On a recent Wednesday night we decided to meet at Taqueria Tijuana for some authentic Mexican food. Unfortunately, the famed eating establishment was closed, so, across the street to El Dorado we went.
El Dorado is branded as a great place to enjoy Mexican and seafood dishes. They also boost of authentic Mexican cuisine, so it was a good substitute for four gringos !
The Service and the Atmosphere:
The restaurant is clean, colorfully decorated and staffed by friendly employees. We grabbed a seat and were promptly served warm (slightly greasy) tortilla chips and some salsa that would clean out a clogged nasal passage. Ok, we said authentic- and perhaps our taste buds are about to be delighted!
We ordered a round of drinks and guacamole dip ($5) as an appetizer. The (authentic) drinks consisted of Pepsi Pacifico, Equis beer, and a Horchata (a milk-like drink which is made from rice, almonds and flavored with cinnamon- actually a very refreshing beverage to cool off the salsa burn). The guacamole was analyzed as (under-ripe) avocado, too much and too large of diced onion, cilantro, diced tomatoes, lime juice and salt. The consensus was that it was OK, but lacked much flavor. A rather bland appetizer. The tortilla chips were quickly restocked to keep us happy until our meals arrived.
Patty tried the Flautas de Pollo o Res; four rolled chicken taquitos, smothered in sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole and cheese for $8. Patty thought that her taquitos were small and not very well seasoned. The sides of lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole filled the large plate.
Rick tried the Fajitas de Pollo ($11). The description states they are served extremely hot. They arrived to our table on a skillet, not sizzling. So, again, not off to a very good start. The majority of the skillet was filled with peppers and onions. The chicken breast strips were well seasoned and delicious, but crowded out by the vegetables. The sides of tortilla shells, rice, beans and lettuce gave Rick a huge amount of dishes in front of him, but much of it went back to the dish room, except the chicken strips were finished off without any problems.
Jim had the Enchiladas de Pollo o Res, three chicken enchiladas with 100% authentic Mexican sauce and cheese ($8). Jim stated that the dish was bland with no flavor. Jim, who usually is able to pick apart a dish and give us a run down of what’s in it, was actually at a loss for words. His mother taught him to clean his plate, so he did, but he was disappointed with the flavor combination (or lack thereof). The sticky rice side was pleasant but the refried beans were blah.
Sarah tried the Combination de Tres ($8), a combination of chicken enchilada, shredded beef shell taco and rolled taquito. The dish had the same beans and rice sides with the over-riding flavor of grease. Sarah did not care much for her choice.
That the food had more flavor- as it was not as flavorful as people expect from ‘authentic’ Mexican food.
Overall, perhaps we have become too “Americanized” with our preference for Tex-Mex flavors. The rest of the restaurant was full of patrons that appeared to be enjoying their selections.
To finish the night, we made our way up the street to the International Bakery. This was a delightful experience where you walk in, grab a foodservice type tray and a set of tongs then walk past racks and shelves of bakery products. We each picked out a few selections of pastries and cookies. You then stand in line to pay. The wide variety of baked goods would allow everyone to find their favorite treat. A pleasant surprise came at the cash register were we found out that the goodies are mostly priced at 3 for $1 or 50 cents each. I took home a bag of deliciousness for $2. Great start for tomorrow’s breakfast. The only concern was watching one enthusiastic youngster with his set of tongs picking out a selection, putting it on his mother’s tray, then licking his finger then putting his wet finger on the tongs and repeating until all the frosting was off the tongs. Hope my tongs didn’t have a similar experience before I used them. (But I’m a germ phobe).
In all, a refreshing experience in south Omaha, immersing ourselves in the culture and tastes of authentic Mexican foods. We’ll have to check back with Taqueria Tijuana another night.