The MoM continued with a trip to El Jimador in Clemson, SC. Being a Sunday I wanted to get ahead of the after church crowd, if there was one and went early. There were a few people there when I arrived so I figured that spoke well for it. I was seated immediately and my first impression was, “this place is kind of dark”. And it was dim but furniture was all heavy, dark wood as well so that probably added to the feeling. However once I got a minute to look around I was kind of digging it. The walls were decorated like brick covered with stucco and Mexican scenes. The wood, including the backs of the chairs were also decorated in the same way. Kind of like embossed and painted, maybe the picture will show it better than I can describe it.
Anyway it was kind of neat. I got the expected chips and salsa. Both tasted fresh and they were not stingy with them. I don’t know if the salsa was made on site but they at the very least they did chop up some fresh cilantro and throw in so that got them some points. After perusing the menu I decided to go with the Authentic Mole Pablano dish.
Pretty simple looking dish but I figured if I’m looking for something authentic, it was right there in the name. The salad was basic, lettuce and tomatoes with a drizzle of sour cream. The Mexican rice was also fairly standard with a stray vegetable here and there. I thinking I counted less than 10 individual pieces of non-rice elements. In spite of that the rice went well with the main element. This was mole pablano sauce with shredded chicken. Initial impressions were that was a bit sweet with a mild peppery kick. I spent the rest of the enjoyable meal trying to tease out what made up the complex flavors of this sauce. There were times I thought I could taste some cocoa, maybe cinnamon, coriander and something fruity but my palate isn’t refined enough to pick out all the elements. All I can say for sure is it was good and I ate too much.
Will definitely try these folks again. Maybe for lunch one day since it’s only a couple of miles from the office.
I really wanted to type Equis after that dos. Too many commercials.
So for week 2 I modified my original plan which was to try a place recommended by a co-worker. Sadly that place was in Clemson, on a home game Saturday. No, just no. For a town of it’s size there aren’t all that many Mexican places in Seneca but I found California’s Mexican Grill.
It is located in a little shopping strip that is well past its prime but it’s also on two main roads making it convenient and easy to get to. I arrived fairly early for dinner or really late for lunch because I’d only eaten a snack while watching the Georgia game. I was the lone customer and I think I woke the guy up who waited on me. He waved me to a booth and grabbed a menu, cutlery, chips and dip.
I was surprised it was bean dip instead of the traditional salsa but it told me they weren’t afraid to be different. It was a tad bland but a little salt buffed it up enough to be enjoyable. While I was moderately chipping and dipping I honed in on the Platillos Mexicanos.
I figured if you were going to call it Mexican plates then maybe something authenticish might be an option. I read them all and settled on the first one, Platillo de Chile Verde. Pork in green sauce with rice, beans and a sort of salad thing with some tortillas thrown in for good measure. Yes please.
That pork isn’t particularly attractive but man was it good. The tomatillos, peppers and spices made a really piquant sauce and the pork was fork tender. The sides were all straight out of the Mexican restaurant handbook but I didn’t care because that pork was really nice. In fact as I was talking to the waiter he said when he brought mine it looked so good he went and got some for himself and thanked me for ordering it.
They had the standard fare but there were enough other options that felt more authentically Mexican and enough you could find that would be on the healthier side I’d say California’s Mexican Grill is worth keeping in mind when I have a taste for Mexican.
In the years I’ve been doing the blog I haven’t done too many entries on Mexican or Chinese. Mainly because they are both so easy to find and mostly Americanized. I can’t blame them since they are in business to make money so they sell what people eat. I’m trying to make changes in my eating habits and decided to make the multitude of Mexican menus work for me.
The quest here is to find a healthier, hopefully at least semi-authentic meal to replace my previous criteria. That criteria, sadly for my waistline, was a calculation of just which special or combo gave me the greatest ratio of meat and cheese to other ingredients. My new criteria is the inverse without going vegetarian because I do love me some meat and cheese.
My first visit was to Alazan Mexican Grill in Seneca on N. Radio Station Rd. I’d had some tacos from their food truck at work one Tuesday and really enjoyed them so I felt good about this choice. When I got to the restaurant there was exactly one other vehicle in the parking lot. It was in front of the pizza place next door. The Open sign was flashing though so in I went.
Unsurprisingly I was seated quickly. Actually I was told to pick my own spot in a particular section and I picked one out quickly so I’m counting it that way. They have a good menu part of which looks exactly like every other Mexican restaurant in the US. Part of it included Chef Specialties that showed some non-standard items. I opted to try the Pollo Alazan. I mean it had the name of the restaurant in it so they had to have some pride in it.
My Pollo Alazan was a chicken breast pounded down to about 1/4″ thickness and grilled with mushrooms and topped with just enough queso to be saucy not sodden. That worked out pretty well too because the vegetables needed a little something to punch them up. The veggies were supposed to be broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. The first 2 were plentiful but there was only 1 tiny little slice of carrot hiding under the pile. The meal was simple but tasty and quite filling. Aside from the queso and rice there wasn’t much to make it feel like a Mexican entrée though. I managed to walk away without unwrapping the tortillas or finishing the rice.
Overall I’d say this was a better choice than past selections but I think I can do better next week.