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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Tacos aren’t just for Tuesdays

First published in the Coastal Courier Newspaper in December 2015

I never know when a specific food carving will hit me. There are times when I can eat fried chicken every day of the week and it would suit me just fine. Then there are times when pizza can only fill the void. And yes there are times, thankfully when only salads will make due.
Then there are the days which can sometimes stretch into weeks and months when nothing but Mexican food will do.

I don’t normally cover chain restaurants for my foodie column but I’m not sure that having only two locations in all of Southeast Georgia qualifies as a chain brand like Chili’s and others. Therefore I will take some time to toot the horn of my favorite local Mexican restaurant, Rodeo.
I am pretty much on auto-pilot when I’m hankering for Mexican food and ready to order the number 15 combination meal as soon as the waiter walks over with the complimentary chips and salsa.

That combo meal is a taco, a burrito and is served with rice and refried beans. Of course the beans have a delicate layer of queso fresco melted on top.

I love cheese, especially melted.

I also can’t avoid ordering an order of the guacamole dip. If I’m really in the guacamole mood I order the guacamole deluxe, which is chunkier with a little pico-de-gallo thrown in the mix. When guacamole alone just won’t do I order the trio-dip, which is a regular order of the guacamole dip, a cheese dip and a bean dip.

Did I mention that I was dining alone? Don’t judge I don’t do this every day!

I love the traditional taco and burrito meals but if you aren’t scoping out the rest of their menu you are truly missing out on some amazing entrees.
Their carnitas dinner (roasted pork tips cooked in their red sauce) is sublime and comes rice, beans, tortillas and guacamole for less than $10. I’ve ordered this many times and have always been served pork that was perfectly seasoned and not dry. This meal will fil you up but isn’t spicy.
If you are looking for some heat the Baja Shrimp meal offers a delectable kick.

It was just recently that I tried this dish which is grilled shrimp, mushrooms, spinach, red onions and bacon topped with chipotle sauce and served over a bed of white rice. It comes with a side salad topped with guacamole.

Did you catch it! BACON! I mean how can you go wrong with any meal that is topped with bacon?

The Cozumel special is a delicate balance of textures and flavors as well. It is a burrito stuffed with shrimp and rice and cheese sauce, served along with a crabmeat quesadilla.
And if you haven’t tried any of their steak entrees you really haven’t experienced a great meal. They have Rib-eye steaks that are either smothered in their rancheros sauce or topped with grilled green peppers, onions and tomatoes. My personal favorites is the Steak Patron. That steak is cooked with onions and a spicy Mexican sausage (chorizo) and then topped with three cheeses.

Melted Cheese!

Deciding on what to order is part of the fun and each time I visit Rodeo I try and order something new. However the process of the dining experience normally goes something like this.
I am seated and the waiter brings the chips and salsa and I’ll go ahead an order my appetizer of choice.

Don’t fill up on the chips and dip, don’t fill up on the chips and dip…CRUNCH.

Hmmmm, what do I want….CRUNCH…..the combo or something new…..CRUNCH….Oh look they have fish tacos I have yet to try…CRUNCH…maybe fajitas today….CRUNCH.

I finally decide on my meal, place the order and wait.

CRUNCH…don’t fill up on the chips and dip….man the guacamole is good….CRUNCH.

The good thing about Rodeo is that the food is served quickly, piping hot and always delicious.

OMG, this is awesome. I take a few bites. Yum this is so good. Take a few more bites. I am getting stuffed. Dang it I filled up too much on the chips and salsa! I’m still going to eat it all (well sometimes I take the rest to go).

Everything on the menu is reasonably priced and there is something for everyone at Rodeo. There are vegetarian suggestions for those who do not eat meat or seafood. You can choose items from the favorite selections and build your own meal. They serve salads and soups, the prices are ideal and did I mention they have a full bar.
Tequila, beer, daiquiris, Margaritas, whiskey, rum…you name it. The mango Margaritas are great. I speak from experience on this…trust me.

Rodeo is located at 304 West Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville. For more information or to place a to go order call (912) 877-2040.

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