Little Mexico's tequila-braised short rib empanadas
If you haven’t stopped by Little Mexico in a while, you might want to reconsider as some changes have quietly been taking place. The bar has been upgraded, and there’s a new patio for outdoor dining. Most recently, a new menu was added to complement traditional Mexican favorites, and I stopped by to sample a few things.
Little Mexico owner Rosie Garcia says she wanted to update some of the menu offerings to keep up with evolving restaurant trends around the Fan and to go with the other changes to the restaurant. The new, smaller menu that accompanies the traditional Mexican one has things like grilled street corn, empanadas, light salads like roasted beet with jicama and avocado, fresh tacos (blackened mahi mahi is a popular choice) and bowls. Communications manager Lorraine SantaLucia adds that the new menu includes lots of gluten-free, dairy-free and meat-free options, as well as lighter options that make it easy to indulge in your favorite Mexican flavors without feeling weighed down afterwards.
My friend and I started our evening with a pitcher of mango-peach sangria. The sangria is part of a new cocktail list (you can also choose red or citrus varieties) and is freshly made to order. The combination of fruit with white wine and fresh mint was light, refreshing and not overly sweet, always a concern of mine when I spot sangria on a menu. I can see myself returning to the patio with girlfriends for this easy summer drink, plus snacks again and again.
Up next, we dug into some dishes to share. Our favorite choice was the tequila-braised short rib empanadas — three generous empanadas came out crisp, hot and stuffed with a combination of flavorful meat and sweet plantains, topped with chipotle sauce and cilantro crema. The texture was spot on, and they disappeared quickly.
Our other favorite dish was the yucca fries — a generous bowl of little rectangles of yucca arrived crisply fried and topped with Mexican spices and tangy queso fresco. The fries come with chipotle sauce for dipping, but I may or may not have asked for some traditional queso dip to enjoy them with, and when mixed with the chipotle sauce, it may or may not have been a perfect combination.
Other intriguing choices on the new menu include freshly made guacamole with mangoes, the pollo rostisado bowl that’s a big portion of roasted chicken served with Spanish rice, black beans and grilled corn on the cob topped with cilantro crema, chili-spiced shrimp tacos, and ceviche. Stop by for a your own tasting adventure.