Saturday, May 28, 2011

Conshohocken, PA - El Limon (Mexican Food!)

Restaurant Info:
103 Fayette St
Conshohocken, PA 19428
(610) 567-0120

Siddharth and I were in Pennsylvania for a night and found this restaurant on urbanspoon rated quite highly. Situated along a main road in Conshohocken, this tiny restaurant is hidden in between a BYOB restaurant and a Jimmy John's. Although the restaurant seemed small and crowded on the outside, El Limon was capable of seating all of their customers with little wait.

What I liked most about this restaurant was the open kitchen. Siddharth and I had the pleasure of eating at the counter right behind the cooking grill (pictured above to the right) so we could watch the two cooks. The menu selection is a bit limited compared to Garcia's where you can have any combination of dishes you want. They served traditional Mexican restaurant offerings like enchiladas, tacos and burritos (all a la carte, with the tacos and small ones at about $3 each!) with your choice of their mole sauce or tomatillo sauce. Everything was made fresh in house, including their tortillas, absolutely delicious.

I had a steak enchilada with the tomatillo sauce. The steak was tender and perfectly seasoned with the typical Mexican spices. I loved the tomatillo sauce as well. It was a bit tangy and a little bit spicy. It contrasted well with the spices from the beef. And I could taste that the tortilla was freshly made because of its softness and corn flavor. On the side were refried beans which were incredible, a lot better than Garcia's. I think it's because they fry them in lard which adds a whole lot of flavor. Unlike Garcia's, these beans were seasoned and served with a bit of cheese. The Mexican rice was also excellent. It doesn't look like they give you a lot of rice, but that mound of rice ended up being very filling.

Siddharth ordered sopes: one with chorizo and one with beef. Sopes are made with super-thick, deep-fried corn tortillas. The sopes come served like an open-faced sandwich, as you can see to the right. Neither of us had ever had sopes, and suffice to say we were very impressed. Texture-wise they are soft on the inside and crisp on the outside, almost like a corn-flour based hash brown. The chorizo and beef were both fresh cooked and delicious. The sopes were served with two sauces, a green tomatillo based sauce and a red chipotle sauce. Neither was overly spicy, but both were very flavorful. 

Another great quality of this restaurant was the unbelievable fast service. Even though there were no tables available for us to be immediately seated, the host allowed us to sit at the bar behind the kitchen. Our waitress took our order and immediately gave it to the cooks. We watched them both prepare our two entrees with great speed; one of them was cooking at least 3 pounds of chorizo on the grill while the other prepared the corn tortillas for the sopes and the enchilladas. Probably about 7-8 minutes after we ordered our entrees, our dinner was right in front of us, piping hot! 

The cooks (and waitress) were quite social and checked on us many times while we enjoyed our meal, asking how things were and whether we wanted to try anything else on the menu. Their persistence might be a bit annoying to some patrons, but Siddharth and I appreciate when the waitstaff or the cooks themselves interact with their customers and talking about their food with us, especially when we are trying something new.

Overall, El Limon was maybe surprisingly some of the best Mexican food we've had in the Northeastern US. The restaurant distinguishes itself by making great food in a hurry at dirt cheap prices. If you are ever in the area of Conshohocken, give it a try!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Blue Frog Coffee House, Ithaca, NY

Restaurant Info:
Blue Frog Coffee House
Pyramid Mall, next to Best Buy, Ithaca NY

Although new to the Ithaca area, Blue Frog Coffee House has already established itself in Cortland as a cafe serving local coffees and pastries, sandwiches, paninis, and even quesadillas. We had heard about this cafe from our friendly neighbor, Angelique, who requested that we write a review on it.