Friday, July 1, 2011

Hacienda - "Mexican Hot Dogs"

I haven't had much to write about the last couple of weeks. My brother and companion on this trek, Robert, was seriously injured in an accident recently. I am happy to report that he is doing well and slowly recovering.

So, what about important things like hot dogs?

Last week I took dinner to Robert and family one afternoon. I took Bar BQ and various trimmings to feed a family of 7, yes seven. The Bar BQ I took was from Full Moon on Hwy 280. Robert and I had been talking about moon dogs just prior to this and he had told me how he would like to have one again soon. When I placed my order I also ordered several moon dogs. What can I say, except that as I drove out to his house (way out) I decided to eat a moon dog, then another; so there were two fewer by the time I arived. Have no doubt, these things are good. Take a look at our previous visit to Full Moon for "moon dogs" here.

Moon dogs aside, this week we decided to dine a little closer to where we both work; so we went to Hacienda Mexican Grill on Valleydale Road. The obvious question is; "Why are you writing about going to a Mexican restaurant on a hot dog blog?" The answer, which might not be so obvious is to include "Mexican hot dogs". Early in the planning of this hot dog tour I wanted to include tamales on the tour. I love good hand rolled tamales like we once could get at Mancha's.

Last December Robert and I joined forces to prepare a big batch of tamales. We actually did pretty good as verified by at least one Hispanic who sampled our efforts. After doing this I have a whole new respect for the humble tamale. Preparing these things is very labor intensive. Tamales are not just whipped out in a few minutes. I guess that's why it is so hard to find good hand rolled tamales in Birmingham any more.

I had previously had the lunch order no. 12; Tamale & Chile Relleno, Served with lettuce and tomatoes. I had enjoyed the tamale so much that this time I ordered lunch no. 15; "Two tamales with enchilada sauce served with rice and beans." Comparing the two orders I must admit that I preferred the prior order. Their tamales are clearly hand rolled and have ample filling (not necessarily easily done). Either order will give you a good sample but the one with chili is a little closer to what we gringos expect. The no 15 is good, but to me the "enchilada sauce" tasted more like gravy than a Mexican dish. Even so, I thoroughly enjoyed my two tamales and trimmings. I was unquestionably in the "clean plate club".

Robert chose the lunch no. 9, Lunch Fajita, Served with rice, beans, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo and two tortillas (beef or chicken). He chose beef, aka cow. He also rolled some of his lunch into a hot dog like presentation in the tortillas. (Hey, we're still doing hot dogs!)

We left Hacienda well fed and with no complaints.

I was also glad to see that Robert's numerous injuries are healing and to see him walking freely and using both arms. His accident was on a vehicle the likes of which I haven't ridden in many years, a motorcycle. I now address him as Mr. Knievel. This is his second serious accident on one of these devices. His first accident was many years ago in his junior high years. This accident happened to a mature man trying to save money who was being much more careful than that boy years ago. Yet in some circles these machines continue to be appropriately called donor-cycles.

There is another whole story there. The short version is that ten years ago I was a live donor for a kidney transplant, one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Please consider being a donor yourself and tell you family so they can help make it happen if the occasion ever comes. It is a "gift of life" for those who receive.

Post Script 7/19/2011. I had another lunch here today with a companion that knows much more than me about Mexican food. I have discovered that the gravy looking sauce is actually traditional enchilada sauce rather than the cheese and salsa type sauce often seen in the US. Live and learn. This is still a good place; in fact my companion raved about his lunch.

1 comment:

  1. Wanted to make sure you knew about this article on Grantland, an ESPN sponsored web site. Wright Thompson is a fine writer and obviously appreciated a good Birmingham hot dog.