SHERRY BLAKELEY, Contributor
The small but mighty Little Mexico is a welcome addition to Beloit’s lean array of dining options.
When we first enter Little Mexico restaurant at 2787 Milwaukee Rd., east of Walmart, my dusk-time eyes blink a bit in the bright lights. No candles here, but overhead fluorescents are the only drawback to this happy home away from home. The owners plan to soften the lighting sometime soon.
We can smell onions and peppers grilling in the kitchen behind its green half-doors and are greeted instantly by Maria del Carmen who waits tables with efficiency and a genuinely warm smile.
The traditional Mexican food exceeded my expectations. The cost is low. The owners, Fernando and Maria del Carmen Garcia, are hard-working and friendly. The husband-wife team opened their Beloit restaurant in February after moving here from Madison. Both grew up in the town of Josefino de Allende in the Mexican region of Jalisco.
At our table, we are served crispy tortilla chips and red salsa. Both are made in the restaurant by the head cook Antonio, Fernando’s nephew. The salsa roja replete with fresh cilantro is fine by me. My friend asks for the hotter salsa verde. When it arrives, he dives in. His face flushes, and he asks for sour cream which counteracts the spiciness.
He orders Machaca Con Huevos for $5.25 and I decide on one of my favorites, Enchiladas Con Carne, three for $6.95. I get one with chicken, one with cheese, and one with shredded beef. All entrees come with rice and beans. I get a small dish of guacamole for $1.95. The family recipe calls for fresh cilantro, chopped tomatoes and onions mixed into the freshly mashed avocado.
The egg dish gets my friend’s approval with its tender shredded beef, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. He picked corn instead of flour tortillas and considers them on a par with other freshly made tortillas he has tasted elsewhere.
The next few weeks Little Mexico lures us back several more times. Other dishes sampled include: chile rellenos – the best I have tasted since my time in Colorado; crispy flautas – ordered a la carte for $1.25 apiece; pollo al ajillo for $7.25 – nicely flavored chicken cooked in white wine; and tacos resplendent with fresh cilantro (three for $5.95 with rice, beans and choice of meat).
So far I’ve kept my will power between me and the desserts: fried ice cream, chocolate or raspberry cheesecake, and sopapillas (deep-fried tortillas with cinnamon, sugar, honey, vanilla ice cream, chocolate and whipped cream). When I broke down and sampled the flan it was dreamily creamy and presented atop swirls of chocolate syrup.
None of the entrees are priced over $11.75 and many are available for $7.25 or less. Breakfast is served throughout the day. Vegetarian dishes are also available. After writing this review, I know I’ll be dreaming en español tonight.
Location: 2787 Milwaukee Rd., Beloit, 3 miles NE of Beloit College, just E of Walmart; 608-312-2200
Hours: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. every day.
Payment Information: All major credit/debit cards accepted. Cash is appreciated.