Brown and Proud

By Nancy Powell

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Posted July 1, 2010 in Eats

Four words. Raider Nation. Dodger Nation. Anything, really, that one could proudly boast of on bumper stickers plastered on the rear window of a monster truck, Ford Explorer or slicked-back baseball cap. It’s in the attitudes of the brown-faced patrons sitting here at Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, in this colorful shack with the uneven driveway and faded, whitewashed exteriors—half rotund, half in skin-tight Ts whose necklines plunge into dangerous depths that invite eye-popping stares, in the sideburns and goatees of men with gel-slicked hair whose stiffness hold black shades in place, in the groups of large families that occupy every other booth-table combo on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

It could only mean one thing—that the food at Eduardo’s must be muy auténtico to invite such a crowd of native diehards.

Curiously enough though, while my dining companion and I sit and order the truest of true Mexican specialties off the multi-paged menu of meat and seafood-heavy family-inspired recipes, we see waitresses in black and maroon, some sporting soccer Ts, ushering plates of tortas with fries and burgers and fries to waiting customers that it almost seems like we’ve ventured head first into a south-of-the-border McDonald’s rather than an authentic Mexican-serving Mexicans restaurant.

And where the hamburgers land sit oversized goblets of shrimp cocktail that look like soupy, salmon-colored cauldrons that appear to contain a strange mixed drink. The salsa that arrives at our table, which we absent-mindedly scoop up with our chips and stuff down our throats before the food arrives, is just as thin and choppy as the slushy cocktail seas we observe at the neighboring table.

My companion has settled on the carne asada, a rather thin and well-done sliver of marinated steak topped by charred strips of green onions accompanied by the standard staples of guacamole (fresh), pico de gallo (a teaspoonful at most, not nearly enough in our humble opinion), homemade corn tortillas and—of course—refried beans and rice.

While fork- and knife-tough, the meat does yield a surprising burst of flavor and is tender enough to break apart rather easily while chewing. I’ve gone off-menu, to the special of the day which happens to be the chicken mole. The mole is spicy, rich, at times sweet and certainly the better and tastier of the two choices we’ve made. The chicken seemingly falls off the bone, so soft and tender that it breaks apart upon the first forkfuls.

Perhaps our whole-hearted enjoyment of the mole (to the point where we’re cleaning the mole off the plate with kernels of rice and tortillas) inspires our waitress to bring out the spicier salsa—a roasted, chipotle version that presents a nice kick in the palate. It’s a definite improvement in flavor and more satisfying than the gringo kind that starts our meal.

Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant does not pretend or even aspire to be anything fancy. What it does have, though, is lazy Sunday family appeal—good, old-fashioned, homespun Mexican food with heart and soul. If you are lucky enough to have eaten at Eduardo’s, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Eduardo’s is a moveable feast.

Eduardo’s Mexican Restaurant, 513 W. 6th St., Corona, (951) 340-3722; www.eduardosmexicanrestaurant.com. Mon-Fri 8AM-9PM, Sat-Sun 7AM-9PM. AE, D, MC, V.


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