Really, where did December go? It seems like it was just last week when I finished the great year end project that would determine the length of my stay with the company. I managed to convince Beverly (plus tagalong travel buddy Chad-O) and Charlotte to go on a mini getaway for the weekend. But really, they were just as ready for a mini getaway as I was despite the fact that they have all been on a plane in the past month. As this trip was only for the weekend we had less days to eat than our usual 5 day trips. We actually had to make a schedule and follow it.
The first on our list was Mexican. I am sure we can all agree that our selection of Mexican restaurants is quite limited and Mexicans would probably laugh in our face if we even tried to call it authentic. Bonito Michoacan is about 15 minutes off the strip and has become one of our main staples when going to Vegas. This category is slowly growing and I’m guessing that eventually, we will either need to get our stomachs pumped periodically or extend it to a weeklong trip in order to fit in all the places we want to eat at.
Upon my first encounter with Bonito Michoacan, I was actually quite hesitant about the food. Philip had taken Beverly, Chad-O, and Charlotte there before and they simply adored it, but I was quite shocked when we pulled in to this vast parking lot with a single brightly coloured building sitting in the middle of it.
The inside of the restaurant is decorated with a whole range of random Mexican paraphernalia including stuffed puppets and colourful flags. There were also lots of clowns everywhere… . I didn’t know this then, but apparently the cheesier the restaurant looks, the more authentic it is (I might just be making that up..).
We start off the meal with fresh tortilla chips with warm bean dip and salsa. Every table gets this and I’m sure they lace this bean dip with crack. I simply cannot get enough of this dip. Vivian and I practically devoured the entire bowl. Beverly came in with a plan to be smart and tried to stay away from the dip. The key word here is “tried”.
The fresh guacamole dip is something that we always order. It’s not often that you get your guacamole prepared right in front of your eyes. This is made from fresh avocadoes, a healthy helping of jalapenos, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. None of that creamy green gloop you see at Taco Bell. This stuff is fresh and filled with chunky goodness. Wait, that doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? Oh well more for me!
We always have a lengthy debate on what to order here as the menu is so extensive and our eyes are always so much hungrier than our tummies. This time, was no different, but we agreed to skip the appetizer platter. Charlotte ended up with the Albondigas Soup (Mexican meatball soup). The meatball was soft and tender, falling apart easily with the touch of the fork. The soup is tomato based and a tad on the salty side so the rice that came with it was definitely necessary.
Beverly flip flopped back and forth between the Taco De Pescado O Camaron (fish taco) and the Carne Asada (New York Steak). After a good 10 minutes, she finally decided on her usual Carne Asada. The New York strip is thinly cut and is seasoned with a blend of spices (which I am not going to pretend to know) and a squirt of lemon juice. Super flavorful and tender and seems to be quite popular as Vivian also ordered this dish. The lemon juice really helps brighten the plate and adds a certain citrusy freshness to a relatively heavy plate. Seriously, steak for lunch? Oh who am I kidding, I’ve done it before too!
Philip’s usual is the Camarones A La Diabla. This is shrimp sautéed in red sauce. I didn’t get a chance to try this out since he was sitting on the other end of the table, but from the looks of it, it’s quite tasty. The red sauce is a blend of chilies, tomatoes, and a bit of ketchup to add some tang. It looks pretty intimidating but I’m sure it’s not as spicy as it appears…
Chad-O went with Timo’s Special A; cheese enchilada and beef taco combo. The enchilada was smothered with melty cheese and I was surprised that Chad-O didn’t scrape off the cheesy layer (he’s not a cheese sauce fan-shocking, I know). He did polish off his platter though and mentioned the beef was really tender. His hungriness is still under review.
My Carnitas came with a ginormous mound of soft tender pork. The pork is marinated with a variety of spices and then slow cooked until it almost falls apart. This is then quick fried with peppers, onions, cilantro, and tomatoes and is served with more bean dip and rice. It was very flavorful and went well by itself or with a mix of the bean dip, guac, and spicy salsa. The pieces were all quite lean so I was surprised at how tender it was. Though I must say that it was a little on the dry side but this was probably due to the leanness of the pork.
One thing that just makes everything that much better is the fresh corn tortilla that comes with all the meals. It’s made in-house at their tortilla station and comes out piping hot from the kitchens. You do get a choice of corn or flour tortilla but who wants flour when you can have corn?
I know that I continuously stress how important customer service is to me, and this place certainly gets an A. Despite the cheesy décor (hey, told you they were authentic!) and the overly vibrant colours of the restaurant’s run down exterior, the staff is always friendly and welcoming. You really feel that you are going to visit an old friend when you enter this restaurant. After a visit to Bonito Michoacan, I just can’t look at guacamole and bean dip the same way. You definitely have to be very hungry to come visit because the portions are huge and you will probably fill yourself up with that crack laced bean dip like Vivian and I..
Muchas gracias for introducing me to true mexican fare my fellow Hungry Asians!
Last Visit: December 2011