Fiesta Flavors – Albuquerque, New Mexico (CLOSED)

Mixed fruit cups, buttered corn nibblet cups, fruity refreshing beverages and frozen fresh fruit treats are the centerpieces of several quickly growing niche chains, one of which launched an Albuquerque shop in the spring of 2004. That niche includes both diet and health conscious treat seekers as well as the growing Hispanic market, making the Duke City a natural choice for Fiesta Flavors.

Niche or not, the intriguing menu has something for everyone. The fruit cups, whether mixed or as a single fruit offering, are served with your choice of three toppings: a sweet and creamy blend of sweetened and flavored sour cream, a low-fat and sugar free yogurt and best of all, the Fiesta chili blend of salt, lime and chili. As served on the bananas con crema, the homemade sweet cream enlivens the fruit and leaves you craving more.

The star of the show, however, are the corn cups which feature hot buttered corn cut from the cob then mixed with the Fiesta chili blend, cheese and sour cream. There’s no picking at your teeth after a bowl of this masterpiece. Fruity freezes made with your two choices of fruit blended with your fresh juice choice are the perfect cure for a balmy summer day. They are both refreshing and delicious.

As for noshes, your choices aren’t quite as exotic or interesting. I made the mistake of ordering a hot dog with cheese which included that gloppy cheese normally reserved for bad nachos. That hot dog perpetuated all the worse hot dog stereotypes and jokes. An order of taquitos was somewhat better, especially since the accompanying guacamole was wonderfully piquant.

Fiesta Flavors’ South Valley location is somewhat off the beaten path and may deter some prospective diners.

Fiesta Flavors
1511B Goff, S.W.
Albuquerque, New Mexico

LATEST VISIT: 30 June 2004
BEST BET: Fruit Cups, Corn Cups, Fruit Freezes

El Ranchito Cafe & Club – Dallas, Texas

In the Mexican neighborhoods of west Dallas, adventurous “gringo” diners who grew up on Tex-Mex cuisine have apparently discovered the wonderful cuisine of Old Mexico. On the night we visited, this was evidenced by the lively and decidedly “white” crowd enjoying their meals almost as much as the generations of Mexican-American patrons craving (and receiving) authentic tastes of home.

Since moving to the United States from Monterrey Mexico, entrepreneur and owner Laura Sanchez has carved a niche in the Dallas Mexican food arena and has done so by not deviating from her roots. Authenticity resonates in the cuisine as it does in the corridos belted out by the Mariachis.

El Ranchito’s salsa packs a punch unlike the tomato and cilantro laden red stuff served in most Tex-Mex restaurants. The horchata is wonderfully sweet with just the right amount of cinnamon. An appetizer called choriqueso (known in New Mexico as queso fundido) combined asadero cheese and chorizo set aflame and was served with flour tortillas. It was the best of its kind I’ve ever had.

The restaurant’s specialty is Cabrito or baby goat, a $21 plus treat served on a grill. Although somewhat bony, Cabrito is a very tender and savory meat with a taste all its own. You’d be well advised to share an order of Cabrito as it’s more than enough for one person.

Kim and my sister Dolores who introduced us to this Mexican treasure, shared an order of Parillada, a mixed grill of beef, chicken, sausage and ribs. It was exquisite.

The menu includes several mariscos (seafood) entrees which we hope to try during a future visit.

El Ranchito Cafe & Club
610 West Jefferson
Dallas, TX

LATEST VISIT: 30 May 2004
COST: $$
BEST BET: Cabrito, Parillada, Horchata, Choriqueso

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