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We're used to getting variety at Mexican restaurants, but Mi Cocina Mi Pais has won us over by sheer novelty, with a tasty culinary repertoire that ventures much farther south of the border, to Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. In particular, we're enthralled with La Bandeja Paisa, a combination plate with more variety than anywhere in town, aside from all-you-can-eat buffets. This incredible combo includes marinated steak, chorizo, a fried pork rib chicharron, a pile of patacones (unripened plantain fritters), fried plantains, arepas (fluffy corn cakes), rice, warm pepper relish, red beans, avocado, and a fried egg. No wonder it's unofficially considered the national dish of Colombia La Bandeja Paisa is the kind of homey, filling meal that could lull an entire country into a sweet, patriotic food coma. We pledge our allegiance to Mi Cocina Mi Pais.
For starters, we're hooked on the lobster thermidor quesadilla, and lately we can't resist the cilantro mousse with chips, which makes an addicting accompaniment to one of Padre's top-notch margaritas. As for entrees, duck breast tacos with tomatillo salsa are a fine alternative to ubiquitous carne asada tacos (of course, they have those, too), and the pollo relleno chicken breast stuffed with poblanos, goat cheese, caramelized onions and corn, and slathered in poblano cream sauce is a guilty pleasure. Well, maybe not that guilty we've ordered it too many times to count.
Indeed, we still think Barrio Café is worthy of every "Best of" we've given it. But brunch here is still 'til now, anyway an unsung pleasure, with distinctive dishes you won't find anywhere else in town.
The crepa de chorizo is a dreamy concoction, with spinach, spicy sausage, and queso fresco rolled up in a hollandaise-covered crepe, while the pastel de calabazas con queso, a veggie-stuffed omelet slathered in spicy tomatillo sauce, will wake your taste buds right up. And if that's not enough of a morning boost, try Barrio Café's tequila-soaked version of the bloody Mary, the sangrita. Now that's our kind of eye-opener.
As for the food itself, Rosita's Sonoran specialties always hit the spot. The salsas here are great, and definitely worth the extra buck it'll cost you for chips. Machaca is memorable, too, and you can eat it any which way in a burro or taco, on a chimichanga, or straight-up, with a pile of warm tortillas. Enchiladas topped with red or green chili sauce, top-notch albondigas, mouth-watering mole, and fluffy, cheesy chile rellenos are just a few of the dishes that've kept us coming back here time and time again. The thick, creamy flan is reason enough to stop by, and the place does a fine Mexican-style breakfast as well. Every neighborhood should be lucky enough to have an old faithful like Rosita's Place.
Comedor Guadalajara's menu is pretty extensive, too, with burritos, tacos, chimichangas, and a nice selection of combination plates. Try the shrimp enchiladas, draped in a creamy sauce of green chile and tomatillo, or the steak picado, with chopped beef, onions, tomatoes, and jalapeños slathered in tangy red sauce. Parrilladas (heaping platters of grilled meats meant to be shared) are the specialty here; the seafood version, piled with fresh shrimp, lobster tail, mussels, squid, calamari, and a whole tilapia, is an impressive spread. It helps to take a friend or two to help you eat it all, but don't feel guilty if you'd rather stuff yourself silly.
The Sonoran-style eats are homey and flavorful, and portions are downright grande the burros, in particular, are quite a mouthful. We like the spicy homemade chorizo and bean version. Pedro's enchiladas have kick, too, but it's not all hot stuff. The chicken dishes are cooked in a mild sauce of tomatoes, chiles, and onions. And if you're a machaca lover, don't miss the stuffed quesadilla, a house specialty. An oversized flour tortilla filled with shredded beef, cheese, chiles and tomatoes, this grilled beauty will melt in your mouth. With so much food, you might take home leftovers, but we guarantee they won't stay in your fridge for long.