Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Great Cheap Eats

If you have $5, you can get deliciously stuffed at Abi Azteca Grill & Bar at 13760 Smoketown Rd in Woodbridge. They serve authentic Salvadoran and Mexican food. There isn’t much ambiance but the food is excellent and the place is clean. When we walked in the other night the bar was full of rowdy rednecks watching sports. We sat in the dinning room which had two of its own televisions. If there is a TV, Patrick will stare at it even if its sports that he is not usually interested in watching.

As is fairly standard, we were promptly served house made chips and salsa. The salsa was flavorful, herbaceous, and mild. I ordered a Horchata which is a cold drink made from rice, almonds, cinnamon. It was delicious and perfect for cooling the palette after a bit of spice. I ordered a beef Tamale Mexicano and a pork pupusa, both of which are gluten free. I have never been impressed by pupusas and this one was fine but not what will bring me back. The tamale was excellent and the beef was tender and tasted like brisket. It was served with some pickled onions that were an unexpected treat. I could eat a whole bowl of them.

Patrick ordered the Plato Tipico which was a NY strip steak served with a plantain, queso fresco, avocado, corn tortillas, rice and refritos. The steak had a smoky charred crust that was delicious. Patrick had finished his steak and was eating a tortilla with queso fresco when our server came by and asked him if he could wait. She was searching for the word steak. The chef had decided that the steak he was served was too small so he was made another one. He had been perfectly happy with the food he had been served and was full, but who can turn down free steak. I happily ate most it and was utterly stuffed.

If I am hungry and only have $2, I’m going to Abi for a tamale. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On weekends they serve Sopa de Mondongo which is a soup of veggies, cow feet, and comb tripe. They also have tacos, burritos, and fajitas but I loved that tamale so much I may never try anything else. Next time you have a craving for Mexican, give this place a try. They have been in business since 1986, so they must be doing something right. Then you can pop into the thrift store next door for some buried treasure.

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