Sunday, May 18, 2014

El Azteco- Margaritas, Cheese dip and Topopo, oh my!

If you are visiting East Lansing, you have to stop at El Azteco.  Located in the heart of the dining and shopping on Ann Street, El Az, as the frequent diners call it, has been around since 1976.  The chips and tortillas are made fresh daily for their restaurants (they have another location on Saginaw Hwy in Lansing).  El Az offers indoor and roof seating.  The decor is simple with booths and tables amid stucco walls and Mexican decor on the lower level and picnic style tables on the roof.  The roof is a local legend of sorts with a special garden motif that is constantly changing and growing.  In the warm months it is a great place to chill with family or friends!

Of course, you need to start your meal with a margarita, (this is an on the rocks kind of place), and each table is served chips and salsa (a weaker version is available on request).  However, you need to order the cheese dip!  This is one of the greatest cheese dips ever!  Thick and creamy with a spicy kick, made with cottage cheese, sour cream, Munster cheese and spices.  It's cottage cheese consistency makes it easier to eat than other cheese dips as well.  Look how yummy it is:

So now that you are full of chips and cheese dip you are ready for your food!  You cannot leave El Az without ordering the Topopo Salad!  This is an El Azteco original:  a bed of homemade chips topped with frijoles, guacamole, and cheese.  You are saying those are just nachos, oh no, you are mistaken.  They then top that with lettuce, cheese, peas, tomatoes and a light dressing.  They disguise this amazing party on a plate by calling it salad.  The only salad about it is the lettuce and cheese.  Does this look like salad to you?

They have a half and full version. I have yet to dent the half but if you get it as an appetizer with a group, the full would be great!
They also have amazing enchiladas and beef tacos.  You can even get an enchilada Jocoque, instead of chicken or beef, it is filled with their original cheese dip.  OMG!  
My girlfriend and I got the Topopo salad (we can't go without ordering it) and the combination platter.  

A beef taco, fresh corn tortilla, (somehow soft and crispy at the same time) beef, lettuce, tomato and queso cheese,  2 enchiladas (choice of beef, chicken or Jocoque) a tamale, frijoles and rice.  The tamale is filled with corn masa and seasoned beef!  Needless to say, we had left overs after but we enjoyed every bite!! ( and my husband, son and I enjoyed the rest later).
The combination platter comes with a sopapilla as well!  Unlike many of the sopapillas, I have had in the past, this one is light and flaky and not doughy and greasy.  It is soft and warm and dusted with cinnamon and sugar and of course served with honey.  I only got one bite, before it was devoured by my daughter and her friend! Make sure you ask for it though, it is not automatically brought to you.  

El Azteco also has a great kids menu including nachos, quesadillas, beef tacos and more.  The portions are perfect for little guests and are as good as the adult entrees.  Here is the kid's quesadilla:

We were all very happy after our meal at El Azteco!  

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