Thursday, December 19, 2013

Deli Mexicana

As you've probably guessed due to the lack of blogging, the last couple weeks have been, in a word, insane. In addition to the normal holiday busyness of cooking, practicing Christmas music and attending 1,001 parties, training for my upcoming half-marathon is really starting to ramp up (I'm up to 13 miles per week, folks!). Save for my rest days (Thursdays and Sundays), I really don't have much time leftover to write. Here's hoping things calm down after Little Foot's birthday early next month!

Last Saturday after choir practice (see! busy!), my mom and I snuck off to one of our favorite spots for a bite to eat. Ladies and gents, I give you: Deli Mexicana (a.k.a. Las Tortugas)!

Okay, I'll level with you folks: the Mexican food scene in Memphis is generally on the pitiful side. Call it a byproduct of spending my formative years in California/Arizona, but to me most Mexican joints 'round these parts are just lacking in authenticity. Save for a few cheap, passable exceptions (looking at you, El Mezcal and Playita Mexicana), it's just not a genre that Memphis does well. With the exception, of course, of Las Tortugas.

Las Tortugas (or, more properly, Deli Mexicana) rocks my face off. It's a little pricy, but totally, completely worth it. For a couple extra bucks you get high quality ingredients, fabulous service, and the best dang Mexican food this side of the Mississippi. P.S. it's always--and I mean always--crowded. Eleven o'clock on a Monday? Crowded. Two o'clock on a Wednesday? Crowded. One o'clock on a Saturday? Well...

You get my drift.
After ordering and getting our drinks, mom and I managed to snag a couple chairs after only a minute or two of table-stalking. Then came the food! First up: salsa de aguacate Tayde, an avocado-based blended salsa.

This dish has an amazing story behind it. Eleven years ago a girl named Tayde (pronounced "tigh-EE-deh") was battling cancer at St. Jude. The owners of the restaurant heard about her fight and named one of their favorite dishes after her. It gets better--she's in remission and currently working for St. Jude ALSAC! Isn't that so cool?? This was probably my least favorite dish in terms of taste (I'm more of a chunky guacamole-type girl), but it was my favorite in terms of backstory :)

Next up: elote con cotija y mayonesa, steamed sweet corn rolled in a blend of lime, mayo, cotija cheese and crushed chilis. The lime and cheese flavors were a bit of an odd mixture (if I were using lime in a Tex-Mex dish, I'd typically favor avocado for richness instead of cheese), but it was still a fun dish to try!

The last (and best) dish of my meal: choriza de Toluca, a "Tortuga" (or "turtle," named after the hollowed-out bread "shell") filled with imported pork sausage and garnished with fresh avocado, Roma tomatoes, Queso Fresco farmers cheese, lettuce, poblano peppers, sliced onion and a garlic-pinto bean spread.

O.M.G., y'all.

I wanted to only eat half. I planned to only eat half. I promised myself I would only eat half.

I lied.
Bottom line: Would I eat there again? Yes, yes, a thousand time yes!! (Seriously go there, y'all. You won't regret it!)
Deli Mexicana
1215 S Germantown Rd
Germantown, TN 38138

Las Tortugas Deli Mexicana on Urbanspoon

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