I have finally eaten Tex Mex.
Thus, February 19, 2014 will forever be a special leaf in my book. And when people ask me whether I’ve tasted Tex Mex I can promptly respond with a resounding “YES” instead of a meek, “Does Chipotle count?” (Which apparently does not.)
The occasion was a surprise birthday dinner planned by friends from my Christian fellowship, and they had also endearingly donned flannel shirts for the evening because they knew how much I adore flannel and plaid. (It’s bordering on crazy obsession…I’ve even been told I should marry a Scotsman so that my wedding can include Scottish kilt fashion and all that, harhar.)
Anyway, we piled into cars and headed to Chuy’s, which is located on Westheimer Rd. and quick drive from Rice. The restaurant had a wacky, eccentric vibe with bright neon lights and colorful mosaics, but nothing garish. And attached to the wall was the trunk of a vintage mint green car that was stocked up on tubs of queso, chips, and salsa. I just gaped in wonder.
I had been warned about monitoring my chip and salsa intake before I came, but seriously the struggle was too real. Chuy’s chips were ON POINT. The waiter didn’t really need to come over and ask if everything was good–the munching and chomping of chips did all the talking. I still remember scooping chips into the deep abyss of the spicy tomato salsa and then enjoying the satisfying, crisp crunch–sadly, the experience is not the same here in Oregon.
My limited experience with Tex Mex previously consisted of eating fajitas. So as I perused the menu I decided to try something new. It seemed like the general consensus was to order the Chuy’s Special enchilada, so I followed suit. But I didn’t actually really know what an enchilada was.
Chuy’s version presented a cooked blue corn tortilla stuffed with grilled chicken and cheese, which was liberally covered in a fresh green tomatillo sauce and more cheese. The enchilada was also accompanied by mounds of Mexican rice, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, and beans. The tortilla had a tougher consistency than I had expected, but it tasted authentic and fresh. I loved the combination with the chicken and cheese overall, but it was the tomatillo sauce that captured my heart. I’ve eaten a lot of red chili spice foods like kimchi and Sriracha, but that spiciness is wickedly fiery. The tomatillo sauce at Chuy’s was subtle at first and then stronger later, but it was oddly nice. Not “nice” in the sense that it was lame, but because it was both bold and pleasant. I also enjoyed the jalapeno pieces as well, and in the end I hadn’t gorged too much on the chips and salsa anyway because that enchilada was successfully polished off.
I’m growing fonder of Houston already. And I can tell because I’m sitting here on my couch in Oregon but I’m desperately craving Tex Mex simply by just writing about it. And so the next goal is–BARBECUE. One day.