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Friday, 23 September 2011

Andale, andale, arriba, arriba!

Worth the wait, I promise!
It's time I finally reviewed my all time favorite restaurant: MAMASITA! If you haven't heard of Mamasita, you must either a) live in a cave, or b) you're not from Melbourne.  If you do live in Melbourne and haven't been to Mamasita, what's wrong with you?!

Tucked away on Level 1, 11 Collins Street, this place is the real deal when it comes to Mexican cooking.  This is NOT Tex Mex! (Btw, Taco Bill is Tex Mex, not Mexican) Nothing is smothered in chesse, over cooked or comes with refried beans.  And there are no tacky ponchos, sombreros or fake cacti!  Having lived in both Texas and California and having the opportunity of visiting Mexico, I have long had an obsession with Mexican food in it's true form.  It's fresh, it's healthy, it's flavourful... whoops, I'm drooling on the keyboard!  Oh, and did I mention the entire menu is Gluten Free?  Can Mamasita get any better?!

All that being said, there is one catch... they have a no reservation policy - insert huge sad face emoticon here!  You should be prepared to wait at least 40 minutes (if you're lucky) for a table.  Mind you, my husband and I have noticed that if you arrive around 5pm, you should get seated straight away... if you wait until 6pm, the line will run down the flight of stairs and out the door... how I wish I was kidding!  So leave the kiddies with the babysitter and have a night out - you deserve it!
A fabulous array of Tequilas, Margaritas, Mojitos, etc.
Ok, ok, the food!  For a starter, you can't go past the Elotes Callejeros - just don't ask me to pronounce it.  This is based on a "street style" dish which is essentially chargrilled corn, smothered in just enough chipotle mayonnaise, a tiny sprinkle of cheese and a squeeze of lime.  It's slightly spicy, slightly creamy and oh so addictive!  It's the only way we eat corn at home now, yum!!
Must have!
Next, I would recommend a taco or two.  My personal favorites are the pulled pork and the grilled fish - amazing!  Don't be scared of fish tacos, they really are divine and so light.  The pulled pork is a must in my mind and has a scrumptious pineapple and onion salsa... For me, a visit to Mamasita is incomplete unless I've had one... or two...
Tacos the way they SHOULD BE!
If you've filled up on tacos, maybe finish off with a cheese quesadilla.  This is basically a cheese toastie, Mexican style, ie: two tortillas, cheese in the middle, cooked in a frypan until melted and crispy.  It comes with a drizzle of jalapeno salsa which cuts through the cheese perfectly.  It's a lovely little end or perfect with a few cocktails.

However, if you're still hungry grab a "Comida para la familia".  This is a family style dish, best shared with your date.  If you visit, during the cooler months, my other must have dish is the Estofado de Cabra, translation: Chipotle braised goat which comes with a roasted sweet corn paste - I wish I could get this recipe!  My husband and I usually share this dish with some tortillas and Pl├ítanos Machos.  Goat is usually a little on the fatty side, but this slow cooked dish is pure Mexican comfort food at it's best.  I wouldn't class is as spicy, but there's definitely a hint of warmth to the dish, which is probably why it's usually disappears off the menu during the warmer months.

So grab your partner, date, workmate and drag them up to the top end of Collins Street for a true taste of Mexico... just remember to get there early... or wear comfy shoes for the wait!  I promise it's worth it!

Buon appetite!

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