Monday, January 11, 2016


Nachomama's is a weird little fast food place (includes drive-through) on Manchester in Rock Hill. It gets some good buzz and has a fun atmosphere and menu variety.

I got a beef taco and a chicken taco. They were fine. Nothing special. Guac was great. Salsa was spectacular. Tons of flavor and four levels of heat (I had the lowest two).

This is my second time going to Nachomamas and I don't feel like it's high on my list of favorite places. I have heard the rotisserie chicken is excellent, so I will check that out before crossing this one off my list.

Next up: Las Palmas.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

NaNo reflections

Well, I did it. I wrote 50,000 words of a novel in November. Along with hundreds of thousands of other people--from those who have never written fiction before to professionals who've published a half-dozen successful novels. The idea is to write write write without self-editing as you go. I attempted NaNoWriMo last year and got just past half way. I had an idea but it wasn't real well-formed and the free-writing strategy just wasn't for me; the story completely ran out of steam. At some point I'd like to go back and work on that story, but we'll see. Maybe next year. For 2015, I started outlining my NaNo novel in June. I formed an idea and had it mapped out to a pretty fine level of detail. Then on November 1 I started filling in the blanks. And it worked! I still have more of my story to write. I like my story. Some of the writing is just awful, but that's OK. I wrote FIFTY THOUSAND WORDS.

Will I finish writing this first draft? Yes. Will I pitch it to a publisher? Who knows. It would need a LOT of editing before that happened. But I learned a lot. And right now I feel like one of the most important things I've learned is that I *do* have time in my day to work on things that are important to me. My estimate is that those 1,667 words took about two-three hours of my time each day. If I can squeeze that writing in among my regular daily activities (which include sharing home-management and toddler-wrangling duties with my husband), I can devote time to a lot of other things I've been wanting to work on. I can keep working on my novel or other fiction projects, AND spend 10 minutes learning some Spanish AND take 15 minutes a day to practice the piano AND work on my hiking book. The arbitrary 50k goal and, in no small measure, the peer pressure from people in my writing group, made me buck up and put aside my excuses about how I "don't have time" for this or that. Clearly I do. I can't wait to see what I end up accomplishing with it.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

La Tejana Taqueria

I had never heard of Tinga before, but the three-word description was enough to get me to try it: "chicken, chipotle, chorizo." The dish was a bit different than I had expected, but I was far from disappointed.

I should pause for a moment to point out the this restaurant is pretty much in a liquor store. Same building, same register. It seems like they probably have some unusual tequilas, if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Anyway, Tinga. They serve it with tortilla, rice and beans, with a bit of cheese on top. You fork it into your tortilla, take a bite and basically you're in heaven. This may actually be my favorite meal of all the ones I've tried in the St. Louis area so far. 

And now that I know about Tinga, I am going to try to make it :-)

La Tejana also has the best guac we've had so far. Cilantro, lime, a bit of tomato, all perfectly balanced with some seriously legit avocados for November in Missouri.

Next up: Nachomamas

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Taqueria Durango

Sometimes when I go to a Mexican restaurant, or on an architecture walk, people say to me, "You're going to that neighborhood? Really?" So far I haven't been to any neighborhoods in the are that were really scary.

Taqueria Durango is in one of those neighborhoods that people think might be a problem. But there's a place called "Bargain Books" right next door, so it must be fine!

Anyway, they have yummy Mexican food there, and that's all that matters. There are three kinds of salsa in unlabled bottles on the table. One is green and hot, one is watery and red and vinegary, and one is red and really hot. All are pretty good. The guac is very good.

Taco, sope, guac.

Someone told me to get the sopes, so I got a sope and a taco. I don't normally get sopes, so maybe I'm not the best judge, but I wasn't crazy about my sope. The al pastor on the sope was excellent, though Nathan thought the al pastor in his burrito was a bit too fatty. Nathan enjoyed his burrito. Helen enjoyed the rice.

 It's no El Bronco, but it has potential. I'll be back.

Next up: La Tejana

In other news: Sieta Luminaria is closed. Tarahumara is there in its place.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

San Jose Mexican Restaurant

A year or so ago we lucked in to finding San Jose Mexican Restaurant in Crestwood. It's in a weird area across the street from a defunct shopping mall and practically in South County. But it's just about the best Mexican food we've had in St. Louis. 

Guadalajara Special, Nathan's favorite; pollo and chorizo.

We've been at least four times and every time it's been amazing. And it's close to our house!

Next up: Durango in North County.

Other future possibilities: La Tejana, Nachomamas (I've only been once), Mi Ranchito, Tortillaria (also only been once), and Flacos.

In other news, I should clarify that Hacienda on Manchester is terrible.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Mission Taco (Soulard)

This week I had an errand to run in Soulard so I decided to visit Mission Taco. I'd been to this Mission Taco and the other location on Delmar once each. There's no real difference between the two, as far as I can tell.

Today I had three tacos: The monthly special,
a fish taco and a veggie taco, which was mostly portobello mushrooms.

Of these the veggie was my favorite. It's not exactly Mexican in it's flavor, but I'm a sucker for goat cheese.

closeup of the sweet potato carnitas taco
I was pretty underwhelmed with the taco of the month. It was fairly bland and something about the mix of sweet potato (which I normally love) and the cheese and meat didn't jibe. The fish taco was good, if standard.

Overall I always enjoy Mission Taco. Chips and salsa are very good, service is good, atmosphere is good. It's not super-authentic like the Cherokee Street places, but if you want some quality Mexican food it's hard to go wrong with Mission Taco.

Next week: Sieta Luminarias. I know I said that last time, but this time I really mean it.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Taqueria El Bronco

We have a new favorite on Cherokee Street: Taqueria El Bronco.

I had the lunch special with a chili relleno and a taco. I chose pork. Because pork's my favorite. It was all amazing. Pork was flavorful and tender, and there was lots of cilantro. Guac? Excellent.

Next week: Siete Luminarias. Best-rendered pork in town? Yes, please.