I work in Midlothian, which is nearly 25 miles away from where I live in the small community of Egan. Egan is a small, unincorporated "mapdot" in the general vicinity of Keene, Joshua and Cleburne, Texas. I live 9 miles from downtown Cleburne and I have a Cleburne address, but I live less than a mile and a half from Egan. So, to me, Egan is home. It's where my wife and I hold claim to one of Gods beautiful treasures, the place he has loaned us for our time on earth. We call in La Puerta del Cielo or Heavens Gate. But that's another story to tell.
I don't eat out a lot, mainly because our family is of modest means and when I can eat something that I get at the grocery store or have a leftover meal from the night before, I normally go that route. But on the Fridays that the "eagle squats" or payday, I sometimes treat myself to some sit down food here in Midlothian.
A new place opened up several weeks ago called "Jalapeno's". It's a non-corporate, mom and pop place and that's my favorite place to eat, the local hole in the wall. As you can see below, there ain't much to it. Only eight tables in all.
I walk in and the sound of "Shakira" is echoing through the small place. A "Selena-esque" lady invites me to sit anywhere I want. So, as I have all of my life, I take the very back table, in the corner, facing the door. Again, that's another blog as to why I always have to face the door of the place I'm eating at. My wife and life partner Terri tells me it's from my days of the military and having a good vantage point so if anything is "going down", I have the first view as it comes at me.
So I sit down and within a minute or so, my Selena-esque waitress comes over and asks in broken English what my drink order would be. I tell her "water and lemon", which is what I get 99% of the time. I refuse to pay $1.99 for a glass of tea or soda. And besides, water is gooder for me.
She brings water along with the normal chips and dip and another small bowl of what looks to be black beans.
I sample the black concoction and am delightfully pleased. It's some sort of black bean dip and something you don't usually see in a "regular" mexican food restaurant. The salsa/dip or whatever is your term was a very tangy and tasty blend of tomatoes, cilantro, garlic and a few other seasonings. I was a bit disappointed with the sauce because although it was absolutely delicious, it didn't have one bit of the 'bite" that I like the dip to have. There was nothing, nada, zilch as far as heat goes. But I can live with that.
I look at the menu and it's not very large, which I like also. I don't want to read through 75 items on a menu to figure out what I want to eat. I finally settle on the lunch combination plate and I ordered the Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas and a bowl of tortilla soup.
When I get the plate, I realize there are no refried beans or rice on the plate. No big deal to me, but as a lover of Tex-Mex faire, I was puzzled as to why they weren't included. I also noticed the Tortilla Soup didn't have carrots, onions or avacado in it. I suddenly realized, I've stumbled into something very, very rare in this day and time...a traditional mexican food restaurant. They didn't have jalapeno's on the plate, the food wasn't spicy and I felt even better when I realized it was a traditional restaurant. It's very "untraditional" in the Tex-Mex sense, but everything was delicious. The enchiladas were soft, juicy and very, very tasty with just a mild hint of sour cream mixed with the tangy flavor of the shredded chicken. The soup had a deep, rich, chicken flavor and the Tortilla notes didn't hit me until it was at the back of my mouth. Very, very good soup.
I sat and enjoyed the meal and when I was through I thought back as to how it actually was. I think the pic below says it all.
Yeah, it was down-right tasty. So if you are ever in Midlothian, drop by Jalapeno's on Avenue F, just west of City Hall. It's tucked away at the end of a small, 4 or 5 unit commercial complex only a block or so from the downtown area. It's worth the visit, I promise you. Make sure you get there at or before 11:30, 'cause by the time I was wiping my chin and signing the check, there were folks waiting on one of the eight tables.
For me, I'll always go to the small, mom and pop type places because it seems they are there to showcase their food and enjoy the visits of their new friends. They aren't worried about their quarterly stock reports or what they're going to say to the exec's at the next shareholders meeting. Their shareholders drop by everyday at lunch time and take the time to say "hi" and enjoy what they are there for...the food.
God bless you and God bless traditional Mexican Food! YEEEHAAWWWW!!!!
Jalapeno's Lemon Pepper Tex-Mex Cafe
412 West Avenue F