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Monday, July 30, 2007

Las Margaritas upgrades

margaritas-dj.jpg

When I lived in Houston, a highlight of every week was going to a Mexican hole-in-the-wall that served killer huevos rancheros with the best green sauce I've ever tasted. Twenty years later, I'm still craving that dish but long ago gave up finding a decent version in any area of town except Buford Highway, where it's not that easy, either, actually.

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Sunday, I happened to pass Las Margaritas (1842 Cheshire Bridge Road, 404-873-4464). The restaurant, which has been around more than 15 years, was festooned with banners announcing brunch and a tapas menu. Dance music was blaring from the enclosed front patio. So, I decided to stop in.

Inside, the restaurant was playing recorded salsa. I sat next to a window and watched a DJ playing a Cindy Lauper remix on the patio (top photo). If you're ADD, you might find the aural ambiance a bit confusing, but you'll otherwise enjoy the festive interior. It's kind of campy but avoids the usual excesses.

The huevos rancheros (above) were primo quality. The menu said to expect two fried eggs but I got three, floating in a pool of red sauce with green sauce coating the yolks. The eggs were served with the usual refried beans and rice. The only oddity: The eggs were served atop a corn tortilla. I have no idea why.

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I also sampled one item from the tapas menu — yuca rellena (left). The flash-fried yucca was filled with ground meat, topped with some purple onions and served with a relish of black beans and corn. This dish is popular in Peru, as well as Cuba, and its appearance on the menu is indicative of the broad range of cuisines represented here. There are dishes from Spain, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba and Argentina.

It's been years since I visited this restaurant, which used to be popular mainly for swilling margaritas and mediocre Mexican food. It seems to have improved dramatically.

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