In Des Moines, Iowa, our community is blessed to have a significant, Hispanic population. The state’s pork produce industries in Ottumwa, Marshalltown, Dension and Corydon have plenty of Latino workers. These workers brought their families. And with them, they brought authentic, Mexican food that savors our palettes.
I have some ideas to better enjoy your Mexican, dining experience.
When pairing wines go with: 1) mostly “reds” because they compliment spicy and hot entrees and appetizers. 2) white zinfadels or “port” wines work for after-dinner drinks and desserts, such as churros and Mexican ice cream. 3) only wines that come from wineries. California, Washington, Iowa, French and Italian wines are quality wines from wineries and orchards. Unless, there are wineries in Mexico, avoid buying Mexican wines.
Being a former, restaurant server, I have several choice, red wines to enjoy with tasteful and plentiful Spanish dishes.
Coppola’s Ruffino ($50)
Ruffino is a robust, cherry flavored merlot. It is a terrific compliment to homemade beef and cheese enchiladas with a hefty serving of white rices and beans. You can enjoy this succulent ensemble at El Patio’s Mexican Restaurant. While there, eat a basket of white corn tortillas as an appetizer.
Turning Leaf Cabernet Sauvignon ($25) 2006-2008 brands
This is an inexpensive wine with a slight, black cherry taste. Order a chicken chimichanga with sour cream, chunky salsa, guacamole and mild sauce. You could also eat a sizzling, chicken fajitas. I’m not talking about the kind they serve you on a plate. I’m talking about the kind waiters keep their hair from catching on fire. You have the sliced, chicken breast with green and red peppers and onions on a skillet. If you select steak fajitas, try a sampling of Turning Leaf Merlot. The wine has a more wild cherry flavor and compliments those juicy, steak slices.
Kendall Jackson Cabernet Sauvignon ($35) 2003-2006 brands
This is probably the best-tasting, economical wine out there. Since 2003, Kendall Jackson has quality wines for the price conscious, restaurant connonsieur. The cherry oak (rather heavy on the oak) flavor works well with beef enchilada, beef chimichanga and Southwestern steak dishes. The spicier the entree makes this wine pair better.
Napa Valley brands of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Merlot ($18-$22) 2003-2008
Napa Valley is legendary in creating excellent tasting, economically-priced wine. Napa Valley, like Kendall Jackson is a California winery wine. They are known for a crisp, grape flavor and being full-bodied; depending on the brand you choose. Dishes with tomato-based sauces, peppers, cholula and seasoning are comparable with these fabulous wines.
On your next, dining engagement, pick these wines with your most enjoyable, Mexican dishes. Make sure their homemade and 100% authentic.
In a final note, Des Moines’ best Mexican eateries are the trailers you can walk up to.
Trailer hitches (for walk-up orders) B.Y.O.W. (Bring Your Own Wine)
Advance Auto parking lot on 19th and University (Des Moines)
Vacant parking lot on 13th and University (across from Dollar General strip mall)
On the corner of Maury Road and S.E. 14th, down the street from the Capitol Building
Authentic Mexican Restaurants
Tasty Tacos 1420 East. Grand St.
Tasty Tacos 38th and Douglas Avenue (12 blocks east of Merle Hay Mall)
There are other Tasty Taco locations on Des Moines’ south side as well.
Also, there are several, Mexican restaurants and eateries that just opened further down on East Grand behind Quik Trip convenience store.
El Patio’s Mexican Restaurant 622 37th Street (next to 37th and Ingersoll Avenue)
Monterrey Mexican Restaurant 8801 University Avenue, Clive (West Des Moines)