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Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / mexican

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

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver launch at Ritz Carlton Penthouse. Now I’ve been to Ritz Carlton quite a few times, but the penthouse on the 27th floor is quite something else. The suite has three bedrooms, a magnificent hall, and even an open air swimming pool on the 3rd level, quite a charming place for sure.

Patrón XO Café and Silver at Ritz Carlton
Patrón XO Café and Silver at Ritz Carlton

My very first time tasting Patrón tequila was actually at Frontera, where the owner Larry swore that this was one of the best tequilas you can get. Made with 100% agave plant, this is the real thing, it is smooth, clear, and if you drink it neat, not watering it down with mixers. Adding salt or lemon with the shot would be seen as an insult to the liquor too.

If you think tequilas are nasty (which many do due to the usually poor quality of tequila we get here), give Patrón a try and I’m sure you might start to think otherwise.

tapas prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte
tapas prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte

The drinks were served with some fantastic finger foods prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte, who is of course, from Mexico.

we were obviously having a good time
we were obviously having a good time – Ciki, BangsarBabe, Haze

While Patrón Silver was smooth as it gets, I actually prefer Patrón XO Cafe, simply the best coffee liquor I’ve tasted. It too was smooth, and has a distinct coffee taste that isn’t overpowered by its sweetness. The XO Cafe has 70 proof, a higher content than most coffee liqueur.

Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver
Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver

It was a great night throughout, good company, great drinks, but that is to be expected from a brand has its products sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles

So the Suan was feeling like having Mexican food since she claimed she never had it before (despite being a Chilis frequent visitor.) Together with Kenneth and FA, we headed to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan, took us a while and a phone call to dree to finally figure out the restaurant that I last went more than one year ago.

Las Carretas at USJ Taipan
At last, we found it!

Las Carretas is a pretty nicely decorated restaurant with great ambiance. Though the Indian waiter did not remind me of banjo playing Mexican, the interior design and various decorative items does bring back the memory of similar establishments I visited while in the States. Consistent with every proper Mexican dining place, a plate of complimentary chips and salsa is served.

Las Carretas at USJ Taipan
Complimentary chips & salsa. Alcoholic drinks for FA & Suan

I ordered lamb shank (memory told me that it was good), FA had tacos, burritos for Suan, and Kenneth went with Quesadillas as recommended by the waiter. As proper alcoholics, FA & Suan also had cosmopolitan cocktails or something like that.

Las Carretas at USJ Taipan
The food, slurps..

The food did not disappoint, rich in flavor and strong in taste like how Mexican food is. However, for some it might be a little lacking in the spicy department. I suspect the chef merely tries to cater to the less tolerant group, I guess you can always order yours to have that extra kick, and a bottle of tabasco sauce accompanies the dishes anyway.

My lamb shank was very tender and well cooked. The portion is a little too big though, I did not able to finish the pasta that came with it. The taste of herbs in the gravey was subtle, not overpowering the natural taste of the meat.

Las Carretas at USJ Taipan
The happy diners

If you’re into trying new things, give this place a go. With pretty good food and excellent atmosphere, it makes a pretty good place for bringing your date. Price wise, entrees are between RM 20 to RM 40. Prices for drinks is comparable to places such as TGIF and Chilis, however, FA (no, not FemaleAlcoholic) reported that the cocktail is potent and they did not skim on the alcohol, she likes it that way.

Map to Las Carretas at USJ Taipan
Here’s the map, pretty easy to find actually..

Address:
No 29 USJ 10/1F
47620 Subang UEP
Malaysia

GPS: 3.047943, 101.583163
Tel: 03-5637 3058