1. They know how to crank out the homemade Mexican goodness.
Whether you’re eating in or carrying out, the homemade fare at Tres Jalapeños, 901 S. Eighth St., is a cut above the competition in the city. It’s a very rare occasion when we are more enamored by salsa ($3.50) than we are guacamole ($5.75). And while Tres Jalapeños has some fine guacamole, the salsa blows it away.
The enchiladas are impressive as well. The green ($8.25) and mole ($8.25) enchiladas with chicken benefited from some exceptional saucing. The green chile sauce was bright and tangy and the mole sauce was pleasantly rich. But the biggest hit was the red enchilada ($8.25). We didn’t care that it didn’t have any kind of meat in it; the cheese and the smoky, flavorful sauce was all it needed. Vegetarians should be all over this dish.
Then there are the juices squeezed to order, ranging from orange and apple ($3.25) to pineapple ($4.25).
2. Two words: Taco Tuesdays!
It sounds innocuous, right? But even without the weekly special, which lets you put away all the tacos your stomach can handle for a reasonable price, we could eat them every day of the week due to the exceptional quality and variety. You can have soft ($6.50-$9), crispy ($5.50-$6.25) or California-style tacos ($7 and our clear favorite), with a range of fillings from portobello mushrooms and carne asada to fish and shrimp. The carne asada, in particular, is perfectly cooked and seasoned. The pork tacos are amazing as well: The meat is marinated and tossed with pineapple for an excellent flavor.
We hear the standing record for tacos eaten on Taco Tuedays is 21. We’re probably never going to even come close to that number, but we understand why someone would want to try.
3. The delicious desserts are intimidating in size.
When the sopapillas ($3.50) came out, we were taken aback. Staring back at us were large fried pastries with equally large dollops of whipped cream topped with rainbow sprinkles parked next to them.
Wait! There’s more.
In the center of this sugary wonderland is a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream.
We figured we could polish off one of the pastries and some of the ice cream before our blood sugar spiked and we were whisked off to sugar rehab. But those pastries were far lighter and fluffier than they looked, and we almost finished the entire mountainous dish before we even knew what was happening.
Then there was the tres leches cake ($3.50). “Leches” means milk, but in this case it might as well have translated into “several-feet-thick,” as this was an insanely huge slab of moist and addictive cake.
Take some amigos with you to Tres Jalapeños.