When we walked in the door, our old friend Zoe, whom we haven't seen in several years, met us at the door. We quickly discerned that she was working the front counter and we were chatting, trying to stay out of the way of her work and the other customers, when she offered to make our dinner her treat. "I can do that, you see," she said, "because I own the place."
That's the greatest thing I ever heard. My wife and I chorused, "That's wonderful!" and Laurie managed to follow up with more enthusiastic remarks. She show us to our seats and went back to mind the door for a bit. Then came back and caught us up on what she's been up to.
She showed us an article in the local business newsletter, which I won't exerpt. My first thought was to post the whole thing (of course). Maybe I can find an article.
Just a minute. I have to read a Blues Clues book to somebody.
OK. Where was I?
Oh, yeah: searching the web for an article about them.
Oh, dear... No web presence at all. I guess this is it, so I'd better make it good, eh? I'll tell you about the food then. And maybe I will put up that article afterall, because it talks about Zoe, her daughter and her son-in-law, the chef.
It's a buffet, so there the makings for quite a variety dishes. You can't have Mexican food without tortillas: there were both flat and curled hardshell corn tortillas, and hot, steamed softshell tortillas. So you could make any kind of thing you wanted with the ground beef, steak fajita (chopped - or do you call that "cubed" steak, onions and green peppers, chicken fajita, ...hmm. That table is a bit harder to describe than one sentence can handle. There was some Mexican spiced chicken... I wish I'd asked about those big fish; I'll have to do that next time (and there will be a next time).
Well, here: I had four of the big prawns, a chicken taquito, refried beans ("refried in pork lard"!*), two fajitas, spanish rice. On the fajitas I put the chef's wonderful, fresh pico de gallo (I think I spelled that right. For anybody who's actually more of a philistine than I am, pico de gallo is basically chopped tomatoes, onions and...uh...cripe, I eat the stuff all the time...that spice they use that tastes like hot steam... Ah, move on.) and (also very fresh) guacamole.
Guacamole! I love guacamole! This guy just chops up avacados and mixes 'em with onions (He seems to be picky about the onions - tasty, but not too hot. But don't worry about the "hot." They've got that covered too.) and God knows what else. (Thank Him, the Mexican illegal, whom we helped make legal, taught my wife how to make great guacamole. And pico de gallo and a couple other things - frijoles charros e.g. And taught us how Mexicans eat their meals. Or at least Guadalajarans.)
All right, after that double-aside, I lost my train of thought.
*Christians, Pagans and non-PC Godless Heathens of the world! Unite!
Time for the extended quote. We'll see if I can format this in anything like a formal style.
Promoting Commerce and Community in Brooklyn Center
Vol. 3 Issue 3 FALL 2007
That's where I live, here, in Minnesota. By the way, their card says "locally owned and operated." Yeah. Our old buddy moved two blocks up and two blocks over from us and never bothered to mention it to us. But I won't get pissy.
Here's the article - no byline:
People in Brooklyn Center who have been craving authentic Mexican food should check out Familia Mexican Buffet in the Shingle Creek Center.
The new restaurant opened Aug. 31 in the space formerly occupied by Vallarta's, 6000 Shingle Creek Parkway, just across the street from the Brookdale Hennepin Area Library.
Brooklyn Center resident Zoe Lord is the business end of the restaurant project. Her daughter, Donia Martinez and son-in-law Jesus Martinez, also city residents, are providing the restaurant expertise.
Lord is a retired accountant who concedes she has no restaurant background. She is relying on Donia's 14 years of restaurant experience and Jesus' talent in the kitchen to take care of the food end of the business while she oversees the finances.
"I'm the one writing the checks," she said laughing.
Lord said she had two goals for the restaurant project - "to have retirement work for me and to set my daughter up in business. I'm too young for Social Security."
Few renovations were done to the restaurant space. The colorful murals are gone as are the vinyl booths. Lord has opted for a more casual, rustic look with lots of personal touches, decor drawn from images of Mexican ranch houses. Many of the items decorating the walls were given to the family. She stresses that this is a place for families. "This is a place you can bring your kids," she said.
Unlike Vallarta's there will be no alcoholic beverages available at Familia Mexican Buffet. The emphasis is on the home-cooked food at reasonable prices. 'It's food found in Mexican homes," Lord said. "It's not Chi Chi's, not Tex-Mex, not Taco Bell."
I should call myself The Philistine Gourmand (c. 2007, I'll register that when it's time to sue - this is the proof that I thought of it first). I retain the "philistine" by the simple fact that I like all of those people's food. I get to call myself a gourmand because I know the difference. BTW, TB's guac is pretty good. Lot of salt and lime, but still good. Good onions. Here and now, anyway.
This isn't any of those, for sure. It's a lot more like the Mexican home cooking that I've had the pleasure of experiencing. I told you about the pork lard refried beans. Best tasting refried beans I've ever had! Those who know lard, know I'm not kidding. Those who don't: listen up! Anything cooked in lard tastes better than anything cooked in any other oil.
God wants you to eat lard!
OK, back to our story:
Diners select from an assortment of grilled meats, a variety of vegetables, cheese for fixing your plate the way you want," she said. Desserts include simple cakes, cookies and fruit on the cold buffet.
In addition to the buffet, take-out also is available. Daily entree specials are featured as is home-made soup. Lord said Jesus loves to make soup.
Familia Mexican Buffet is open 11 a.am to 9 p.m. daily. The phone number is 763-503=6123.
Hahaha! Oh, why is there no byline? Somebody deserves a horse-laugh for that awful pun!
But, you know what? If it hadn't been there, I would never have considered posting the article on the web in its entirety, as I've done.
BTW: Hey! BC Buzz! For a penny a word, I'll blog your whole issue! For a nickel a word, I'll figure out how to reproduce your print issue on a web page!