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Vegan Tex-Mex

August 26, 2008

Short and sweet today. Nick and I went to a restaurant I love, Cactus Grill, on Sunday. In general, I’m very anti-Tex-Mex – it’s authenticity or bust. (That goes for all cuisines, in fact. When Emily, Tyler, and I walked into an Indian restaurant in Omaha last year and saw Americans working, we should have known better. That was the nastiest Indian food ever.) Tex-Mex is still edible; it tastes just fine. I’ll always tag along if people I’m with want On The Border, but you’ll never hear me suggest it.

Cactus Grill is different, though. First of all, they make no bones about being Southwestern, not Mexican, food. They have the typical Mexican dishes, but a lot of SW variety as well. They also add Southwestern twists to a lot of their traditional Mexican food. In addition, they put emphasis on the non-greasiness of their food – no trans fats, and nothing’s dripping with oil. Their chips are even super-thin so as to absorb less of the cooking oil. All in all, it’s just a very different kind of restaurant to me than other places that are considered Tex-Mex.

They’re also great at accommodating special requests. There’s no cheeseless bean enchilada on the menu, but they’ll do it. On Sunday I got my other favorite dish there (besides the enchiladas), El Yuca tacos. Drool away.

It’s two soft flour tortilla tacos filled with black beans, corn, and pico de gallo. (I skipped the cheese and chicken they’re supposed to come with, and added extra beans.) Even more of their amazingly flavorful black beans are served with it, alongside their very unique (indescribable, really) Southwestern rice. Their rice is so crazy good that I ate most of it before I remembered to take a picture. A dollop of masa (cooked sweetened cornmeal) and guacamole I took from Nick’s plate rounds it out.

And there’s so much food that the leftovers make a huge and tasty lunch.

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