Friday, May 15, 2009

El Jaripeo

My favorite Mexican eatery is hidden far off the road in an all-but-abandoned strip mall. The exterior is not inviting to those who fear eating their burritos anywhere else but Don Pablo's or other widely advertised Mexican-themed chain restaurants. It's none too fancy inside either. The restaurant is completely staffed by Latinos, giving no comfort to xenophobes.

The place was packed tonight. El Jaripeo has a cult following among Indianapolis EastSiders. No wonder. The food is terrific, the staff is friendly, the service is top rate, and the prices are low. The fare is touted as authentic, and I have to believe it. I think some of the dishes served are on the menu for the ambivalent diners. I'm not expecting the same food one would get from a street vendor in Guadalajara, but it's about as real as it gets in Indianapolis.

I'm most impressed with the beans and the tortillas. The beans you gt here aren't the refried beans you get out of an Old El Paso can. These have flavor. I think lard is involved. Whatever the case, if they don't make them from scratch on site, I'd be shocked. Same for the tortillas. You can see the fresh scorch marks on them.

The enchiladas are excellent, but I've been going with Tacos al Pastor for the last few visits. The pork is tender, the sauce is perfect, and the side of salsa is well prepped. The salsa contains finely chopped cilantro, jalapeno pulp (not the hot seeds), tomato, onion and other goodies. I drop the taco onto the bed of rice and beans, smother it in sauce and add the salsa. I usually have a big 32 oz. Dos Equis from the tap to wash down the three generously filled tacos.

The good news is that El Jaripeo / El Rodeo has added more restaurants over the last few years. Our El Jaripeo is the original. I can't speak for the spinoffs, but if you are an eastsider and have even a drop of adventurous blood in you, and haven't eaten here . . .? What can I say?


Sarah said...

That's cilantro in the salsa, not mint.

This inspires me to veer from my typical choice of the chicken enchilada!

TM said...

OK - I fixed it. Cilantro.