Apr. 29, 2009 - Issue #706: Nevermore
Don Antonio’s Mexican Foods, Ltd.
Happy Cinco de Mayo! : Don Antonio's would be a great place to celebrate
In honour of Cinco de Mayo, my family and I decided to celebrate (early, mind you) by going out for Mexican food. Much has been written about Mexico Lindo lately so, in the spirit of experimentation, we decided to head in a more central direction, toward 124 Street and Don Antonio's Mexican Foods Ltd.
Once we hit that ever-eclectic street that sports pawn shops right alongside trendy eateries, we had to find parking. The spot we eventually pulled into wasn’t exactly what you would call convenient, but a little walk before dinner is always nice.
We were relieved when we spotted the sandwich-board open sign in front of the plain glass restaurant front. Once we stepped into the small entranceway, separated from the rest of the restaurant by vibrantly coloured Mexican blankets, we were even more relieved that we had made a reservation. All of the tables were full, except for one with a lovely “Reserved” sign perched right in the middle of it.
Despite the reserved sign, the table still needed to be wiped down, even though there were no dirty dishes in sight. We used the few moments we had to wait to take in our surroundings. Bright, clean and simple was the basic concept, with a few Mexican touches adorning the walls. The blazing pink sombrero was our hands-down favourite of all of the sombreros, and the vibrant multi-coloured checked tablecloths added a lively touch. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the bright orange napkins, a big hit with the youngest member in our group.
Once our table was ready, we joined all the other relaxed-looking families and couples, most of whom were already happily eating. We glanced at the menu, but the smells wafting about made it hard to concentrate and we found our eyes wandering in the direction of other diners’ plates. It was too hard to figure out what was what amongst all the food—so back to the menu it was.
The drink menu was somewhat limited but the strawberry, lime and guava sodas sounded intriguing. But my kids hate pop, and my husband and I each needed a Corona ($5.50), so they never did find their way out of the fridge. Two huge glasses of orange juice ($1.99 each) did, however.
We managed to squeeze our lime wedges into the beer without squirting any nearby shirts or arms and contently munched on the homemade chips and salsa while we tried to decide what else to eat. The salsa was quite spicy, the Corona was cold and refreshing and together they made quite the fabulous combination. They were not helpful in spurring on our dinner decision, however.
Our waitress came over and launched into some recommendations. It was a good idea, but when she kept adding more and more items to the list, they quickly became more like a mini version of the menu. We did like that the menu offered a number of combination possibilities, making it a lot easier to try more things.
Even though the enchiladas poblanas and their special sauce made with chocolate, cocoa and 23 spices sounded tempting, we ended up going in a different direction. We ordered the fajitas, touted on the menu as their #1 seller—one with chicken and one vegetarian ($14.95 each) and a combination plate with a beef taco, a chicken enchilada and a chile relleno ($14.95). Finally, my “little amigo” had the child’s plate with a chicken quesadilla ($6.95).
We ate more chips and salsa and drank more beer and orange juice before the lovely smell of sautéed onions announced the arrival of dinner. Large oval platters, each heaped with rice, refried beans and our various entrées, were placed before us. We inhaled deeply and dug in.
Each fajita came with a huge, toasty warm flour tortilla to wrap everything in and two little paper cups—one filled with sour cream and one with creamy guacamole. The jumble of onions, green peppers and chicken looked simple and innocent enough, but once they were all wrapped up in the tortilla with a dollop of guacamole and a generous glug of salsa, they became absolutely amazing. Tender, flavourful and very, very messy.
My husband’s combination platter was a hit; deceptively simple exteriors were packed with a wallop of flavour. The taco and enchilada were his favourites, but even the chile relleno, a green chile stuffed with cheese and mixed in an egg batter, disappeared.
The rice that occupied all of the plates was mildly tomato-y and had a few peas and some bits of corn and carrots mixed in. Usually it’s mixed with cumin and garlic, but neither flavour was particularly discernible. My daughter loved it, however, eating only part of her quesadilla so she could raid everyone else’s plates of their rice.
The only disappointment: the much anticipated mushrooms that the menu promised were nowhere to be found. After mentioning it to our server, we discovered they had no mushrooms that night. They kindly adjusted our bill a bit, but having the mushrooms would have been better.
Don Antonio's menu declares that they serve Edmonton’s only authentic Mexican cuisine. I’m guessing that there’s at least one other restaurant that would take issue with that claim, but who am I to argue? I do know that whatever Don Antonio's serves, it’s pretty darn good. V
Tues – Sat (11:30 am – 8 pm); Sun (2 pm – 7:30 pm)
Don Antonio's Mexican Foods Ltd
10750 - 124 St, 780.451.8996
More info about Don Antonio’s Mexican Foods Ltd. →
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