El Pueblito is the type of place where you and your drunk girlfriend would go at 2 a.m. on a Saturday night (it’s actually open until 4 a.m. every Friday and Saturday). It looked like a club inside. An expansively stocked bar was the centerpiece of attention while cheesy, Mexican style pop blared in the background. My friend and I were immediately greeted by the informal “Hey what’s up ladies?” from one of the owners lounging in a booth. Immediately afterwards, he started yelling at a tech guy that he wanted karaoke to stream from both flatscreens this weekend.
Based on the atmosphere of El Pueblito I wasn’t expecting anything earth-shattering. The only reason we stayed was because the party vibe and the restaurant’s owner were so entertaining. I was proved wrong once again; the chips were both crunchy and perfectly salted, the salsa was spicy, but not spicy enough to make your forehead sweat. My friend and I ended up ordering and sharing a soft shell, chicken taco and tamale. Surprisingly, both things were pretty good, although not up to the standard of La Fonda and Taqueria Mexico. The chicken taco had a tangy flavor but was a little bit too salty for me. The tamale came out a little dry, however adding salsa disguised the dryness. I would recommend El Pueblito based on the elec-tric, festive feel it brings to the table.
La Fonda El Taquito
Situated in downtown Kansas City in the heart of Westside, La Fonda El Taquito has an authen- tic Mexican cuisine hard to find at many other Mexican restaurants. If you’re looking to experience a mouthwatering Mexican restaurant out of Leawood or Prairie Village, this is the place.
Its half bar, half restaurant layout creates an open feel with an exciting vibe coming from the brightly-painted yellow walls and multicolored Mexican tissue paper banners.
Aside from the decor, La Fonda’s self-serve salsa bar may be one of my favorite parts of the restaurant because it gives you the ability to con- coct your own mixtures of pre made salsas. They have at least four types of salsa ranging to mild from extremely spicy. My personal favorite is mixing a hot sauce with a mild salsa giving the already delicious salsa a new zesty kick. The smooth salsa creates a contrast between the crunchiness of the chip.
When ordering, I suggest you order at least two hard shell beef tacos with a side of rice. Their tacos and rice are to die for. Their deliciously moist, fluffy rice is the best I have tried. However, don’t expect your typical, Americanized taco from Taco Bell or Salty Iguana. La Fonda’s crunchy shell perfectly coincides with the amount of lettuce, seasoned beef and cheese already in the taco– and the cheese is the best part. Surprisingly enough it’s powdered parmesan cheese, which may sound weird, but actually makes it one of the best tacos I have ever had.
Walking into Taqueria Mexico, I wasn’t blown away. The red checkered table cloths and plain in- terior screamed “small town cafe with down home, Southern food” and didn’t necessarily coincide with my idea of Mexican restaurants. However, the run-of-the-mill atmosphere ended up being worth it. The food was delicious and the servers were very attentive.
Taqueria Mexico’s subpar chips and salsa were not impressive and honestly tasted store-bought. I ordered guacamole, and after my experience with the salsa I wasn’t exactly expecting to be impressed. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The guac could not have been further from subpar — it had a spicy kick and salty undertone with hints of lime. As hard as it is to do, Taqueria Mexico’s guacamole could probably top the delicious guac from Chipotle. After the guacamole, my entire lunch experience was instantly improved. The cheese enchilada I ordered was mouthwatering; if you’re in search for a cheese filled and coated enchilada, I suggest you check out Taqueria Mexico. Just adding some guacamole and salsa on top took the enchilada to a whole new level.
The pros — gooey, cheesy enchiladas —of Taqueria Mexico definitely outweigh the cons — lack of ambiance and outdated decor. Their guacamole made me rethink my idea of what good guacamole is. The bland, underseasoned guacamole I was used to eating will never cut it again. In the future, I expect to take many a trip down there just to eat their guacamole.