My wife and I love trying out different cuisines from different cultures and that led us one day to take a look through Urbanspoon and try to find an interesting restaurant to eat at.
One particular afternoon, we opted to try Mexican and chose to go to Paloma Mexican Restaurant located in the community of Whitehorn in the northeast of Calgary. That being said, some of you who are familiar with Calgary may be wary of traveling to the northeast of Calgary to venture to find edible delights due to its reputation for crime and the general ghettoization of the neighbourhoods in the northeast… but I have lived in the northeast of Calgary for the majority of my life and cannot imagine living anywhere else in Calgary.
My wife has always wanted to try “authentic” Mexican food and so we opted to try this restaurant due to its high ratings.
Paloma is located on the corner of 36th Street and Whitefield Drive N.E. and is in a small strip mall. It had recently taken over a small local pub/bar called “Coyotes” which was notorious in the neighbourhood.
We arrived at 5pm and found ourselves in a restaurant that was understaffed due to a Latin festival that was happening downtown and the restaurant had sent half of its staff to sell food at the vendors.
We were promptly seated and given a menu and it took us a while to figure out what to order simply because this is truly Mexican food! Sure there were tacos and enchiladas (which my wife ended up ordering) and tortillas, but there was also a whole host of other foods on the menu!
We started off with quesadillas for our appetizer and my wife ordered a pineapple soda (which she has desperately sought out for many years in Calgary since her travels to Central America) and the chicken enchiladas and I opted for the Menudo Colorado. Now a word of warning… I am a Vietnamese guy who loves food and when I see tripe, I rarely say no. Sometimes I liken myself to the Asian version of Anthony Zimmern (Bizarre Foods), only with hair.
My wife loved her enchiladas and soda and I scarfed down my beef tripe soup.
The menudo colorado is an interesting soup, if I were to describe the flavour of the soup I would have to use the word… “tripey”. That is, you can taste what part of the animal you are particularly eating from this soup. It’s organy, it’s irony, it’s sorta got a neat hint of bowel, not enough to turn someone off of this dish but just enough to remind you what you are eating. What’s interesting with tripe is that typically, in East Asian cuisine, we marry the tripe flavour with ginger, green onions, and garlic as well as fish sauce and sometimes five star spice powder (depending on the treatment of the tripe) and so the tripe often is cooked and marinated in sauces and takes on a wonderful rich flavour of herbs and veggies… so when I actually had the first spoonful of the menudo colorado I was actually surprised that there was no preparation done to transform the flavour of the tripe and instead it is utilized as a characteristic of the soup itself!
We were both satisfied with our meal but I am not sure we would come back for Mexican food here because the pricing is a little bit on the higher end of things. If you’re looking for delicious and cheaper Mexican fare, I suggest checking out El Mariachis down on Macleod Trail South.
For more info, check out their website: http://www.palomamexicanrestaurant.ca