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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / mexican food

Some months back my desk was moved back to the main office at KLCC, which translate to more opportunity in checking out the recently revamped Avenue K that is placing more emphasis to the food seeking crowd.

One of the restaurants that always seem to have a long queue during lunch time is Fresca on the ground floor, so we decided to check it out.

Fresca Mexican Cuisine at Avenue K
Fresca Mexican Cuisine at Avenue K

The premise that houses Fresca Mexican Cuisine also has another section occupied by Dolly dimsum, I thought that’s a bit of a strange arrangement, but it seems to be working well for the restaurant.

Ambiance is great with tall and wide windows, and the segment of glass roof also add in to provide great lighting condition for the restaurant. I really like it.

tortilla chips & tapas
tortilla chips & tapas, love the jalapenos

For five of us, we started out with some tortilla chips with guagomole (RM 20), those fattening avacado sauce and freshly fried tortilla proved to be a good appetizer, though beer would really be great in this instance.

What’s Mexican cuisine without some tapas? We had Jalapeno Poppers (RM 17), Hongos Rellenos (RM 20, portobello mushroom with eggplant),  and Camarones (RM23, sauteed prawn tacos).

While they aren’t exactly “economical” in pricing, these were very good side dishes, I particularly love the jalapeno poppers with the aroma of the Mexican green pepper and the juiciness of minced beef with those crispy shell. It was great.

beef fajitas & cordero a la tamarindo (rack of lamb)
beef fajitas & cordero a la tamarindo (rack of lamb)

Like most Mexican restaurants, there are a few usual suspects when it comes to main dishes. There’s enchaladas, burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and a few other typical items in the menu. Many of these dishes come with options of chicken or beef as well.

We tried Beef Fenderloin Fajitas (RM 47) that came in sizzling hot plate, the meat was tender and juicy, with condiments that did not disappoint. However, do order some extra pita bread if you’re sharing this dish though.

Cordero a la Tamarindo, or rack of lamb (RM 63) is the highest priced item on their menu, but also one that satisfied our collective palates. The lamb was succulent and the marinade spot on.

camaraones - sauteed prawn tacos, pollo a la parrilla (grilled chicken)
camaraones – sauteed prawn tacos, pollo a la parrilla (grilled chicken)

For those seeking something slightly closer to our Asian tastes, Pollo a la Parilla (RM 34, grilled chicken) would not be a bad choice. There’s plenty of rice and the rather tasty poultry that’s marinated with their house special marinate.

Kelly, Sheng, Latha, Joyce, KY
Kelly, Sheng, Latha, Joyce, KY

Food at Fresca did not disappoint at all, though pricing is a little on the high side, but considering the ambiance, location, and quality of food you get, it is not a bad place to visit at all.

By the way, don’t waste your time with their churros (RM 15), it was a disappointment.

map of Avenue K

Address:
Fresca
Ground Floor,
Avenue K, 156, Jln Ampang,
50450 KL

GPS: 3.159210, 101.713538
Tel: 03-2201 2893

Mexican cuisine isn’t one of the most popular foreign foods in Malaysia, but if you want Western style food with a dose of hotness, this is where you go. Las Carretas is probably one of the earlier establishments serving Mexican cuisine in the country, and with three branches in town, the brand is proved to be pretty popular among locals and expats as well.

Las Carretas at Ampang
Las Carretas at Ampang

This is the second post on Las Carretas on the blog, the first being a 2006 version when (I believe) they only had one branch at USJ. The chain has grown since and I thought it’ll be appropriate to pen another review since we went to the Ampang branch just a while back.

fresh oysters in different flavors
fresh oysters in different flavors

There are quite a selection of starters in the menu, but for oyster lovers, one must not miss their offerings. Have it fresh, with cheese and herbs, or salsa on top (RM 29.90 for half dozen). The shellfish were big, fresh, juicy, and absolutely mouth watering. Very decent value for what you get.

chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup
chips and salsa, squid rings, oxtail soup

Chips and salsa is always served while you wait for food to arrived. While they’re very tasty, try not to over indulge in them to avoid stuffing your stomach too early before your main arrives.

Calamares a la Romana is the Mexican way of saying deep fried squid rings (RM 21.90), and they are served with garlic mayo dip and tartar sauce. Tastes pretty good but not exactly something you can’t get from just about anywhere.

I tried Sopa De Rabo (boneless oxtail soup, RM 11.90) and well, if there’s anything better than oxtail soup, it is making it boneless. Easy to consume, delicious and with zero hassle. I love it.

rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin
rib-eye steak with foie gras, boneless chicken chop, NZ lamb loin

For my main dish I chose Bife Ancho, or rib-eye steak with an addition of seared foie gras (RM 92, or RM 68 without). The 45-day aged Australian grain fed beef were excellent, but the preparation of foie gras was lacking, I felt that they overcooked it a bit.

Other friends who had Pollo Loco (boneless chicken chop with black peppercorn sauce, RM 19.90) and Crusted N.Z. Lamb Rack (RM 64.90) were very happy with their choices. The lamb, served with freshly made rosemary sauce and cooked to perfection, was especially praised.

prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas
prawn spaghetti, grain fed t-bone steak, beef fajitas

Prawn Spaghetti (RM 38.90) was served with pretty good size prawns and drenched in garlic, chili, and fajita sauce. Positively Mexican and yet something that’s easy to adapt to if you’re not used to the taste.

If you have a big appetite, Chuleton De Bistek (T-bone steak, RM 65.90) and all it’s 450 gram glory can be yours, complete with salad, ranch dressing, and steak fries. One of our team members’ go-to meal here.

Interestingly, we only really ordered one “classic” Mexican dish among the 10 of us. The beef Fajitas (RM 33.90) was served in a sizzling hot plate with plenty of warm tortilla to go around. I love their Guacamole sauce that comes with this dish.

awesome lunch with the team
awesome lunch with the team

It seems to me that after some 6-7 years between the last visit and this one, Las Carretas hasn’t missed a beat. Food is still generally very good (except for the foie gras), prices are reasonable for what you get, and service isn’t anything to complain about either. I should go there again, this time maybe sooner.

map to Las Carretas, Ampang

Address:
Las Carretas Mexican Restaurant
22 Persian Ampang
55000 Kuala Lumpur
GPS: 3.159156, 101.746702
Tel: 03-4257 1668
Weblascarretas.com

Las Carretas

It all got started when Larry of Frontera sent me an email that titled “Ready for some real Tex-Mex?” a few weeks ago.

Having spent quite a number of years in the States, I was quite eager to give this place a try. It had been a very long time since I had any Mexican food, let alone the more unique Tex-Mex, so Mellissa and paid Larry a visit a couple weekends ago.

Frontera TexMex restaurant
Frontera Tex Mex restaurant with owner Larry

Frontera is located at Jaya One, a place that is fast becoming a very trendy watering hole in PJ. There are dozens of eateries offering a wide variety of choices from fast food chains, cafes, Chinese restaurants, pubs, and of course, a Tex-Mex outlet.

Larry greeted us warmly and we took a seat at the bar. The restaurant is decorated in typical sports bar concept that is not very different from the likes of Chili’s. Nothing to shout about, but it was clean and comfortable.

habanero, jalapeno pepper, mexican oregano
Habanero and Jalapeno peppers, Mexican Oregano

Larry is a man who appears to be very passionate about his food, from the moment we sat down, the Texan went into in depth discussions about the ingredients, recipe, origin, and basically almost everything about the dishes we were served.

Everything here is done according to the way Larry learned from back home, and it all starts out with the ingredients. I had recently noticed that some Cold Storage outlets are carrying jalapeno and habanaro peppers (love the former, didn’t miss the latter), and apparently Frontera is the reason behind it. Larry was the one who initiated the import of the peppers that eventually found its way to the grocer.

chips and salsa, nachos, taquito de pollo
chips and salsa, Frontera nachos, Taquitos de Pollo

We got started with chips and salsa (RM 8.95), they used to offer this for free so long as you order drinks, but apparently Malaysian can’t handle free chips and will inadvertently start to abuse it (as in come in, order a beer and have free chips all night long). Despite knowing we will have a lot to eat in the session, we finished the chips anyhow. The salsa was just too good.

Two classic Tex-Mex dishes came next, nachos (RM 22.95) and taquitos de pollo (RM 19.95). The nachos aren’t the typical messy type that you get at cinemas (for example, at Gardens), individual tortilla chip covered with melted cheese and a slice of marinated jalapeno pepper on top with some sour cream, lettuce and tomato at the center. Very authentic and nicely presented.

The taquito de pollo is something that looks like a love letter (pastry) but with the texture that is closer to deep fried spring role. The rolled up tortilla with chicken was very delicious with the spicy homemade jalapeno salsa, I would have eaten more than just one if Larry didn’t keep bringing out other dishes.

BBQ beef ribs, Frontera burger, Chili Con Carne
BBQ beef ribs, Frontera burger, chili con carne

The BBQ beef ribs priced at RM 49.95 is one of the most expensive dishes you can find at Frontera. I do like the BBQ sauce that goes with it, but ultimately, it is no pork. I personally prefer the pork ribs at Tony Roma’s (in Bangkok) over this. If you’re a beef ribs person, I suppose there would be no complains.

The Frontera burger (RM 15.95) is a great value that beats the Carl’s Jr. equivalent by miles. A good size beef patty with cheese and chili in between the buns that goes so well with mustard for some kicks.

My favorite dishes of the session was the unassuming Chili con carne (RM 8.95, RM 16.95). I lived in the hometown of Skyline Chili at Cincinnati for a year and chili was a taste I had acquired there. The chili here was the best I’ve tasted, there’s no beans, plenty of beef and the flavor of jalapeno, onion, and garlic all mixed together. This would be something I’ll order when I go there again.

beef enchiladas, golden chicken tenders
new menu item, beef enchiladas, golden chicken fingers

The spring roll look alike dish in the collage above should be ignored, it is an experimental dish that might be part of the new menu that is in works. I can’t remember the name of it but it was something that tasted pretty good (especially with the sauce).

Enchilada is another popular dish at any Tex-Mex restaurants. The beef enchiladas (RM 28.95) we had tasted every bit like how an enchilada should taste like. Rich and flavorful.

And as if we haven’t been wasting too much food, Larry brought out the chicken tenders (RM 16.95) just because I told him I like honey mustard sauce and they are so hard to come by around here. The home made sauce made me want to cry, it was the long lost taste (from the sauce with McD’s nugget in USA) that finally found it’s way back, except 10x better. *slurps*

Don Julio and Patron tequila, margarita, XO cafe coffee liqueur
Don Julio and Patron tequila, margarita, XO cafe coffee liqueur

We were also served margaritas that’s made with premium tequilas including Don Julio and Patron (made with 100% agave plant). They tasted great, and maybe a tad too strong for me. We were also half-forced into taking a shot of Patron XO cafe coffee liqueur. It is a strange mix of strong coffee and tequila taste that somehow worked together very well. Saying that it tastes similar to Kahlua would be unfair, but that is the only description i could come up with.


Frontera Bar and Grill is located at ground floor, Jaya One

We chatted with Larry about a lot of other things too, it was a very enjoyable food review session. I headed back with a stomach that is so full and ended up skipping dinner for the day.

If you’re into authentic Tex-Mex food, give this place a try. After all the Mexican embassy has already made this place one of their favorite restaurants.

Address:
Frontera Bar & Grill
18-G-2, Block L,
Palm Square Jaya One,
No. 72A, Jalan Universiti,
Petaling Jaya
GPS: 3.118298, 101.635294
Tel: 03-7958 8515