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Abuelos

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?

Postby TAsunder » Thu May 04, 2006 10:56 am

Not at all.. I'm saying that a vast majority of mexican food dishes have never been all that spicy or flavorful in any restaurant I've been to, compared to thai/indian/laotian/indonesian/vietnamese/some chinese. The flavors do not smack you in the face. Maybe if you want mexican food drenched in salsa, that will be flavorful. But it will taste "stupid" for lack of a better word too. Kind of like putting ketchup on a $30 steak which otherwise is "bland". I guess i don't differentiate between bland and subtle in flavor. To me they are the same basic thing. If I want to say flavorless and boring, I would say flavorless and boring.

There are some dishes that have some kick to them, but for the most part the flavors are based largely on the sauces and whatever spices they use to cook the meat. And the sauces vary from chocolatey bland (mole) to creamy bland (any cheese type sauce) to vinegary bland (most others).

Really the point is... don't go to a mexican restaurant if you want to eat something drenched in all kinds of flavors.
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Postby juanton » Thu May 04, 2006 11:29 am

TAsunder wrote:And the sauces vary from chocolatey bland (mole) to creamy bland (any cheese type sauce) to vinegary bland (most others).


I'm glad we have an expert on Americanized Mexican food here. Sauces? I'll give you Mole, but sauces?

Having grown up with great grandparents who were from north central Mexico and had their own tortilla press, I have to say that you are clueless about Mexican cuisine(any region of Mexico).
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Postby TAsunder » Thu May 04, 2006 1:21 pm

juanton wrote:
I'm glad we have an expert on Americanized Mexican food here. Sauces? I'll give you Mole, but sauces?

Having grown up with great grandparents who were from north central Mexico and had their own tortilla press, I have to say that you are clueless about Mexican cuisine(any region of Mexico).


Well I grew up with parents from india and san francisco and I have to say that you are clueless about what constitutes bland versus flavorful then, if we are really going by pedigree.

I was kidding a bit with the naming of the various stereotypical sauces, but the point remains that I have always found mexican food near the bottom in terms of complex flavors. I have always enjoyed the way meat is prepeared and various uses of corn, that is why I like mexican food. Is sure as shit ain't for the bold flavors. I don't consider adding chili peppers to something adding bold flavor, otherwise I would think noodles & company has the potential to be the most flavorful place in existence, if you just dump in enough of that weird red paste.
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Postby Learned » Thu May 04, 2006 1:32 pm

Well, I grew up with parents from Maine and Wisconsin and, oh, nevermind.
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Postby juanton » Thu May 04, 2006 1:44 pm

TAsunder wrote:I have to say that you are clueless about what constitutes bland versus flavorful


Nothing about Abuelos is tasty or authentic. So therefore I am questioning how well your taste buds are working. Venture outside of the Americanized Mexican food box and report back.

On another note, I really enjoy the food at the Indian restaurant on Park St, Taj. Mount Everest ruled too, yet they are now long gone. I wouldn't go as far as to say Mexican is better than Indian or vice versa. That's an apples to oranges comparison that will produce no winner and this discussion is about Abuelos, not Saffron.
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Postby TAsunder » Thu May 04, 2006 2:07 pm

Their margaritas are kind of tasty. Definitely a cut above your typical americanized mexican margaritas. And the cheesy spinach dish which may or may not be mexican at all.

Anyway if you can point me to a place that IS tasty let me know. People always make the claim about some mexican restaurant being real tasty, it's always bogus. More peppers does not equal more tasty. The closest to really tasty mexican food I've had is cempazucci in milwaukee. Good fish tacos there.

I don't give a crap about authentic. It could be totally unrelated to what people in mexico eat for all I care. Anyway it's a subjective term. Gado Gado at Bandung is "authentic", except that it's what they serve in lame little carts in indonesia and not at fine restaurants.

Anyway lots of people keep telling me how "authentic" el pastor is. If that's authentic food, I actually hope to never have "real" mexican food again. I remember it tasting a lot better in mexico, but maybe I was just too young. Especially bean dishes. Which though bland were good.

Wow, that's a lot of anyway
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Postby juanton » Thu May 04, 2006 2:18 pm

TAsunder wrote:I don't give a crap about authentic. It could be totally unrelated to what people in mexico eat for all I care. Anyway it's a subjective term.


I don't give a crap about what makes something a complex taste. "Complex taste" is just as subjective and a tad bit snootier than say the term authentic. That's like someone saying the sound of their band is "immediate." It means nothing to me.

I like the Ceviche and Tamales at Pelayo's. Their drowned Pork Torta is great too.

Thumbs down:
El Pastor
La Bamba
Chi Chi's
Abuelos
Pedro's
Case De Lara

Thumbs up:
Marimar
Pelayo's
La Hacienda(certain things)
Conejito's (Milwaukee)
El Charro (RIP)
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Postby TAsunder » Thu May 04, 2006 2:40 pm

Don't like Marimar and HATE HATE HATE La Hacienda. That is at the bottom of my list of madison restaurants along with Q'Doba.

Haven't been to pelayo's yet.
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Postby doddles » Thu May 04, 2006 3:02 pm

Don't know if it was "authentic", but the best Mexican I ever had was at a restaurant in Geneva called Fruits et Passions. There they had an incredible range of seafood dishes, all very subtly spiced, but very interesting. Never had Mexican like that since.

Next best Mexican I had was from a food cart parked out the back fire exit of the San Diego Convention Center. Fantastic fish tacos and also pulled-pork tacos. Once again, very full of flavour. Nothing I've tasted in Madison has come close, but I'm not really complaining because, after all, why should I expect great Mexican this far from the south?

But what I will complain about is the crappy Margaritas served in most places. Anything made with a mix, rather than real lime juice, for a start. Fresh lime juice is essential to a good Margarita, as opposed to those horrible mixes full of HFCS.
Last edited by doddles on Fri May 05, 2006 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby madtown wino » Fri May 05, 2006 9:51 am

We went to abuelos for the first time a week after it opened. It had some of the usual opening service kinks. Slow service, but our server was really pleasant and seemed to be running with some high maitenance tables. For americanized mexican food, most of it was pretty tasty. My one complaint, the salsa. It had an over-smoked flavor to it. I thought maybe it just had too many chipoltes, but it wasn't that spicy in flavor. Did anyone else think this? I would probably go back if I was in the Middleton area, but wouldn't make a trip out there specifically for this restaurant.
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Postby TAsunder » Fri May 05, 2006 10:55 am

madtown wino wrote:We went to abuelos for the first time a week after it opened. It had some of the usual opening service kinks. Slow service, but our server was really pleasant and seemed to be running with some high maitenance tables. For americanized mexican food, most of it was pretty tasty. My one complaint, the salsa. It had an over-smoked flavor to it. I thought maybe it just had too many chipoltes, but it wasn't that spicy in flavor. Did anyone else think this? I would probably go back if I was in the Middleton area, but wouldn't make a trip out there specifically for this restaurant.


The "spicy" salsa had a weird flavor to it. The other one was your typical restaurant salsa.
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Postby cattyr » Tue May 09, 2006 2:12 pm

Just got back from lunch. Nothing against personal preferences but to me it was meh with a capital M. My avacado enchilada, I could just about guarantee, was made with the avacado paste that comes frozen in a can. Sauce Marlon Blando. The potatoes were good, but nothing I'd make a special trip for (though I will probably try making them at home beause I think there's a lot of potential there).

Service was excellent and our server after observing our order asked Mom if she is a vegetarian, which she is, and that was much appreciated as neither their rice or beans are veggie. Mom had chile rellenos which she feels are a bellweather for a Mexican restaurant, and her comment was "not spectacular." All in all, IMO, if you were going in with the expectation of kinda plain comfort food, you'd be on the money.
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Postby TAsunder » Tue May 09, 2006 2:57 pm

I have a friend who judges mexican restaurants by the rellenos too. I never understood it, because any place that did something creative with them (e.g. el dorado) she hated.

I've never heard of paste that comes frozen in a can.
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Postby morriskatze » Tue May 09, 2006 4:43 pm

cattyr wrote:Service was excellent and our server after observing our order asked Mom if she is a vegetarian, which she is, and that was much appreciated as neither their rice or beans are veggie.


I had a similar experience, but the server (who was one of the trainers brought in from Oklahoma City) said the beans were vegetarian, just the rice had chicken stock; he also said the spinach for the spinach enchiladas is cooked in bacon grease.

The bean thing is what worries me (as a vegetarian) because I really loved their beans - I generally dislike refried beans, but theirs were nice and peppery.
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Postby cattyr » Wed May 10, 2006 9:55 am

TAsunder wrote:I've never heard of paste that comes frozen in a can.
On reflection, it was guac I was thinking of. A quick search of the Sysco site revealed that nowadays it comes frozen in a bag. We used to use the cans at The Fess(!) for the cheddar and guacamole omelettes that were on the lunch menu.

Don't know what to say about the veggie vs. non-veggie contents of dishes, morris, except that it is disturbing that we received different information. My mom gets sick when she eats beans with lard in them. (And I had the spinach enchilada also but she didn't taste it.) Personally, I think lard is a key ingredient in the beans I tend to like. I did like their beans, but I don't know what that means.
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