy # 110, Madison, WI  
(608) 273-3973 ‎ 

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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Great Mexican Steak Dishes at La Hacienda - Made with Real Ingredients

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Bistec Con Rajas Y Queso
Looking for a tasty Mexican dish outside of your usual burritos, enchiladas, fajita, etc?  Then try this Bistec Con Rajas Y Queso at La Hacienda.  Not only because of the obvious melted cheese topped all over the dish but also for the aromatic flavors cooked into the chopped ribeye steak.  I can't quite lay my finger on the exact ingredient that makes this dish amazing but it's that comforting taste of homemade, something you know was made with real ingredients, something as if ma made it.  A very great dish.

Carne Asada a La Tampiquena
Carne Asada a La Tampiquena is definitely a mouthful to say but it worth ordering the mouthwatering butterfly cut tender steak served with cheese enchilada and your usual sides of rice and beans.  The steak had a nice grilled flavor and seasoning.  For it's thin butterfly cut, it still holds an abundance of flavor, juiciness, and tenderness.  Very true to the flavors of a Mexican cookout.

If you check out La Hacienda with a group of friends, check out their Parrilladas, similar to fajitas, the dish continues to sizzle in front of you but it's because it's sitting over an open flame.  You can get a small order but getting the large and sharing the experience is all the more fun.  I totally recommend it.

515 South Park Street, Madison, WI
(608) 255-8227
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