Thursday, December 5, 2013

Restaurant Review: Las Flamas

Las Flamas - lunch on November 29, 2013
The day after Thanksgiving last week, my sister's boyfriend took our family out for lunch.  He wanted to take us out to Mexican food and originally we were going to La Paloma but when we drove there for lunch last Friday, they had a sign on the door saying that they weren't opening until 4 pm that day to let their employees have more time off for Thanksgiving.  Good for them!
It did mean, however, that we had to go looking for a new place to have Mexican food for lunch.  Fortunately, we found Las Flamas just down the street.  From the outside, it almost looks like a Mexican version of an L&L Hawaiian barbecue.  It's very casual, you can sit down and order for dine-in or place an order at the counter for takeout. It doesn't necessarily fit the stereotype of "dive" or "hole in the wall" because the place is mostly glass walls so there was plenty of light and it was bright and clean.
Freshly fried tortilla chips served warm and crunchy - yum
But if you have a stereotype that most hole in the wall places sometimes have the best food, Las Flamas can live up to that generalization.  I don't usually eat Mexican food because a) I like fried tortilla chips a little too much for the comfort of my waistband and b) on the opposite end of the spectrum, I don't like or eat a lot of the basic ingredients in Mexican food: tomatoes (nix the salsa), avocado (hold the guacamole), sour cream, or chilies (forget spicy). Plus Mexican dishes are rarely as plain as I like to eat - remember that a French dip of just bread and beef is my idea of a sandwich whereas a typical Mexican dish probably has no less than 8 ingredients in it, including vegetables. Yeah, I have the culinary tastes of a 5-year-old and have yet to develop a taste for 95% of all vegetables.
Fajitas Camaron (Shrimp)
But I was pleasantly surprised by the entrees at Las Flamas.  We all ordered different dishes and every single one of us liked what we got.  The rest of my family enjoys Mexican food a lot more than I do so they didn't have my picky eating hangups to start with. But they're also far more familiar than I am with what good Mexican food should taste like and Las Flamas passed their test. My mom got the shrimp fajitas pictured above and it came with a generous amount of shrimp. The picture below came out weird and blogger doesn't let me rotate it even though I corrected it in the source file.  But this is the some kind of fish entree that my dad got.
My sister's boyfriend got the enchiladas and by the time he was done, his plate was literally clean so I'm going to assume his dish was good.
Enchiladas Poblanas
When push comes to shove, what I usually get at a Mexican restaurant is some kind of fajitas. I can pick out what I won't eat (the onions and green bell peppers) and only fill the tortillas with what I will eat. The beef in the fajitas I ordered was really tender and very good.  What I enjoyed just as much was the flour tortillas themselves.  They came out warm and were soft.  Just perfect.  My dish ended up being a little greasy at the end once the cheese had melted and from the sizzling of the beef on the hot cast iron plate but aside from that, it was delicious.  For less grease, I suggest the shrimp or the chicken fajitas.
Bistek Fajitas (Beef)
My niece got the flautas which she also enjoyed.
Flautas de Pollo
The service was great.  Our waitress was nice, the place wasn't crowded so we received our orders in good time and overall, it was a good dining experience.  If anyone was in town looking for good Mexican food, I'd take them to Las Flamas.  It isn't fancy but it serves good food with a smile and that's worth more to me than a hifalutin' ambiance.

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