What is my most favorite ethnic food? Although I enjoy a wide array of ethnic cuisines, without question, my most favorite is Mexican food.
Having grown up in the South, I enjoyed quiet a bit of Tex-Mex food, which is a style unto its own. After living in Denver, CO for several years, I learned that Mexican food is different from the Tex-Mex cuisine that I grew up enjoying. A friend from our former church in Denver, owns a Mexican restaurant, serving authentic Mexican food. Food she ate and learned to cook while growing up in Mexico. (She even taught me how to make homemade tortillas and tamales.) I had never had such amazing Mexican food until I had Ami’s. INCREDIBLE! Since moving back to Washington State, I haven’t found an amazing Mexican restaurant. If truth be told, my standard is set pretty high.
For the next couple of days, my husband and I are in a little town in Eastern WA called Leavenworth. (Not to be confused with Leavenworth, KS.) Leavenworth, WA is a town that has reinvented itself, making it appear as if you have been transported to a Bavarian Village in the Swiss Alps. Imagine my surprise when we stumbled upon a Mexican restaurant, called South, as we were out exploring, hunting for a place to grab a quick bite of dinner.
We walked in not really knowing what to expect. With my “standard”, I wasn’t expecting much, especially being so far from anything Mexican, or even Tex-Mex. However, we were completely blown away. The service was excellent. The ambiance was charming and rustic. And the food…. let me just tell you about the food.
WOW! My husband, Jon, ordered the Chip and Salsa Sampler, which included freshly made corn and flour tortilla chips, served with Oaxacan black mole, black bean sauce, & creamy guacamole. As well, there is a salsa bar at the entrance of the restaurant with several varieties of salsas. Honestly, I could have happily eaten every last bite of this platter all by myself; it was that good. So fresh. The mole sauce was simply outstanding. (As I type, my mouth is watering, as I dream of how to re-create it and how I will serve it at home.)
After enjoying the appetizer, we thought about a main course. We didn’t want to gorge ourselves on a complete entree platter, even though there were many to choose from, but not too many. (I hate going to restaurants where the menu is 10 pages long. To me, this screams, “We really don’t specialize in anything, but are average at many things.” I much prefer a restaurant that makes a few things well.)
As I scanned the menu, I saw that $2 (and $3) tacos were available with several fillings to choose from. I ordered two chicken tacos and Jon ordered carne asada tacos. Oh. my. word. No, seriously, oh my word! Absolutely, out of this world yumminess. Literally, my tastebuds were having a party. How in the world could something so simple taste so complex? My chicken tacos were merely pulled chicken, seasoned nicely, served on a warm corn tortilla, topped with cilantro and onion with radishes on the side. I used some salsa verde and some of the mole sauce on them. Gracious, they were good! Jon’s were too, even though I didn’t get a taste. We didn’t share this meal. No way! To each his (or her) own!
Later, as I discovered South’s website, I found the reason their food is so tasty–it’s real food! They make everything from scratch using family recipes, including the stock that is used in their soups and homemade desserts, along with serving all-natural meats. It is evident that a whole lotta love goes into everything that is served in this restaurant.
If you are ever in WA State, a trip to Leavenworth, WA is well worth your time. Not to mention, the drive is absolutely stunning from Seattle. And you must visit this restaurant. We will be going back, maybe even while we are here this weekend. (Yes, it was that good.)
For those of you who read my blog, you know I love to cook. I hate wasting money on food, especially in restaurants, when I can cook as good (or better) at home. However, a splurge at South is definitely worth it !