10 Aug 2010 @ 5:15 PM 

Mexican food is by far one of my favorite “categories” of food. From time to time, we venture out to South O to check out some of the more “authentic” Mexican restaurants, and we have a couple of less authentic, more tex-mex-y type places around where we live. We are always looking for new places to try – and just happened to find one the other day that we hadn’t known about.

While we were out looking for a new/different place to eat yesterday, we stumbled on Salgado’s Mexican Grill, near 90th & Fort. (It’s in the shopping center where the Shopko is. Formerly Julios, Matt’s Grill, and possibly several other random things.)  Going into the restaurant, it reminded me of most of the other middle of the road Mexican restaurants around here.  Somewhere along the line of Julios or LaFondas, is what I expected. 

We arrived around 12:15, and were seated quickly in an empty section.  Upon perusing the menu, the OC and I were both stumped.  We wanted one of everything.  Salgado’s offers a mix of more traditional Mexican fare, along with Americanized versions of many dishes, and even burgers.   OC kind of twisted it up by having traditional Mexican tacos, but with ground beef and chicken fillings.  (This seriously bummed me out, as I was hoping he’d get asada and carnitas.  Darn him.) 

I went the white girl route with the Burrito Gringo.  People…what they didn’t say on the menu is it should be burrito gringoS.  Plural.  As in there is no way one person can finish that burrito in one sitting.  WOW.

Ok, the food – rather than the standard chips and salsa, Salgado’s serves chips with a selection of salsa, beans, and a spicy pico de gallo.  All of these were good – very spicy on the salsa and pico, but the beans were a little bland (fixed this with salt).  The tacos were great – all they were missing was a slice of lime, which was requested but never delivered.  The dish was two ground beef and two shredded chicken tacos in corn tortillas with onions, cilantro, and radish slices.  Flavorwise, they were awesome.  My burrito was also fantastic, and I ate about 1/3 of it before being completely miserably full.  It was filled with beans, rice, and ground beef, and smothered in melted cheese and sour cream.  TOTALLY wonderful. 

The best part – the burrito bigger than my head was $5.99.  OC’s tacos were 7 or 8 bucks total – can’t remember if he got them as a lunch special or a la carte.  Either way, still cheap.  The horchata they offer….wasn’t memorable.  It had a really perfumey taste I don’t love, but it wasn’t bad.  Service was decent, but a little flighty. 

We will definitely go back.

My rating?  3.5 Napkins, brought down only for service.   If I could give it a 3.75, I would.  Very tasty food, very affordable, decent service (not great).   All in all, good, authentic-ish, Mexican food!  Give it a shot.

Rated by: TheCriticalWife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 10 Aug 2010 @ 05:15 PM

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 15 Jun 2010 @ 6:28 PM 

Ok the title is a very obscure inside reference to som old game stuff I used to do… Anyway… Zemog’s catered lunch today downstairs. I got an order of their Nachos and I have to say: Yum. So I stood in line and made my order, the gal started prepping it with pride. Something you don’t see much in food service in this town. At that moment, her whole focus was that $6 plate of food. She took great care to make sure that each bite and chip had the right amount of beans cheese and meat. We chit-chatted a bit and came to find out that they make their own beans and Tortillas. She passed off my plate to the next guy who put on the garnishes and I manged to snake one of these home made tortillas. They were pretty darn tasty. Thin, light and had good flavor. So far great experience. So then he motions over to the salsas. “mild” “hot” and “Surface of the Sun”. Hearing the last, I scoffed and got a nice big cup of it. I then took a cup of the regular hot, then headed back up to my desk.

I sat down and started to take apart their sauce… I tasted the “surface of the sun” and had to laugh. It was WARM, but not too hot… (please remember, I have a LOVE for hot food and only Taste of Thailand can make things that are too hot for me) I then tasted the regular hot sauce… Tasted about the same. They were ok, but they had the kiss of death when it comes to salsa… they used canned tomatoes. They needed something else too… I can’t put my finger on what, but the salsa was bland. There weren’t enough layers to it. The funny thing is, I just made my salsa last night. Fresh tomatoes, cilantro, onions, fresh serrano peppers, garlic and salt. Finding the perfect blend is important…. I’m not going to go into my ratios and prep… that will give away my Texas State Fair winning secrets. Yes kiddies, my recipe (that I snagged from a restaurant I used to work at) won the Texas State Fair salsa competition 3 years in a row if I have my facts right… Well… that’s at least what I was told by the head chef and the manager. 😉 He could have made it up.

I will be going back to Zemogs when they come back.

Pros: The enthusiasm of the staff and the food quality
Cons: Canned tomatoes

Overall: I liked it. I loves small locally owned businesses. They are doing their best to make a name and I will recommend them until they tick me off. 😉 As I said… I will be going back.

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 15 Jun 2010 @ 06:28 PM

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 23 Jun 2009 @ 7:38 PM 

Ok, I will admit we are big Food Network watchers in this house.  The Omaha Critic and I both love to cook, and inevitably on the weekend we end up watching something that makes us drool with food lust.  Often, that comes from Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.

Guy was in Omaha at some point in the last year or two, and one of the places he covered was California Taco, on 30th and California.  After seeing it on tv, The Critic and I decided that one of these days we’d have to make it down there.  Well, we tried last weekend.  Sadly, we arrived right before 9 PM when the restaurant closed.  However, the guy at the door was nice enough to let us in to place a quick order to go – and thinking quickly on our feet, we ordered some beef puffy tacos – I think they’re referred to as california tacos on the menu.

The puffy taco itself is a piece of flatbread stuffed with taco meat and deep fried, after which they add lettuce and cheese.  In our to-go bag, they also included cups of red salsa and green salsa, to add a little extra flavor.

After waiting maybe 10 minutes, our order of 4 puffy tacos was handed off, and we headed out to the car, wishing we’d been there early enough to try the chimichangas and other treats on the menu.  Alas, we will have to visit again sometime in the future!

I will say, we both enjoyed the tacos.  Without the sauces, they were a little bland for our liking.  I liked the addition of the red salsa to the tacos, where The Omaha Critic preferred the heat of the green salsa.  The tacos were a good size and flavorful, and all in all, we both thought they were good.  The price?  It’s a little high perhaps for what it is and the location, but that’s based on The Omaha Critic’s Texas roots.

Pluses:  The food was good.  It didn’t take a long time, and thankfully, they still let us order as they were closing the doors.

Minuses:  It’s a little pricey for what it is, but it was still pretty good.

Overall Impression:  The puffy tacos weren’t enough to sell us on this being one of our favorites.  They were, however, enough to get us to want to go back and try more of the menu.  All in all?  I’m going to give it four french fries.  With salt and red salsa, Baby.

~~The Critical Wife

Posted By: The Critical Wife
Last Edit: 25 Jun 2009 @ 03:54 AM

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 14 Apr 2008 @ 2:46 AM 

A little more history on your favorite critic:  I grew up in South Texas.  When I was there I had access to some pretty darn tasty Mexican food.  I moved to Omaha a while ago and have been hard pressed to get good Mexican food.  Only a few places I have been to, can really capture the right flavor.  I think I may have another place to add to that very short list. 

Several days ago I received a request to try San Diego Taco from the owner.  I have to be honest, it was my first invite.  I didn’t know how to really handle it.  Do I announce myself or do I just kick back and see what happens.  I opted for kicking back.  So?  Now what?  Oh yeah… review.  😉

San Diego Taco is located just east of 108th on Mockingbird drive in a small strip mall.  It’s next to the nail salon.  It’s hard to spot, but worth the search.

The first thing I need to say is that the website’s address doesn’t reflect anything about San Diego Taco.  That’s a mistake.  Why do I say that?  I say that because we are a connected society, and people want to know about a place before they go.  Well… I guess that’s why I’m here.  😀

So, the website’s name is www.cateringbypaul.com, and the site doesn’t have any obvious references to San Diego Taco.  Ok… I’m a food critic, not a web design critic. 

I took the kids in and sat.  The place is VERY unassuming and the painted red floor was cute.  It looked to be an old clothing boutique and has a faux shingle roof hanging on the inside.  Kind of like Le Mesa on 108th but I don’t think it was intentional by the current owner.  I was a little worried when I walked in that this was going to be a disappointment.  That couldn’t have been farther from the truth.  Now, we took our seat and we were greeted and were offered drinks and chips and salsa.  The drinks were canned and the Chips and Salsa were like $1.75.  That kina cheesed me a little when I found out that they cost something, but quickly got over it when I began to mow through the chips and salsa.  It had a little more garlic than what I make, but I couldn’t stop eating it.  It was sooo good.  There were a couple of other bottles on the table as well.  A green/verde – lime sauce and another red chipotle sauce.  None of these were hot for me, but they had a great flavor.  The boys got chicken tacos, one daughter got a chicken burrito and the other got the carne asada taco.  As for me, I got the Friday night special: Two roasted cod tacos on flour tortillas with this lime-cream sauce and cabbage with a side of beans and rice.

So we get our food, and I look down at these two tacos and noticed how evenly the cabbage was sliced.  They were almost artistic.  They were two freaking tacos and I am sitting here focus on the cabbage.  I felt silly and picked them up and bit in.  Now understand, I have had fish tacos before and I had some predetermined flavor in my head for how these things were going to taste.  I bit into this thing and it shattered my preconceived notion of how this was going to taste.  The cod was so delicate but the flavor of the fish and the sauce just danced across my tongue like lightning.  I think the only words I could squeeze out for the first few minutes were ‘MMM!’ and ‘OH MY GOD!’  So rarely does a dish just capture me anymore.  I honestly got lost in the flavor of these things.  I was thinking about putting the verde on them, I am so glad I never made that mistake.  They didn’t need it.  They were so good. 

Across the table one of my daughters was eating her carne asada taco, and I quickly plucked a piece of steak from it.  Just the right amount of cilantro, seasoned perfectly.  My god it was good.  I thought about trading her, but I wasn’t going to let anyone eat my food.  I kind of felt territorial.  It was so good, I ordered 2 carne asada tacos to go, wrapped them in foil, and towels hoping they would stay fresh until my wife gets home from Indianapolis.  We’ll see what she thinks.

The service wasn’t bad.  The waitress was VERY friendly and made sure that we had everything we needed.  They are typically only open for lunch during the week and only serve dinner on Fridays. (They use the lunch menu too.)  They are also –NOT- open on weekends.  For us poor working stiffs that stinks.

Overall impression: The food blew me away.  It was inexpensive and had me questioning why I started a stupid diet. 

Plusses: Can we say some of the best food I put in my mouth?  Wait staff was attentive. Prices were awesome.  If I could rate it based on food alone, I would rate it a 5 out of 5.  I loved it.

Minuses: Décor is a little off, no beer, and no soda machine.  YOU NEED TO BE OPEN ON WEEKENDS!!  I NEED MORE!

 ~The Omaha Critic


(Update 4/14/2008:)

I tried the margaritas.  Hand crafted, good flavor.  These are a must!

 

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 14 Apr 2008 @ 04:40 PM

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 22 Aug 2007 @ 4:52 AM 

Chipotle (176th and West Center) 

.

I know that Taco Johns started the whole Taco Tuesday thing, but we as a family adopted it for Mexican night.  Tonight being Tuesday, we needed tacos.  So fighting West-O traffic, and rolling through a neighborhood to get to the turn.  We managed to come out on 168th street unscathed.  We boogied to our destination.  I pull up and walk in.  The kids began to meander at the start of the counter, not really knowing what they wanted.  I “encouraged them” to pick something.  They were very helpful to the kids and even compliment them on their manners.  We managed to get all our food and we sat down.  The shift manager was attentive and helpful, even offering to get us other things.  He cracked a few jokes, then he was gone.  I tore into my Carnitas Burrito with fervor… I was starving.  The meat was tender and juicy.  It had great flavor and was filling.  The Kids Tacos were scavenged quickly (save our rather fickle chainsaw).  We finished up and we were then again on our way. 

.

Overall impression: I like Chipotle.  I always have.  I have never had a bad experience in a Chipotle and the food is always consistent.  It is a solid choice for a burrito or Taco.  You will not be disappointed in their quality.  The Decor was modern Aztec.  It was interesting.  I have been coming to Chipotle since they have been in Omaha, and I love it.  For what they want it to be, it is.  Good, fast, fresh, creating a craving for some.

.

Plusses: Good and fast food, good after service and the store is typically spotless.  Special attention is paid to cleanliness.  I was well fed for the money. Minuses: THE CHAIRS HURT MY BUTT! and I would love someone coming around filling drinks. That’s a want more than anything. The chairs though… need a bigger butt-pad on them.  

.

~The Omaha Critic

Posted By: The Omaha Critic
Last Edit: 22 Aug 2007 @ 04:56 AM

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