Authentic Mexican Fare In Aiea
Wednesday - April 01, 2009
Jo McGarry is on vacation; This story is written by Kerry Miller.
The dishes at Aiea’s El Mariachi are 100 percent authentically Mexican, says owner Jesus Torres.
Torres was born and raised in Guadalajara, the capitol city of the Mexican state of Jalisco, along with his brother Gerardo and sister Mela. Before moving to Oahu four years ago, Torres’ lived in Iowa for four years.
When he first arrived in Hawaii, Torres worked in a Mexican restaurant run by his cousin in Kaneohe, whom he credits, along with his mother, for teaching him to cook.
“I like (the restaurant business) because people like my food. I like to work.
“When I was in Mexico, I helped my mom to cook. She came twice (to Hawaii), she tell me, ‘Your rice is not good.’ She’s a good cook,” he smiles.
“I work every day. I like it; it makes me feel good. I love cooking. My son, he likes to cook, too.”
For the past four years, Torres has taken his love of cooking authentic Mexican dishes and turned it into Kaneohe’s El Mariachi, at which he says business is going great, especially on the weekends. Four months ago he opened the Aiea location, where his brother Gerardo, brother-in-law Juan and sister Mela help him run things.
Business is “steady,” he says. “People like it. They say, ‘Wow, this is like Mexico. This is real Mexican food.’”
At both El Mariachi locations, customers can expect the same hearty, satisfying dishes. The most popular ones include Carne Asada, freshly grilled seasoned steak served with Spanish rice, refried beans, guacamole and choice of tortilla, with optional jumbo shrimp or scallops; and the Campeon Burrito, a large flour tortilla stuffed with grilled steak and chicken, beans, cheese, lettuce and tomato, and Spanish rice.
Served with sour cream, guacamole and a Mexican ensalada, the Combinacion Plato (two or three choices of taco, chile relleno, burrito, tamale, enchilada or quesadilla), served with Spanish rice and refried beans; and Chimichanga (a flour tortilla stuffed with cheese, choice of meat and deep fried).
Don’t forget to save room for dessert - try El Mariachi’s Sopapilla, consisting of fried tortilla triangles topped with whipped cream, drizzles of honey, cinnamon, cherries and chocolate and carmel sauce. It’s nice and light - a perfect complement to any of the restaurant’s entrees.
El Mariachi in Aiea is located at the Aiea Commercial Center, at 99-205 Moanalua Road. Hours of operation are Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
The price range is very friendly for your wallet, ranging from $5 to $12.
The Kaneohe El Mariachi is located at 45-1151 Kamehameha Highway and is B.Y.O.B. (Aiea is not).
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