Fleur de Lis

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Dining Out Southeast: Cantina Laredo, Birmingham, AL x 3

Why the x 3 in the title of this blog post? Because we've dined there three times in the last month. Twice for dinner and once for brunch. So, you're going to get three reviews in one blog post.  I hope I do the food justice here. 

Cantina Laredo creates authentic Mexican food inspired by the cuisine of Mexico City and adds a modern twist. 

Let's start with the first dinner. Other diners enjoyed flavored margaritas, but I went with their signature version, the Casa Rita, which is a blend of Giro Silver Tequila by Sauza, Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juices.  $8.00.  Very smooth margarita with a fresh citrus flavor.

While we navigated the extensive menu, we munched on hot and crispy chips and sampled the two salsa which were thick and flavorful with roasted peppers and tomatoes.

Our group ordered the combination guacamole and queso appetizer. $9.49.  Due to my avocado allergy, I didn't try the guac, but everyone gave their approval. I enjoyed the spiciness of the queso. It was served very hot as expected. There's also an option to have the guacamole prepared tableside with the choice of ingredients to be selected by the diners.

Sorry for the blurriness of this picture. Sometimes reaching across the table to photograph the meal of a hungry friend isn't as easy as one would think.

Chicken chimichanga:  Flour tortilla filled with fajita chicken, poblano pepper, chipotle wine sauce and cheese, flash fried and topped with choice of ranchera sauce or chili con quesoranchera sauce and queso fresco  $12.49

Of everything on this plate, the chipotle wine sauce is what was discussed for several days after our meal! The chicken chimi was flavorful with a good balance of chicken and fillings. The heat level was medium.

Veracruz Enchiladas:  Two enchiladas filled with pulled chicken, spinach and Monterey Jack, topped with tomatillo sauce, marinated vegetables and queso fresco $12.99 The combination of chicken, spinach and Monterey Jack cheese is always a personal favorite of mine. I almost ordered this one, but a friend beat me to it. He did let me have a sample, and it was as I expected, perfection.

And now look at this delicious plate! This Steak Fajita Burrito could have easily fed two people. A flour tortilla filled with Certified Angus Beef skirt steak, refried beans roasted poblano pepper and chipotle wine sauce, topped with chili con queso, tomato and cilantro. We all shared a few bites. The steak was tender, cooked perfectly and well seasoned.  $12.99

And now, at last, my choice. Carnita Tacos $14.49  Three corn tortillas filled with braised and pulled pork shank topped with chipotle wine sauce, Monterey Jack, roasted red bell peppers, queso fresco and chopped cilantro. I'll admit it here and now. I could have another plate of these delicious tacos. If you don't care for cilantro, make sure you tell them to omit from your order, but since I am a huge fan, I was in love.

Even though we were all stuffed, we opted to share a dessert. Mango Tres Leches $7.29 Creamy mango vanilla cake with mango cream sauce. PLEASE try this dessert. The cake was light and airy, but at the same time rich and flavorful with mangos.

And now.....brunch!

Once again, we were presented chips with two salsas as soon as we were seated.

Brunch entrees include a Mimosa, Bloody Maria or non-alcoholic beverage of your choice. The mimosa is made with fresh-squeezed orange juice. The Bloody Maria is made with Casa Noble organic tequila and our Bloody Mary is made with Tito's Handmade Vodka.

I had the Bloody Mary which was spicy, but not served with all the usual garnishments you'd expect. In fact, I didn't even remember to take a picture. Sweet Harold chose the Bloody Maria. I did notice that behind the bar there was a bottle of Zing Zang bloody mary mix, which is my favorite.

Harold chose the Chicken Fajita Omelet. $13.29 This one had to have 4 eggs! And yes, he brought half home for breakfast the next day. Isn't that plate just gorgeous? The omelet was filled with all the fixings for a fajita with a perfect balance of chicken and vegetables. The chipotle wine sauce we all raved about with the last meal? It made another appearance here!

Bottom left is a serving of fried potatoes in a creamy sauce and topped with queso fresco.

I can turn down crab cakes or eggs benedict if their own the menu. No exception here and I'm so glad I chose them. $15.79 Poached eggs on crab cakes topped with chipotle-wine hollandaise sauce, crumbled bacon and queso fresco

The crab cakes were packed with crab and little filler which is a very good thing.

Apologies for the blurriness of this one. But, wowza, it was delicious!

Each plate had a serving of fresh fruit nestled in a mini-sopapilla shell. This was the perfect ending after the rich brunch selections.

Now on to Dinner #2!

I repeated my beverage choice from Dinner #1.

And because I loved the carnita tacos so much the first time, I knew I wanted to try the Carnita Sliders. $8.49  Two sliders of seasoned pulled pork with goat cheese and apricot jam. Served with jalapeƱo laced Mexican fries. The tartness of the goat cheese and apricot jam cut the richness of the pork. I fell in love with these at first bite. The fries were the usual french fries with the addition of fried onion and jalapeno slices mixed into the mix.

Because we're all in the middle of Carnita Love, Sweet Harold chose the Carnitas as well.  $19.99 Braised pork shanks topped with chipotle wine sauce (!!) served with seasonal vegetables and Mexican rice. The pork literally fell off the bone it was so tender.

Cantina Laredo has locations in many cities. If there's one near you, have a wonderful night out with friends or enjoy a brunch that will see you through a busy Sunday afternoon!

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