Nothing like a jalapeno sandwich for breakfast to wake up your taste buds. My mouth is warm and tingling and ready to start the day. Wish the rest of me were as happy to be out of my cozy bed.
The sandwich in question is a vegetarian torta (beans, avocado, mayo, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapenos) from El Maguey on 38th and Moller up in Indy. Wonderful place – well worth the drive up from Bloomington. You just know you are on the right track with a Mexican restaurant when the place is packed and yours is the only table speaking English.
I got the sandwich to go when we were having dinner up there last night – cheese enchiladas, beans and rice for me, and a trio of tacos – carne asada, chorizo and tongue – for my husband. Everything was really terrific (including the salsa, and I am mighty particular about my salsa – as you can tell from this and this.)
We were at El Maguey at the recommendation of Feed Me/Drink Me Girl (she prefers to blog in anonymity so just picture her in a mask and cape, with a martini in one hand.) In fact, it was kind of a Feed Me/Drink Me weekend for us, since on Friday we headed up to the place that is lately the object of her culinary affections – L’Explorateur in Broad Ripple.
This new inhabitant of the building that once housed the still-lamented Tavola di Tosa, was opened just a month ago by Neal Brown, who previously cooked at Brugge Brasserie, H2O Sushi and Tavola itself. It’s hard to say much about any restaurant after only one meal there, of course, and probably the most telling thing I can say is that I hope there will be many more.
Naturally there were some kinks to be worked out but there were some wonderful highlights too. One was the amuse bouche – a tiny morsel of fried zucchini with an even tinier dollop of cumin aioli that would have been just the right thing to whet our appetites had it not been served to us after dessert (yeah, one of those kinks.)
Another was an outrageously good salad of grilled hearts of romaine (yes, grilled, but served cold, with chilled silverware, yet). The salad had diced tomatoes and marinated string cheese, all dressed with what tasted like a light dill vinaigrette. The effect was unexpected and fabulous – charred and smoky but crisp and fresh. The romaine held up to the heat just fine – slightly wilted and still crunchy. Count on finding plenty of it on my grill this summer.
Oysters with a trio of sauces were good, and so were a chevre and onion tart and a raspberry bread pudding in chocolate sauce. A trio of corn preparations was fun and delicious. And the service was perfect. A little precious, maybe, but friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. We will be back.
Thanks for the recommendations FM/DM Girl. We’ll be watching for more.
Taquera El Maguey
5629 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46254317-280-8650
6523 Ferguson St.
Indianapolis, IN 46220