Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Back from Vacay- to El Maguey!

I'm back from vacay! It was wonderful and restorative, and I'm ready to get back to work and to posting on the lovely blog with new vim and vigor.

After our amazing spa trip at Miraval (whose scarily healthful and tasty food I will write about soon), my mom and I decided to use our time in L.A. for a day trip to Mission San Juan Capistrano, South of L.A. The mission was wonderful and the little town was adorable, too. Lots of little shops and fun historic buildings. I would highly recommend visiting this beautiful and peaceful place.

For lunch, we felt for Mexican, and one of the ladies at the mission recommended that we skip the impressive-looking but touristy place we had found in the AAA guide and go to El Maguey instead.

El Maguey is in a little white building with a patio in front and has a separate take-out section. The inside has cozy booths and cute but simple Mexican decor, plus Latin music videos playing silently on a TV. The menu had a mix of combo platters (combinations of tamales, chile relleno, enchilada, taco, etc.) and house specialties. I ordered the enchiladas en mole, since I love mole and having slaved away to make it a couple of times really appreciate a good one. My mom ordered Mary's tacos, which are tacos al pastor (pork) and with beef, with some green peppers and mushrooms, in corn tortillas. Both dishes were served with Spanish rice and refried beans. We also ordered two of their margaritas, which are made with wine.

Chips and salsa came first. The chips seemed homemade and were really greasy, crunchy and good. The tomato salsa was hot and really tasty. The wine margaritas were also really refreshing and nice. I asked for the recipe but the waitress said they get it pre-made. I imagine it had cheap white wine and lemonade, something like that. With a salt rim of course, on the rocks. It was really good, I will probably try to recreate it sometime.

The dishes were HUGE. (Next time, we will share.) My enchiladas, one chicken one cheese, were delicious. The cheese one had tons of stringy cheese that choked me in a good way. The chicken was well seasoned and tender. The mole sauce was very good and flavorful, though it was a bit sweet for my taste. My mom's dish was very good also, though it was not spicy in the least which the waitress had warned her it was.

The rice and beans were fabulous. FABULOUS! I would bet dollars to donuts they use manteca in the beans and it tastes just right. The rice was fluffy and pleasing. I would go back just for these. These are a few of my favorite thiiiiings.

They also had churros which looked yummy, but we had no room left, alas! And a shockingly large selection of La Michoacana popsicles and ice cream bars, too. Next time I am in SJC perhaps when I have other visitors in town, I would definitely return to El Maguey. It was homey, simple food, no tricks, and not touristy or Tex-Mexy. My dad is Mexican and I grew up traveling and eating homemade food all over Mexico, so I have had some good stuff, but I am not an expert and can't say authoritatively how "authentic" the food was. However, my opinion is that it was quite authentic indeed. All in all, the service was warm and friendly and the food yummy in my tummy, making El Maguey a solid choice I would recommend.

Food: (3) Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Experience: (3)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Overall: (3)Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

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