Tag Archives: Tex-Mex

Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas

Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas
The famous Tamale King Restaurant “crown” in Buchanan Dam, Texas.

Tamale King Restaurant on Foodio54

Tamale King on Urbanspoon

 As a self-proclaimed enchilada queen,  I’ve had some pretty darn good Mexican food, from authentic to Tex-Mex. When I open a restaurant’s menu, the first place I read is the enchilada section. I’m always in the mood for a good enchilada! When my family invited me to lunch at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas, I was pumped.

Since I was a little girl, my family has eaten at Tamale King. Heck, we were going there before it was a restaurant. I remember my mother buying tamales for Christmas when Gina Chittim was selling homemade tamales out of a roadside stand. If my family and I wanted good tamales, that was where we went. We were ecstatic when the Chittims expanded and opened the restaurant.

My tamale obsession faded when I discovered the array of Tamale King enchiladas. Every visit I’ve made to the restaurant was a tasty experience.

Keeping my past foodie experiences in mind, I was thrilled when my family treated me to lunch as congratulations for being accepted to college. We were promptly seated and served by a pleasant waiter. Throughout the visit, he was attentive and courteous, serving our drinks and food in a timely manner. He definitely got five stars for his performance.

I ordered the New Mexico enchiladas with chicken and yellow cheese. The food looked delicious when it was delivered. However, I was disappointed that, after cutting the enchiladas into bite size pieces, the chicken chunks were so small that they fell out of the tortilla. While inconvenient, I could live with chasing chicken around my plate. What I couldn’t live with was the chicken tasted like I had licked a dirty, charred grill. It was disgusting! I rarely say that about food. I’m a pretty easy person to please, but this was awful. If that had been my first visit to the restaurant, I would never go back. Having been there before and getting good food that was enjoyable,  I really don’t want to go back. The rice and beans that accompanied the enchiladas were, as usual, very good.

New Mexico Enchilada Plate at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
New Mexico enchilada plate with chicken and yellow cheese accompanied by rice and beans.
Inside view of the New Mexico enchiladas at Tamale King in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Inside view of the New Mexico chicken enchiladas.
Charred piece of New Mexico chicken enchilada at Tamale King in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
A charred piece of chicken.

We also ordered Cole’s Carne Queso Flameado. It was cheesey-gooey goodness when it arrived, but as it cooled, the dish became a giant clump that was impossible to eat.

Cole’s Carne Queso Flameado at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Freshly delivered Cole’s Carne Queso Flameado. Looks good, right?
Cole’s Carne Queso Flameado at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Not so good about five minutes later. There’s no way to eat this mess.

Laura’s Perspective:

For me, Tamale King has always embodied tasty and convenient Tex-Mex food. I’ve met friends at the restaurant for a simple bite or to celebrate a special occasion. It’s also a nice local date spot or quick stop for lunch. There aren’t many restaurants in the Sunrise Beach-Kingsland-Buchanan Dam area, which is about a 20 mile radius for me. This visit I ordered the Hungry Chittim Boys’ tilapia tacos and was pleased.

Hungry Chittim Boys' Tilapia Tacos at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Hungry Chittim Boys’ Tilapia Tacos with guacamole, salad, rice, and beans.

This dish comes with a small side of guacamole, a tiny salad, rice, and beans. I have no complaints about the food as it was exactly what I expected. I am highly disappointed with the queso, though. I love me a good queso but who can eat cheese that’s stuck to a spoon?

The complimentary salsa and chips were as expected at an average Tex-Mex restaurant. The flour tortillas, however, were excellent.

Salsa and chips at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Complimentary chips and red salsa.
Homemade flour tortillas at Tamale King Restaurant in Buchanan Dam, Texas.
Homemade flour tortillas that are to-die-for-delicious.

I don’t know if I will frequent Tamale King Restaurant in the future. Honestly, I prefer interior Mexican food. My taste for Tex-Mex has dwindled over the years, and I admit that what we consumed at Tamale King didn’t help. If someone else offered to pick up the bill, I’d give the restaurant another chance. On my own? Highly doubtful.

On a positive note, the service was nothing short of amazing. Our waiter was funny, knowledgeable, friendly, and prompt.

Takeaway

If you enjoy Tex-Mex food and live in the Highland Lakes area, Tamale King Restaurant is convenient. Gina Chittim and her family are wonderful folks who’ve worked hard to establish this business. The food is decent – before this review, I’d never had a poor dining experience. The restaurant is popular with the locals. Tamale King serves more than your belly: This restaurant is about friends, family, and community.

Tamale King is located at 15405 E. Hwy 29, Buchanan Dam, Texas, 78611. The phone number is (512) 793-2677. Follow their Facebook fan page here.

Lunch at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas.

El Brasero Mexican Restaurant on Foodio54

El Bracero Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Last week, we visited El Bracero in Kingsland for lunch. El Bracero Mexican Restaurant has been around for about four or five years, and within the last two years, ownership has changed. I hadn’t been to the restaurant since the new owners took over, so I was eager to find out how the food tasted.

Prior experiences with El Bracero were excellent. Not only did we eat in several times, but we also called for take out. What I loved the most about El Bracero was an interior Mexican taste as opposed to Tex-Mex.

El Bracero is situated almost at the intersection of RR 1431 and RR 2900, smack dab in the heart of Kingsland. The building is unassuming. Long ago, this building housed a furniture and appliance store. Not much has evolved since. The interior is little more than a cleared out room with tables and booths scattered around. If you’re looking for decoration, glamour, or a sparkling clean eatery, you’re at the wrong restaurant.

But if you’re looking for fabuloso food and a great group of people who are eager to serve you, El Bracero is the place to be.

Interior of El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Interior.
Entrance and front area - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Entrance and front area.

Here’s the deal: Focus on what works at El Bracero. You have to overlook the dirty floors and dining booths. And the oh-so ugly ceiling tiles.

This visit my daughter chose…drum roll…enchiladas! (Enchiladas are her fave so it’s no big surprise.) We arrived during El Bracero’s lunch special, so the Texas plate (two enchiladas, carne guisada, rice, beans, and guacamole salad for $6.99) was a great choice. I chose a lengua torta ($3.99) and the rajas with cheese ($6.99). This entree features tiny strips of beef cooked with slices of jalapeno and topped with Mexican cheese. The sides include beans, rice, and guacamole salad.

I ordered the rajas with cheese due to our server’s recommendation. I asked her what would be yummy to try and without hesitation, she began an animated discussion about how the dish was prepared and cooked.

She sold me on the dish, that’s for sure. I love it when servers know their menus. Kudos, El Bracero!

Fresh red salsa and chips come gratis with each meal. The salsa is good – not the best I’ve had – but certainly many steps above the Alamo Cafe. The chef cooks the tomatoes each morning, cools the mixture, then adds fresh onion, jalapeno, tomato chunks, and spice. The taste is a good blend and worth going back for.

We did not enjoy the chips. They were stale, and the worst part of our meal.

After digging into our food, which was served promptly, I offer the following comments.

Rajas with Cheese - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant in Kingsland, Texas
Rajas with cheese.

The rajas with cheese were excellent. I’m not a big red meat fan, but the combination of beef strips grilled with jalapenos and topped with creamy, white cheese won me over. Don’t be afraid of too much spice with the jalapenos. The chilies were mild enough that my daughter could have eaten them.

We couldn’t have asked for better sides of refried beans and rice. Both were subtle in taste and exactly what you’d expect to find at a decent Tex-Mex restaurant. The guacamole was fresh, garlic-y, and sat atop fresh iceberg lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Good stuff!

I found the rajas to be best wrapped in a bit of corn tortilla and dipped in salsa.

Rajas with Cheese - El Bracero Mexican Restaurant - Kingsland, Texas

Fresh veggies and well-cooked beef tongue made for a decent lengua torta. However, I prefer the lengua as a taco. The beef tongue was chewy and tough as opposed to soft and buttery. That said, I need to try the new owners’ tacos. I haven’t had a lengua taco since the new owners bought El Bracero.

Lengua Torta at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

Texas plate with chicken enchiladas.

Texas Plate at El Bracero in Kingsland, Texas

El Bracero in Kingsland will see me again. I’ll try new things and pick the servers’ brains. And maybe I’ll get an interview with the elusive owners. I’ve tried to speak to them each time I’ve come, mentioning that I’m a writer/blogger, to no avail. Nonetheless, El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is good. Especially if you take the food home.

Chow, ya’ll!

Takeaway

 El Bracero Mexican Restaurant is located at 1516 RR 1431 in Kingsland, Texas 78639. The phone number is (325)388-0022. Hours are Monday through Sunday, 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Takeout is available.

This restaurant is something to explore. There are a wide variety of dishes available and while the choices are extensive, it works. You’re getting a taste of interior Mexico – this isn’t standard Tex-Mex fare.

Breakfast is served daily from 6 a.m. until 11 a.m. You can order from the breakfast menu after 11 a.m. for an additional $1 surcharge.

During breakfast hours, order three breakfast tacos or one breakfast burrito for $2.99.

Lunch specials are served Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. For $6.99 you get a plate with sides and a glass of iced tea.

Children’s plates are available for $3.99.

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas, Pictorial Review

Alamo Cafe on Foodio54

Alamo Cafe on Urbanspoon

This is a pictorial review of our visit to Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas.

Warm, multicolored chips and red salsa are served with each meal at Alamo Cafe. The salsa is decent, but if you’re used to traditional Mexican salsas, this one won’t knock your socks off.

Chips and red salsa served with each meal at Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas.

The menu at Alamo Cafe is extensive. Probably too extensive! This restaurant would do best to focus the dishes the chef does best. Forget about the rest (like the seafood flautas).

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu inner page

Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas menu inner page

Our drinks. I ordered ice water with lemon and my daughter had pink lemonade.

Ice Water with Lemon at Alamo Cafe

Pink Lemonade at Alamo Cafe

The fresh, homemade flour tortillas were the stars of our lunch. We couldn’t find one thing to fault about these Mexican delights. The tortillas are the perfect size, perfect taste, perfect temperature, and hot off the tortilla press!

Fresh Flour Tortillas at Alamo Cafe

Flour Tortilla at Alamo Cafe

Tortilla Factory at Alamo Cafe, San Antonio, Texas

My daughter’s chicken enchilada plate #3 with rice, beans, and a cheese tostada.

Enchilada dinner #3 chicken at Alamo Cafe

Chicken Enchilada Dinner #3 at Alamo Cafe

I kick myself now for ordering a meal that was iffy. While my daughter’s had far better Tex-Mex food, she enjoyed the chicken enchiladas. They do look yummy!

Chicken Enchilada Dinner #3 Alamo Cafe Close Up

Seafood flautas with jalapeno green sauce and sides of rice and grilled vegetables. Unfortunately, the seafood flautas were pretty nasty, the grilled vegetables tasted like frozen veggies as opposed to fresh, and the rice was bland. I also wasn’t digging the jalapeno green sauce that “smothered” my plate.

Seafood Flautas at Alamo Cafe

Seafood Flautas at Alamo Cafe Partially Eaten