Chicanos, Lakeland

Blame Denny Hamlin.

There's a NASCAR commercial on right now and in it, the driver's favorite Mexican Restaurant is converted to a Christmas Tchotchke store. The owner of the store sees the driver get out of his car and asks "Senor Denny" how he is and he answers 'No bueno, Carlos', which I find very funny every time I see it. Of course, it came on as Ed was about to take me out to grocery shop and well, we both wanted Mexican food.

Tapatios on Memorial is closed on Sundays (no Bueno, Tapatios!), so we resorted to the Urban Spoon shake and it hit upon Chicanos. A couple of former coworkers would visit this location fairly frequently and spoke highly of their food and margaritas, so we figured we'd give it a try.

I'm glad we didn't dilly dally, because we got there at 5:30 and they close at 7pm on Sundays. There was one other table occupied, and honestly, there were never more than 5 tables with patrons, which surprised me.

The menu gave us a tip off that this wasn't going to be our usual Mexican, in that they state 'Tex-Mex isn't supposed to be hot'. Okay, that explains the really good salsa that was very, very mild, served with some fresh tortilla chips. They sell extra bowls for $2.50, and I would spend it for those chips.

It ends up that non of the items we enjoyed were spicy at all, but they did have good flavor. I had the Santa Fe platter, while Ed had an Alamo. The chile rellenos were anaheims, filled with beef and cheese and fresh, but no heat.

I was quite pleased with the taco I got, the shredded beef had tons of flavor, and I was able to add guacamole and tomatoes to my liking. I only wish there was some Cholula or Valentina's on the table to give my meal the heat I expect. (I'm eating the leftovers today, with a touch of Valentina's, and oh my, it just improves things.) Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of that taco, but picture something the size of a taco bell taco, with a freshly fried and very crispy corn tortilla.

The rest of the Santa Fe platter included one beef and one cheese enchilada with a nice verde sauce, the chile relleno, refried beans, and rice. Ed loved the refrieds, it was obvious this were a 'food of love' that had been simmering all day.

Ed ordered the El Alamo, a beef chimichanga that was topped with a meat sauce, chile con queso and a green chile sauce. It was huge-and there were no leftovers. He also enjoyed the flavor of the beef, but agreed that a little bit of heat was needed.
All in all, this was a solid Tex-Mex meal. At $28 for two meals and two sodas, it's about the same as what we'd spend at Tapatio's or at our Brandon favorite, Estella's. That said, if it wasn't Sunday, and Estella's wasn't a 30 mile drive away, I think we'd end up at those places because we know we'd get some heat in our food or be offered sauces to bring up the heat. However, if you like Mexican food on the mild side, Chicanos will gladly deliver it for you.

Note 1/2014: I drove by this location last week when visiting Ulta in the shopping center, and it appears that they have closed.

Chicano's Tex-Mex Restaurant on Urbanspoon


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