Monday, October 24, 2011

El Salto De Las Ranas

Do not be confused. All of South America is not the same. Argentina is not Mexico, and Argentine food is definitely not Mexican. In fact except for the tomato and cheese elements, they are quite different. Nevertheless, Mexican food is globe trotting amazing so of course there are Mexican restaurants here. Beware though, don't except Acapulco authenticity every time you see the word taco, because spicy here is not popular (and neither is cilantro), and you've got to hunt for the right thing.
El Salto De Las Ranas (the jump of the frogs) in Vicente Lopez is one of the better Mexican places I've been to. Their motto is "la vida siempre necesita un poco de picante" (life always needs a little bit of spice), so I knew that was a good sign. We went on a Friday night with no reservation, but waited only 10 minutes. The restaurant is large, especially by Argentine standards, and has enough tables and staff to serve people quickly and well. The decor was more authentic than most with brightly painted wood tables, sombrero and cactus themed decor and hand painted tiles. The waiting area was also decorated with quotes, including my favorite restaurant/bar staple "si bebes para olvidar, paga antes de empezar" (if you drink to forget, pay before you start).
While munching on corn tortilla and something like fried wonton chips and salsa, we looked over the menu which had all the usual suspects: nachos, salads, soups, tacos, fajitas, burritos, etc. In my Mexican food experiences here, I've come to find that something along the lines of a mixed sampler is best, so we ordered la gran botana which came with 2 quesadillas, 2 tacos and a chalupa. The quesadillas were standard but delicious - melty, cheesy and cooked to perfection. The tacos looked like egg rolls, but I actually liked them, tender juicy chicken rolled up inside a crispy fried shell (without the mess of all the fillings falling out of the side of your taco!). The chalupa was a little layered tower of beans, chicken, guacamole, lettuce, tomato and cheese atop a taco round foundation. The best part though, was that is was all served alongside a tower of 5 sauces, sour cream, pico de gallo, guacamole (actually made from scratch, though missing cilantro), salsa (spicy!!!), and chopped olives (I'm not sure why). Needless to say everything, sauces included, was polished off quickly.
Because the meal was so satisfying, we ventured onto dessert. Regretfully, I don't remember the name of the dish we chose and the dessert page isn't on the online menu, so we're going to have to settle for a description and picture. The dessert was really great - unique and delectably flavorful. It seemed to be some kind of raspberry flan, but no exactly. I admit the first bite was weird, but then I couldn't stop eating it. It was creamy and soft, but had raspberry seeds to keep it from being slimy smooth like true flan. The consistency was great too, thicker than mouse so you actually felt like you were eating something, but not as heavy as jello. Whatever it was, it was served with vanilla ice cream and mixed berries as a perfectly fresh and delicious conclusion to an overall good meal.

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