Sep 22ndDave Simmons
Aunt Chilada's Has it All
I consider myself a Phoenix mexican food expert. Always on the hunt for something better, Aunt Chilada's was kind enough to come my way. Ironically, my Aunt was the one who suggested that we try it, because....well, we have just about tried them all. I must admit that I was not too thrilled about going to a place named Aunt Chilada's. The name conjured up restaurant chain, or I thought the name sounded too generic to possibly be good. BUT I WAS SOOOOO WRONG.
I am going to start with the cheese crisp. To anyone outside of Arizona, they don't really know what a chesse crisp is and it doesn't help to explain it because they just say something like, 'so it's basically just a quesadilla without the top tortilla'. It is, but I must tell you that it is so much more. My family and I have always and I mean ALWAYS ordered a cheese crisp as an appetizer when we would travel to Phoenix. However we never order a quesadilla, not for a meal, not for an appetizer, when we are at some other mexican restaurant, outside of Arizona. The fact is, it is one flour tortilla with cheese on top. So simple, but when someone gets it right, it is heavenly. I chose to use the cheese crisp picture as the photo for this review because, Aunt Chilada's nailed it!! Even my 90 year old granny, who hardly even eats, didn't say anthing for ten minutes because she was too busy stuffing her face with more than one slice of cheese crisp (unheard of). Notice the brown color of the tortilla and that wonderful layer of cheese. We all seem to like to eat ours differently. My Aunt loves jalepenos on hers, my sister loves the thin hot sauce on hers, my mom loves the chunky salsa, I love both salsas but not at the same time. I always eat more than one slice, so I alternate. I know, to some of you, I have probably gone on too long about a cheese crisp, but if you go to this restaurant, please order one. You heard it here, Aunt Chilada's has the best cheese crisp in Phoenix, AZ.
Oh, have I mentioned that Aunt Chilada's doesn't use lard in any of their dishes, not to fry the chips, nor do they use it in their beans. Their chips are fabulous; they include fried corn tortilla chips and fried flour tortilla chips. The salsa was excellent and included sliced black olives in it. YUM! Not something you see everyday.
Here's what we ate and drank. I first tried the house frozen margarita and unlike the restaurant we ate at two days before, this one was nice and strong and helped balance that summer heat in Phoenix (not an easy task). The hard shell shredded beef taco was outstanding. The crunchiness of the shell was absolute perfection, the meat was flavored 'oh-so-right' and the toppings balanced everything. Instead of rice, I ordered the fideo, which they said was a mexican pasta. It resembles rice a roni, but didn't taste like it and I thought it was much better than the usual rice that comes with most combinations. The beans were also superb, especially knowing that they weren't made with lard (sorry Taco Bell). The chicken enchilada was out-of-sight. I mean it!!! Nice flavorful small chunks of chicken made all the difference. I would rate the cheese enchilada as being very good but not the best that I have had. They are so close and I think if they spent just a little more time on perfecting the cheese enchilada, I would never go anywhere else! At this time, I think the Tee Pee Mexican Restaurant on Indian School Rd has the best cheese enchilada but as far as anything else, the Tee Pee has lost their edge over the years. For one, the Tee Pee switched from frying their own taco shells to using the generic shells you can buy in a grocery store. WHO DOES THAT????!!????.....Anyhow, that's another review. Back to the greatness of Aunt Chilada's. The place is on the top of my list when I visit Phoenix, which is a few times a year. We actually ate at Aunt Chilada's two nights in a row and I was only in town for four nights. My mouth is watering just thinking about my return.
7330 North Dreamy Draw Drive
Phoenix, Arizona 85020
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