Sometimes the restaurants that surprise us the most come recommend by someone else. Often these aren’t restaurants we’ve read about in the newspaper or heard talked about at the office. In this case, Guerrero’s Bakery and Restaurant came highly recommended by Mart’s 20 something son, Tyler. An educated foodie in his own right, Tyler told us a few months back that he’d been eating at Guerrero’s “a couple times a week.” Really? With all the restaurants in town, he’s narrowed down his weekly favorite to one in a small strip center on the northwestern corner of the intersection of Webber and Beneva? Really!
“The food is really good,” Tyler said, “and you can’t beat the prices.” What better endorsement than that? We’re in!
Guerrero’s features a nice sized dining room and small bar area, as well as a Mexican market next door. (More on that later!) The staff is all multi-lingual, which is a good thing. Just as we like to see French diners at a French restaurant, same for the steady stream of Hispanics at Guerrero’s. With the ethnic foodies flocking to Guerrero’s, we should too!
Our server, Marce, is quick to greet us. “What kind of wine do you have?” I ask.
“We have two kinds,” she replies. “Red and white.”
So unpretentious. Love it! I order a glass of Chardonnay and Mart has a Negro Modelo beer. “What is the most popular dish on your menu?” I continue, the menu is pretty extensive and I’d like her recommendations.
“Everyone loves our burritos, enchiladas and Bistec a la Mexicana.” Marce responds. I’m take her suggestion, ordering a beef enchiladas with green sauce.
“Is the rabbit fresh?” Mart asks?
“Oh, yes!” Marce says, with a big smile on her face.
“I thought it would be. . . ” Mart adds. “Being that Easter was only 3 days ago. . . ” Marce’s brow pinches, just a bit. “Yes. But most Americans ordered tacos on Easter.” Mart is disappointed that she didn’t pick up on his joke, but proceeds to order the Conejo Enchilado; rabbit in guajillo sauce, oven cooked, with sautéed onions, salad and pico de gallo. He adds an order of nopales (cactus) on the side.
We happily settle into our seats, crunching on the complimentary homemade tortilla chips and salsa. The salsa at Guerrero’s is a light red blush color, decidedly different from what either of us have had in the past, and quite delicious, and with just exactly the right kick. It’s not only good, but memorable. Yum!
Included with his order was a side of rice and beans, the rabbit’s guajillo sauce was a nice change from what Mart’s ordered before. The rich, savory sauce features a guajillo chili, a relatively mild chili with a green tea flavor with berry undertones – ideal with the rabbit, and I’d bet versatile enough to complement muchos platos. Yipes! 20 minutes in and Mart find himself getting Latino-cized. This place is obviously magic!
For a side dish, Mart ordered the Nopales, which is sautéed Prickly Pear cactus. Quite common in Mexico and Texas, nopales can be eaten raw or cooked, and often found in marmalades, soups/stews and salads. My first recollection of nopales is seeing them as a mystery basket ingredient on the Food Network Channel’s television show “Chopped.” I’m happy to say the prickly spines are trimmed off, leaving a fleshy pad with a slightly tart flavor and a crisp, gooey texture that cooks away somewhat when fried or sautéed, as these were.
I knew, with the first bite, that I was more than happy with my Beef Enchiladas. Normally I’d have ordered the traditionaly red or mole sauce, but Marce said their green sauce, which is made with green tomatoes, was really good — so I listened, and am so happy I did. Topped with sour cream and a Mexican crumbled cheese, onion and fresh cilantro, the enchiladas were stuffed full with beef brisket,(not ground beef,) making the four enchiladas way more than I could finish in one sitting. I think I’m a new fan of the Mexican green tomato sauce. . . it was so good I ordered more to take with my to-go container. This stuff should really be bottled!
While we’re dining, Mart and I both notice people coming out of the food market attached to the restaurant with plastic trays and metal tongs. As we watched them go through the bakery cases and filling up their tray with baked goods, we realized these weren’t restaurant staff – they were customers.
All the baked goods at Guerrero’s are homemade, and it seems folks can’t get enough of them. One by one, guests of both the restaurant and the store, were filling up their trays with sweets and rolls to be enjoyed later. Mart and I can’t resist either, so he picks out a large cookie and a pastry cut in the shape of a pig. Not quite a roll, nor a cookie, Mart thinks this little piggy would be great, sliced in half “depth wise”, and used to make a breakfast BLT with egg.
Once we’re done eating, we take a few moments to peruse the market, overflowing with one Mexican ingredient after another. The front is mostly dry goods, but as you head towards the back there’s a meat counter, And yes. . . those are piñatas hanging from the ceiling. With Cinco de Mayo coming up, this would be a great place to stock up on ingredients and party supplies for your own seminal theme party.
As we leave, I ask Mart if he considers the food at Guerrero’s to be more Tex-Mex or Mexican. His answer?
“Forget Tex-Mex. . . Guerroro’s is Max-Mex!” Muy beuno!