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Mexican Crusade Conquered (moved from Ontario board)

So this one is all about me and not to take the limelight away from Beautiful American, and she is very beautiful, but it is my crusade. So, as I mentioned previously, there is this place in Ajax; wonderful place, I really like it. Even Beautiful American agrees, reluctantly. I was really blown away with their non-menu item, that is only listed as a special. Creamy Garlic Chipotle Wine Chicken...mmmmm; it is outstanding.

Cheap as I am and ever to take a cuisine challenge, I endeavoured to recreate this wonderful dish. Having strategically secured some dry chipoltes from Kensington earlier in the year, I dissected the tastes and came up with what turned out to be bang on including heat (confirmed by Beautiful American):

- 2 good size boneless skinless chicken breasts (add some big shrimp too!)
- 1 can chicken stock (twas what I had)
- 1/2 cup of white wine (or more as desired)
- 1/2 cup table cream (half of those half pint cartons, I didn't measure)
- 3-4 good size garlic cloves
- 2 whole dried chipotles (I might try more but this was pretty good)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/2 cup thinly chopped mushrooms
- olive oil
- salt and pepper

Keep it simple:

- soak the chipotles in a dish of water for a minimum hour
- drizzle a little olive oil over chicken and season with S&P
- with a pan over medium-high heat and olive oil, saute chicken breasts until browned on both sides, remove from pan and reserve
- this is the trick; in a mini-chopper, chop-blend the garlic and chipotles together as fine as possible, you will want to retain some texture so not a paste
- add a little oil to the hot pan and saute the garlic-chipotle mix 1 minute max, don't let it burn
- add onion and mushroom, saute another minute or so till soft
- de-glaze with wine and chicken stock (eyeball so as not to drown), simmer to reduce by half
- once reduced add warmed cream..simmer 1 minute, add reserved chicken, simmer 1-2 minutes, check seasoning,
- serve by placing chicken on plate and spooning sauce over, perfect with spanish rice on side and don't forget re-fried beans and that nice cool mexi-salad.

To die for....

Schtanley

Jun 18, 2008
schtanley in Home Cooking

Mexican Crusade

I have found that the original one in Ajax in the Harwood Mall is the best of all the ones we've been to. The Whitby one had only one good night. We've not tried the Port Perry one yet. However, Beautiful American is not really impressed and wishes she could get the "home cookin".

Jun 13, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade

Beautiful American is from South Dakota.

Jun 13, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade Continued

And I thought it an odd ingredient as well. I was actually a little taken aback when we walked out and I saw the fridge in the front kitchen with one of those restaurant-size plastic containers of what probably was Dole canned pineapple. I don't recall seeing all but maybe one recipe in Bayless's book with pineapple....good call hyper-niece...and yes the meat was dry.

Feb 01, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade Continued

When you see crates of avocado stacked six high by the door, you gots to know its fresh; fresh wins.

Jan 27, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade Continued

You know, now that I think of it, it was indeed the place you say. Twice now I've been there and I haven't be able to try as there were so many people already there. I will make a point of being a little more assertive next time. It is a bit intimidating though and I just don't know about the electric skillet method. But, I will try. Thanks!

Jan 27, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade Continued

Thanks for the suggestion. I think I actually saw that, but with so many other enticing items to try, I didn't think I would stop. It also now gives me an excuse to go back!

Jan 27, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade Continued

It was a rainy day in pizzaland and Beautiful American is excited about our planned excursion to Kensington Market and El Trompo; she has been there before with sis. Kids are down for the holidays and my sister and hyper-active niece are along too. We actually find parking on Spadina near Baldwin. I’m out numbered and relent as Pashminas are the focus. I wait outside the Chinese shop chomping at the bit.

Finally, we are walking down Baldwin. The bakeries, the cheese shops, the fish; it has been a long time since I have been here. I stop by a small shop that has nuts and stuff and I see a sign for chilies. A teen on the steps gestures to me to come in see the offerings inside. I bite because I want to see the chilies. A half-full, canvas bag of chilies with a cardboard sign for the price above. Fine, give me 200 grams of Ancho. I think I've been rooked but I have them. The coffee house on the corner of Baldwin and Augusta has Beautiful American all excited. She picks buttered pecan and we're out.

Ok we're hungry off to El Trompo. Walking up to the store front, I'm unimpressed but it seems homey. There are a few people already sitting and seemingly enjoying. As a party of 6, we take the last of the available tables and chairs and we are in the middle of the small room. Beautiful American with a brow raised points out kitchen staff in the corner table of the dining room shredding chicken. Margaritas for Beautiful American and sis, me a Corona, kids pineapple pop, oh and did I mention my Mother was along too. Oops, sorry Mom. Two kinds of salsa; green and red arrive with chips. Sis points out on the menu..." do not Deep the chips "...we understand and follow directions accordingly using the plates provided. Awesome red salsa, chipotle inspired for sure (hope it isn't Herdez).

Beautiful American immediately wants the Guacamole and hyper-active niece needs nachos. Guacamole arrives soon and it’s a hit. It’s passed around and around quickly. Nachos are nachos. An uncomfortable long time between ordering and the arrival of the Margaritas has Beautiful American and sis getting anxious. All is forgiven when they arrive as Beautiful American grins with delight at first sip. I beg a taste and wow, holy Tequila. Soon after our order arrives. Tacos Al Pastor for me and a few others at the table. Beautiful American had ordered a Quesadilla Gringa and when she discovered the lime squeeze over it she was squealing with delight. Tacos for me were unenthusiastic. I watched hyper-active pick every onion and pineapple off all hers; then she enjoyed. I was actually impressed she dobbed some red salsa on it and waved franticly at her mouth every time. Ok, we're done and the bill comes. Sheesh, with the take-out Guacamole for Beautiful American we are just under $100; it seems excessive to me for what we had. Oh right, alcohol; fine.

We are walking back to Baldwin and the gurls see a flea market and I see Perolas. We split and I see where I should have bought my chilies; I knew I was rooked. Awesome place and the cantina in the back is as frightening as it is inviting. It is full of satisfied customers. I find Queso Fresco cheese and take to the cashier. I see across the street a butcher; there must be chorizo there. Indeed and I buy some medium and hot. We're done, I meet with flea market gazers and we're back to the car. Overall, a generally good experience.

After this expedition, I am truly crusading for all Mexican. I can't even remember what pizza tastes like as every Friday is a search the next Mexican. Beautiful American and I are actually find good luck in Durham region as there are a few places. As I mentioned before, there are these Mexico Lindos. We try the Whitby north one again and I experiment with the Pollo a Mole and she orders the Fajitas. I crave heat and order an appetizer; shrimp in a spicy red sauce. I am blown away and dream of this dish to this day. Dinner arrives and Beautiful American is not impressed with the large pieces of green pepper and onions, but she eats anyway; later, simply picking for the meat. The mole for me is quite different. It has an after taste that recall from long ago and I remember that I didn't like it then. The chicken is really a disgrace but I'm still trying to understand and assimilate the mole. It doesn't ever work and I don't finish; I just can't. I don't even know if this is truly good authentic; I hope not. The spicy shrimp, I'll be back for more.

On recommendations from work-buddies, I find the Eldorado restaurant on Winchester Road. Actually the golf course's restaurant, it has a full Mexican menu. Drinks first; Beautiful American orders the Margarita and I a Corona. A green colour she has not seen before in a Margarita puts her off right away. Tasting, she can't get past four sips and eventually leaves most of it. Reminiscent of Tang I suggest to her as she agrees. She orders steak Fajitas and I order a beef burrito and chicken enchilada with their homemade Diablo sauce. I'm on fire and it is almost too much. I was warned by the waitress so I must finish to save face. Beautiful American rolls her eyes. She finds her steak a little tough though and asks for a box for take home. After paying the bill and getting half way home, we realize the box is still on the table. Oh well.

Beautiful American through all of this has not really been satisfied and still craves; “I need some Guadalajara’s”. She actually liked El Trompo’s Quesadillas and wanted to go again, when we returned today to Kensington. We debated and while not really hungry, we decided to shop instead. Back to Perolas, I picked up the rest of chilies I think I need according to Rick Bayless. Beautiful American got some more cheap Pashminas for friends.

I have been dabbling in Mexican cooking at home. I’ve been cooking weekend breakfast with chorizo I got from the first trip to Kensington. Fried up with hash browns, scrambled eggs, and some shredded old cheddar all mixed together with a typical jarred salsa on the side; Saturday breakfast has a new kick from the usual. Beautiful American is looking forward to Super-bowl weekend. No pizza planned as I will try my hand at enchiladas and burritos inspired by Rick’s recipes along with homemade margaritas. Hopefully I get the thumbs up.

Schtanley

Jan 26, 2008
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade

Beautiful American and I will try all Mexican places. We'll post our reviews here.

Dec 26, 2007
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)

Mexican Crusade

I recently married a beautiful American woman and she introduced me to mexican food. My total experience with tex-mex is a bad experience at TacoBell, so I never gave it a second thought in fact, I avoided it. In her hometown, they have Mexican places like we have fish and chip shops. On one of her mexican cravings, she said "I need some Guadalajara's". Me, I think "ugh, ok honey...because I love you ".

Quickly after seated, munching awesome nacho chips and wicked dip, we order. Not even really looking at the menu, she orders Seafood Enchiladas. Mezmerized at the selection of items, I referred to my hero, Al Bundy and ordered a burrito. Meanwhile, I gorge on the nachos and spicy salsa dip.

A plate of rice, some bean mash stuff and two burritos covered in a sauce arrived. Really, I was turned off. The beautiful American was digging in deep.."what's wrong; not hungry"? "No hun, just taking it all in ya know". I tried a fork tip of the beans, a brave full fork of the rice, ate all the salad and a good part of one of the burritos. Beautiful American, now quite satisfied wonders if I have some stomach ailment.

Back in Ontariario, beautiful American says " I need some Guadalajara's". Racking my memory for a mexican place, I only think of the defunct Chi Chi's and I can't think of the last time I saw one. So a quick browse under Google finds a Mexico Lindo in Ajax. And by the way, they have one of those in beautiful American's hometown.

Same stuff to me, bean pile by rice mound with salad and burrito. But I order the Tabasco plate, so spicy. Beautiful American is satisifed but wishes it was Guadalajara's. Intrigued, instead of Friday pizza, we go again. We decide to mix and match; she orders the chicken in chipolte special and I order an pork enchilda. The chicken chipolte is too hot for her so we switch. I'm sweating and sniffing and loving it. Washed down with a Corona, I'm hooked.

Mexico Lindo is operated by a family as near as we can see. Beautiful American wants a mexican fix so, we find that they have opened a new place in North Whitby. So new that they have no liquor licence. But that's not what we are there for. Super spicy nachos and dip come with the menu and it is the same as their other restaurants. Beautiful American orders enchilladas, I order the special; shrimp in chipolte sauce. Beautiful American says, " You're hooked aren't you"?. "This is sooo good", I say.

So, here I am. On a crusade. As beautiful American and I have discovered, mexican is not easy to find, but with what I found here on chowhound, we'll soon be down to Kensington Market. I have my copy of Rick Bayless - Authentic Mexican (thank you honey) and I will be looking to stock my pantry with the many essentials.

I look forward to sharing the quest for good mexican dining with those true believers. So when beautiful American says " I need some Guadalajara's"... I can say.." I know just the place". Or even better, I can whip that right up!

Schtanley

Dec 26, 2007
schtanley in Ontario (inc. Toronto)