When people are in the mood for “Mexican” they typically go for restaurants that have things like sombreros on the sign, and they sometimes even go to places like Taco Bell (In my opinion: it’s an insult to call this Mexican food. The places that people never really think to go into are restaurants like Tortilleria y Taqueria Ramirez. In all honesty, this is probably not a restaurant that I would want to walk into just based off of the looks, but if you read the reviews on the restaurant (Their burrito is voted best in the south), they are enough to make you forget about the outside appearance. Basically, Ramirez’s tacos will start to make you believe that “the taco at Taco Bell is dead” (Arellano, 52).
After my first bite of the steak burrito, I knew that this restaurant would have a special place in my heart. The menu features many other items as well, such as el pastor tacos, brain tacos, tortas and many varieties of soup. One of the best things about this restaurant is that you can get a lot of quality food very, VERY cheap. It’s honestly quite surprising that the food is so cheap, considering almost all of the items on the menu is made in the restaurant. A really cool aspect of the menu is that it is in Spanish and in English, so if you want to try and order in Spanish, you have the words right in front of you. The people who work at Ramirez will welcome you with open arms if you decide you want to order in Spanish, so there is no need to be afraid.
(There’s no way you can pass up a $6 burrito, that’s just unheard of)(Baker)
Every time I have gone to this restaurant I have always either ordered a steak burrito or a couple el pastor tacos, but the last time I went I decided to take an adventure with my taste buds and try the pasole. Pasole is one of the soups that you can order, and its main ingredients are pork and hominy. I honestly had to ask the waitress what hominy was before I ordered it, and how it’s made. She basically told me that they start out as corn kernels that you have to cook for an extremely long time in order to get it the texture that you want, and then you have to cook it even more after that. According to Julie Thompson’s article, “What The Hell Is Hominy, Anyway?”, The hominy has to soak in a lime bath first in order for the hulls to loosen from the kernels. This lime bath allows for the kernels to double the size of a regular corn kernel, and it also gives it it’s soft, melt in your mouth texture.
Hominy and pork are just two of the awesome ingredients that goes into pasole. When you get served your bowl of pasole, it’s actually more like the entire pot of pasole, you are also greeted with a bowl of limes, lettuce, and onion. Even though the red broth that the pork and hominy are soaking is already fantastic as is, these other bowls almost serve as accessories to the soup. Having these “accessories” allows you to add however much extra flavor you want, as well as extra texture from the lettuce. Along with these “accessories”, you get a choice of either tortillas or tostados (fried, crunchy tortilla). This is basically the thing that brings the whole soup together, because you get to scoop up all of the goodies from the bowl and take it all in one bite with the tortilla.
When I got my “pot” of pasole, I added all of the “accessories” into the bowl and added a little bit of hot sauce to give it some heat and excellent flavor. The hot sauce is homemade and comes in three different varieties (mild, hot and really hot). When you try a bite of this hot salsa, it’s no wonder that it has surpassed ketchup as America’s top-selling condiment (Arellano, 9). When I took my first bite, I was blown away by the flavors that covered my tongue. It starts off with the warm broth that has picked up hints of pork, onion and lime, and then when you take a bite of the tender pork, and it melts in your mouth. The lettuce and onion give it the perfect amount of texture needed for a soup. The hominy seemed to all go to the bottom of my bowl, so I didn’t get to experience the soft, mushy goodness of it until my next bite. When it came down to choosing between the tortillas and the tostadas I made the unfortunate choice of tostadas. When I initially chose them, I was imaging the bread that comes along with an order of a torta… that is definitely not what I received. The tostadas reminded me of a crunchy taco shell, which is basically what they are, but that is something that I absolutely hate. Luckily, I had my boyfriend with me and he ate them. Needless to say, if you like to dip soft things into your soups, do not order tostadas.
Overall, I have to say that pasole is now one of my favorite meals that I have ever eaten, and Tortilleria y Taqueria Ramirez is the best restaurant in Lexington (not just the best Mexican, I’m talking of any type of food). Pasole is definitely the perfect soup for someone to try who is a little afraid to expand their horizons with food, because it’s a very mild soup that you get to flavor to your liking. As for Taqueria Ramirez, I would suggest this to anyone who wants to eat some of the best food that they will ever have in their life. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover, because what’s inside could be something amazing.