Category Archives: Mexican

Panaderia Guadalupana

Cuisine: Mexican

1977 E Dublin Granville Road (161)
614.547.7117

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Panaderia Guadalupana opened days before we were finalizing the itinerary for our Columbus Food Adventures alt.eats tour and, mercifully, became the answer to the question of how and where to end the tour on a sweet note. We have long enjoyed the Mexican bakeries on the west side (Otro Rollo and Oaxaquena) but this is the first independent Mexican bakery we have found on the North side of town. It’s a really good one.

Colorful cookies and cakes such as tres leches and chocoflan (vanilla egg custard baked on top of chocolate cake) are found in a refrigerated case on the right hand side as you enter. Breads and pastries are in an alcove at the back of the store.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a huge variety of recipes they rotate among, and on any given day there will be around 25-30 bread and pastry options to choose from. The most popular breads (pan dulce, conchas, bolillos) are ever present but the flavors of the empanadas and pastries vary daily. Prices for most of the breads and pastries range from about $.85 to $1.10. Everything is very fresh and the texture is light and airy. Grab a pair of tongs, a tray and make your selection. Then take it up to the counter to be bagged.

One of our recent finds was this jalapeno, cream cheese and turkey roll which was almost a meal in itself.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a big space with lots of windows, seating, wifi and even a couch area. What they don’t have at the moment is any coffee. Once they do, I think this will be a popular spot for people to hang out and work. At the moment it’s a great place to pick up some excellent baked goods, freshly baked each day.

The cinnamon roll is a hungrywoolf favorite. You can see a few shots of Panaderia Guadalupana and their food in this video.

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La Super Torta

721 Georgesville Road (West side of Georgesville)
614 327 4192 / 614 274 4192

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La Super Torta occupies a bright corner location at the intersection of Georgesville and Sullivant, in a site formerly occupied by La Bamba. It was opened in 2009 by the owners of the taco truck Super Torta II and offers many of the same menu items. The space is clean and refined, perhaps to the point of looking less like a Mexican restaurant than a “Mexican” restaurant.

Nonetheless, eating at Super Torta feels like indoor taco trucking. The choice of food is the same as a taco truck but with the added benefit of ample seating and restrooms. The familiar taco truck options are there: tacos, tortas, burritos, gorditas, huaraches and quesadillas but in addition there are flautas and nachos, and of course the Super Torta specialities of chicharrones preparados and tlayudas.

A tlayuda is a (large) pizza size dish which a thin crispy base which is covered with refried beans, chorizo, lettuce and string cheese and then topped with avocado, a slab of al pastor, a slab of cecina (dried beef), radishes and a jalapeno. It is a monster of a dish, a bit dry by nature but definitely tasty.

Another novel dish was the tinga tostada. Tinga is a chicken stew, that we have eaten and recommended at Otro Rollo. In this case it was packed with chipotle peppers and very flavorful. The tostada was also topped with lettuce, tomatoes, a little cheese and sour cream. A great snack for $2.50.

We also tried the menudo (usually at taco trucks this is a weekend-only special). Menudo is a soup of tripe and hominy, in this case in a red chili base. The owner told us that it was homemade and explained that it takes eight hours to prepare. We could tell that it had been cooked for a long time because the tripe was extremely tender – a great choice for offal fans.

The menudo ($8) is served with a roll of corn tortillas, a bowl of finely chopped onion, cilantro and jalapeno and a couple of lime wedges.

Super Torta also offers sliced mango plates, flan, a couple of agua frescas, Jarritos, Mexican Coca Cola and some fountain drinks.

Panaderia Otro Rollo

Otro Rollo Panaderia
3866 Sullivant Avenue
614 278 2339

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When we first discovered Otro Rollo bakery last winter, we were instantly smitten by their fresh caramel filled churros. It was a lucky break – the fresh churros have proved to be elusive since then – and we spent months trying to work out the optimal time and day to strike churros gold again. During these repeated trips, we found plenty more to love at Otro Rollo, including the tres leches cake, pig shaped cookies and these chocolate covered, vanilla creme-filled donuts.

Otro Rollo has a wide variety of baked goods, and they supply a lot of the Mexican stores around town. They also make ‘special occasion’ cakes to order.

The breads and cakes are stored in glass fronted cupboards and you take a tray and use tongs to select what you want. Take the tray to the cash register and they bag everything for you. There are no prices displayed but it is good value and almost everything is under a dollar.

Without descriptions it can be a guessing game and freshness is also variable. The conchas (shell cakes, above) are more bread than cake, slightly sweet and are wonderful straight from the oven and not quite so wonderful when stale. I love all of the different designs on the conchas.

In July Otro Rollo opened their own taco truck right next to the store and some excellent offerings including the Mexican hamburgers and the chicken tinga. The truck is open long hours and even serves some breakfast foods including eggs and tamales. Over the winter the taco truck served champurrado, a chocolate atole (like a thick hot chocolate) – just what you need with one of the cakes.

Panaderia Oaxaquena

Mexican Bakery and Grocery
63 S. Murray Hill Rd., West Side
614-878-5220

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Attentive alt.eats readers will recall that we’ve been more than willing, in the past, to feature markets that prepare their own food items for consumption on-premises.  With this post, we’re going to stretch this a bit to include markets that make exceptional food items which may require a bit of home preparation to complete… because damn, these guys make some amazing molé!

Tucked away just off of West Broad Street, Panaderia Oaxaquena is a full fledged grocery store which includes a meat counter, produce section, and bakery. As such, molé is just one of their house-made offerings – they also have their own Mexican-style breads, cheeses, sour creams and more.

We were tipped off about Panaderia Oaxaquena by G.A. Benton of Columbus Alive. He included their molé in his ‘Get Real for Cinco de Mayo‘ article in 2009. Good molé is hard to come by and even harder to make (making molé sauce from scratch can literally take days), so that was all the enticement we needed.

You can choose from molé negro or molé rojo, and the package gives instructions for completing the dish. You can read about our interpretation here.

As for the cheeses, highlights include quesillo, a type of string cheese that can be grilled like halloumi.

Crema comes in two varieties – the regular white and pale pink. We haven’t been able to find out much about the pale pink one, so if anyone know why it is pink and what it is used for, please let us know.

You can also find these flatbreads called tlayudas, which are often served with beans and cheese, like a large tostada.

As PO is also a bakery, we bought some bread, hot from the oven, which steamed as we greedily broke into it. Soft, light white, and delicately flavorful. You can see the bolillos below which are used for tortas (Mexican subs).

Restaurant Karla

Cuisine – Mexican
Approx 4099 W. Broad (in the strip mall at the corner of W. Broad & Georgesville Rd.)

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We’d been to Restaurant Karla (then called Cenduria Karla) when it was located on Sullivant Ave., and liked it a lot.  More recently, Lydia from Los Potosinos suggested that she thought it was the best sit-down Mexican restaurant in town. Basically, we had high expectations for this place… and that can often lead to a bit of a letdown, even when good.

But not in this case.

As you might guess from the photo above, these guys are in transition.  They’ve only recently moved into their new space and haven’t yet sprung for appropriate exterior signage.  Look for the banged up El Huarache sign, and you’ll find them below it.

Belying any expectations gleaned from the exterior, the interior of this place is clearly no afterthought.  It’s quite the elaborate set-up, actually, including a performance stage and what we took to be a small dance floor.  We assume it was largely inherited from the former tenants, but nonetheless, it’s a surprisingly complete and highly detailed space with a caballero theme and loads of Mexican character.

Service is similarly well thought-through.  Our server was efficient, pleasant, and attentive without being the least bit overbearing. When we asked for queso fundido for our app and the molcajete for two, her nod and quick wink suggested we must’ve ordered well (or perhaps just less predictably than the average gringo?)

Chips and a fresh, mild salsa kept us occupied until the app arrived.  Queso fundido (above) is basically a dressed-up melted cheese dip, and as far as such things go, it definitely satisfied.  The cheese was tangy and perhaps tinged with garlic (think Mexican fondue), and the generous quantities of chorizo spiced it up nicely.  When it arrived, the large portion size prompted us to agree that we weren’t going to eat it all for fear of not being able to stomach the main course. That turned out to be a tough promise to keep…

…and then ¡holy molcajete!

The name of this dish refers to the stone pot it comes in… you can barely see it in the photo, but it’s under there.  It’s been heated up to keep the food warm, and filled with a staggering assortment of vegetables and proteins, including nopales (cactus), onions, jalapenos, beef, ham, chicken, chorizo, and several large shrimp. A plate with beans, rice, guacamole, and lettuce accompanied, as did some fantastic warm, homemade tortillas.  Seasonings on all were nicely (but not aggressively) spicy and the properly cooked shrimp and moist chicken were the standouts among a nice range of options.  As the photos adequately suggests, portions were generous and doggie bags were a must.

While there are certainly meat-free dishes, strict vegetarians should be wary (as with most Mexican restaurants) – even meat-free options often include lard, chicken broth, or the like.  Pescetarians should be able to find contentment in Karla’s reasonably large seafood offering.  Regardless of diet, its unlikely that a dining duo would leave with a tab much larger than our $26 bill.

Karla also offers a popular $6.99 daily special that comes with soup, various weekend specials, and is open for breakfast.

Azteca De Oro

CLOSED
Cuisine: Mexican

Industrial Mile Rd., just off Georgesville (address not posted)

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I don’t know that I’ve ever said this about a restaurant before, but Azteca De Oro is, well… cute.  Not unlike most of the restaurants we’re reviewing here, it’s an assemblage of the second-hand: start with the bones of an old restaurant, add tables, chairs, and whatever else you can scrounge up, maybe hit a few walls with paint.  Sometimes this approach adds up to something more than the sum of its parts, other times… not so much.  In ADO’s case, it comes together with an unaffected, well worn, cheerful charm (that the photos, unfortunately, do a bad job of conveying).

ADO’s menu is extensive and clearly oriented towards a Mexican customer base.  With offerings like huaraches, gorditas, menudo and pambazos, these guys operate as though their competition is the taco trucks (which, as far as their Mexican clientele are concerned, they probably are).  This felt like familiar territory, so I figured I’d put them to the test by ordering the tacos campechanos – a plate of 5 tacos, each with a different meat inside – and washing it down with some horchata.

Chips and a nice selection of salsas came out.  The tortilla chips were fine, but the salsas were the star – conspicuously fresh and flavorful.  The lighter red-orangeish salsa was a standout – smoky, garlicky, and with a nice hot kick.  The deep red stuff packed a searing spicy heat punch.  The horchata, a sweet rice milk beverage flavored with cinnamon and vanilla, was there to help take the edge off.

My taco selection arrived quickly, and as expected, was prepared Mexican style (two small corn tortillas each, cilantro and onions on top).  Going through the list by meat selection:

  • Al pastor (seasoned pork) – About as good as al pastor gets without being spit-roasted.  A satisfying, big-flavored option.
  • Asada (seasoned roast beef) – A little on the tame side, flavor-wise, but a willing companion to the smoky salsa
  • Cecina (cured beef) – Nice flavor, expectedly chewy.  Great with the smoky salsa.
  • Pollo (chicken) – excellent seasoning, but a bit on the tough side.
  • Cochinita (marinated shredded pork) – Very tender, subtle flavor, best with the green sauce.

Overall, the tacos were solid, authentic, and certainly taco truck worthy.  Vegetarian options were scant to non-existant.

ADO also serves breakfast, and with huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, tamales as well as other egg options. It’s feels slightly odd having chips and salsa at breakfast time, but once they’re there it’s hard to resist.   We sampled both the rojo and verde chilaquiles and preferred the red. The verde option was too acidic (lime and tomatillo heavy) for our taste.

Chilaquiles are cut up corn tortillas fried and served with chili sauce. They are served to use up leftover tortillas and as a hangover cure. At Azteca de Oro they are topped with lettuce, sour cream and cheese and served with rice and beans.