Monday, April 26, 2010

Houston: Tila's Mexican Restaurant

Another week of training in Texas. My grand scheme was to try out a different restaurant every night in Houston, and explore the culinary scene in Texas, try to see what they have to offer. 
Unfortunately, things don't always work out the way you expect them to. 

After an afternoon of researching and slacking off in training, I found Tila's, with the dragonfly. Located right off the museum district, Tila's offers a comfortable, cozy yet elegant dining experience. Authentic Mexican cuisine with experienced staff to help you choose the right margarita and food pairing, Tila's definitely was a pleasant surprise for our group. Especially when the group was led by this one person who doesn't live in Houston Texas... I was kind of nervous driving the group to the restaurant, but was instantly relieved when I saw the building. Hence, the picture of the restaurant's nicely decorated patio and brick walls. A sign of relief... phew~

Impressive menu with authentic Mexican dishes. As the waiter emphasized, it's AUTHENTIC MEXICAN, not your Tex-Mex. Please respect. No, he didn't tell us to respect the restaurant, but I felt like he could have just said that. Hey, I was glad that he took pride in the food he served. It must be something really special. Plus, look at the liquor menu, with tequila names so foreign that I would never have guessed to be alcohol... Good stuff.

Not your traditional instant mixed Margarita. Made with fresh squeezed lime juice and paired with smooth Grand Marnier tequila. The difference is impossible to forget. I have never been a big margarita fan, but now I realized, it's all because I have been drinking the wrong margarita... So fresh with the distinctive lime zest, smooth down the throat Grand Manier, shaken and chilled but not served with ice. Who invented those instant mix Margarita to ruin this heavenly exotic drink? tsk tsk.

Camarones Asados: Fat and juicy grilled shrimp, either "al mojo de ajo" or with "Chile Diabol Cascabel" sauce, which translates to something like "really, really hot".

And they were not kidding... Chipotle chilly with grilled shrimps. Even the toughest Chinese girl had to scream Hot! And fortunately, that girl wasn't me. Or else, this could have been my last meal....

Pollo Azteca: Chicken breast rolled up and sauteed with garlic, onion, roasted Chile Arbol, poblano pepper rajas, julienne carrots, zucchini, Swiss cheese, served with our Mango Cascabel salsa.

Chicken was tender and juicy. Overall very flavored with the mango salsa and the herbs used in the chicken preparation. I wasn't very sure why the grilled vegetables were so big, but there went my 5 servings of veggies :)
And how could chicken not taste good with some mango and lime juice? Yum. 

Enchiladas: Shredded chicken or beef, cheese and rajas, or spinach covered in grated white cheese, onions, sour cream and shredded lettuce. Served with either red, green or tangy chile ancho sauce. 

I can't tell you how much I love the mole sauce. The enchiliadas may be simple, but the mole sauce is impeccable! 

If you want to be even more American and not adventurous in trying the mole sauce, you can always resort back to the good old grilled chicken enchiladas. I said simple, but it was still a tough decision to make. Too many good entrees on the menu.

Well, my shadow is in the picture. Looking good! Food was amazing and the margarita was even better. I know this probably isn't the local Texans' favorite Mexican restaurant. I'm sure there would be tons of more authentic home style Mexican food, so good that you would want to just drive down to Mexico and hire a local chef for your own kitchen. Too bad I didn't get to try and explore more of the local Mexican/Tex-Mex cuisine. But Tila's is definitely a nice one. 

A full week of training, so many lessons learned. Professionally and socially. I'm still so excited about all the other lessons I have to learn in my life. Good stuff, good stuff. 


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