That's what the Buds are usually faced with when they are given the menu at many ethnic eateries .
Yeah, we heard that collective "I know, right?"
It's true. The Buds find it darn near impossible to consider ALL of the items that are available on most Mexican and Chinese menus. With the many combination plates, lunch specials, house specialties and dishes listed by veggie, beef, chicken, pork and shrimp - one could literally spend hours comparing his/her options. When faced with this dilemma, we usually go in knowing what "number" is our favorite and order it right away, lest we starve to death while reading.
We are pleased to report that a newly opened Mexican restaurant in Steubenville has created a menu that has listed everything you need to know on a single page. Not only is it pleasantly concise, but it's also quite unique, affordably priced and most importantly ... delicious!
La Grande Taqueria, in downtown Steubenville, officially opened its doors on June 1. Shawna Ovalle and her Guatemala-born husband, Daniel, found themselves with the time and opportunity to follow their dream of starting their own business. The cooking couple proudly serve up authentic Mexican cuisine that is homemade and prepared fresh every day - nothing is prepackaged or frozen.
The Buds were brought a basket of fresh chips and salsa to start off with while they overlooked the menu. After the first bite, it was clear that La Grande Taqueria was unique indeed. The salsa was warm! Made from Shawna's own recipe, they believe that warming it unlocks the flavor. The Buds concur! Fantastic!
The menu features a handful of breakfast items which are served all day. Among them are such classics as heuvos rancheros and various breakfast burritos. The lunch and dinner menu offers diners an array of Mexican specialties such as quesadillas, tacos, burritos, chimichangas and flautas. For those not familiar with flautas - heck, we weren't - they are described as hand rolled flour tortillas wrapped around beef, chicken or pork then deep fried. Light and fluffy, they are said to melt in one's mouth. Yum!
Also on the menu patrons will find La Grande Nachos, nacho fries, a Mexican-style grilled chicken salad and La Grande Chicken Torta which is seasoned grilled chicken breast, onion. lettuce, tomato and special Mexican mayo served on a fresh roll. There is also an a la carte menu for those who wish to add additional items or sauces.
The Buds certainly couldn't wait to dig in! Bud Em opted to go with the chicken chimichangas (blame Bernie Focker). You just can't go wrong with a large tortilla stuffed with seasoned grilled chicken breast and topped with lettuce, tomato, sour cream and yummy guacamole. For just $7.99, the heaping plate included sides of both rice and beans. The chimi was fabulous and easily large enough for two meals. Both Buds were impressed with the beans as well. (Yeah - we weren't expecting that either!) They were delicious! Not all mashed up and goopy, the beans were left whole. Muy bien!!
Bud Shaunna chose the tacos in soft corn tortilla shells. These three large tacos were filled with seasoned carne asada and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. The tacos needed no additional flavoring, as the combination of the tender steak and the fresh condiments were more than enough. The meal came with beans and rice, and Bud Shaunna also added an additional small side of guacamole for 80 cents. Not usually a big fan of the rice served at Mexican restaurants, Bud Shaunna ate up every morsel of this one! It was not salty or overly spicy, but had just the right amount of subtle flavor and fluffiness.
If you're looking for some fresh, authentic Mexican food, look no further than La Grande Taqueria. Esta delicioso!
The Buds can be reached at tastebuds@ timesleaderonline.com