When you consider the myriad health benefits of avocado, you might be more likely to order Abuela's Chunky Guacamole before your next Amigo dinner.

Are you aware of just how healthy avocado is for you? As if you needed another reason to eat at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, this delicious key player in guacamole has a lot going for it other than incredible taste. The health benefits of avocado are actually pretty incredible, and they may just make you say “si, claro,” next time you ponder ordering that beloved guacamole before dinner!

Nutrient Rich

One of the draws of eating avocado is these little, green dudes are packed with vitamins and minerals like vitamins C, E, K, and B-6, riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, and potassium. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, one serving of avocado contains 64 calories, almost 6 grams of fat, 3.4 grams of carbohydrate, less than a gram of sugar, and nearly 3 grams of fiber.

Healthy Fat

Another health benefit of avocado is the omega-3 fatty acids it provides for the body. Avocados are full of healthy fats that are beneficial to the body in many ways. Healthy fat consumption supports skin health, boosts the immune system, and helps the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and nutrients. Avocados also contain beta-sitosterol which can help the body maintain healthy cholesterol levels for improved heart health.

Improved Digestion

Avocados are also high in fiber, despite the creamy texture they’re known for. In fact one half of an avocado has approximately 6 to 7 grams of fiber. These natural fibers are great for maintaining a healthy, functioning digestive tract, and potentially lowering the risk of colon cancer.

They Make You Happy!

So it’s no secret that avocado, particularly in the form of guac on your tac, has the power to make you do a little happy food dance, but it’s actually good for your brain. High in folate, avocado can actually help decrease the risk of depression. Folate helps to prevent the building up of homocysteine, which is a substance that can impair circulation in the body preventing the successful delivery of vital nutrients to the brain. Excess homocysteine can also inhibit the production of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which all work to regulate mood, appetite, and sleep!

So if you needed any coaxing in the arena of guacamole consumption, you’ve come to the right place. And honestly, if you’re going to have an appetizer before your taco feast at your neighborhood Amigo, choosing that avocado-based magical concoction comes with great flavor and a myriad of health benefits so you can snack guilt free.

Amigo FilmsTacos blog Website 1

With stay-at-home vibes and quarantine times still going strong, some of our favorite little joys include consuming both great television/films AND, you guessed it, tacos to go from Amigo Mexican Restaurant. So in effort to fuel your love for delicious Mexican take out while also inspiring your appreciation for Mexican culture, we’ve put together a little list of film suggestions to pair with your favorite tacos to go. Some are old and some are new, but they’re all a great way to spend a night in!

1– Selena

Couch, tacos to go, and Selena? Sign us up. This 1997 film celebrates the life and music of Tehano music star, Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, a recording artist who was beloved in Mexico and the Latino communities across the United States. Perks: see J Lo in her breakout role as Selena, and get off the couch for a post-tacos dance party. ¡Baila Esta Cumbia!

2– Coco

Another film choice for your fiesta at home (con tacos) is the 2017 3D computer-animated film Coco. The concept for this film was inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, and it features an all-Latino principal cast. Praised for its animation, voice acting, emotional storyline, incredible score of music, and its respect for Mexican culture, Coco is a must see. Word to the wise: you may want to keep the tissues nearby when you view this one. Tears + tacos? No shame in that! Go ahead. Get in those feels.

3– Frida

Can’t leave this one out. This 2002 American biographical drama details aspects of the professional and private life of Frida Kahlo, the famous Mexican surrealist artist. Starring Salma Hayek in the title role and Alfred Molina as Diego Rivera, Frida received positive reviews, and won two Academy Awards– Best Makeup and Best Original Score. Learn a little more about the life, love, work, and strange traumas of this Mexican artist, of course, with a side of tacos to go!

4– Instructions Not Included

Unlike our very simple tacos-to-go instructions (literally step 1: order tacos to go from Amigos + step 2: enjoy them), babies don’t come with instructions. Instructions Not Included, a 2013 comedy-drama, follows the story of a Mexican playboy whose seductions must take pause when an ex-fling shows up at his doorstep with a baby she claims he fathered. The woman flees leaving our protagonist to figure out life as a dad. This unorthodox film stitches together moments of comedy with raw human emotion to tell a tale about life, love, courage, and parenthood. Give it a try with your next Amigo take out order!

5– El Estudiante

If you’re looking for an uplifting film selection that’ll warm the heart, consider watching the 2009 film El Estudiante with your Amigos tacos to go. El Estudiante weaves the tale of a 70-year-old man, Chano, who enrolls in a local university, despite his age, to study literature. Chano’s love for literature, and particularly Don Quixote fuels his attempts to bridge the generation gap between himself and his much younger college counterparts. Love, hope, and solidarity are recurring themes in this film, as Chano gracefully plays both student and teacher.

Regardless of what you’re streaming, we hope you’ll pair it with delicious tacos to go from your neighborhood Amigos. And don’t forget the cheese dip!

One reason why Cinco de Mayo is better than St. Patty's Day is MARGARITAS!

Spring is in the air, and that means a few upcoming holidays are on our radar. Spring break is just around the corner, but our next big holiday on the calendar is St. Patrick’s Day. Green beer, parades, and sauerkraut. Kiss me, I’m Irish tees abound, and everyone is happy for an excuse to party on a weekday. But we’re here to tell you why Cinco de Mayo is a far superior holiday to this faux-religious celebration of a saint who– let’s face it– likely has little to nothing to do with you.

Reason ONE: No one is going to pinch you!

Wearing green or not, no one is going to pinch you during Cinco de Mayo! St. Patrick’s Day traditions involve a weird, seemingly pointless right to pinch those who choose not to wear green on the Irish holiday. I mean, talk about nonsense. Cinco is all about Amigos, celebration, margs, and friends. No violence allowed, dudes.

Reason TWO: Tequila is better than beer!

Let’s talk about green beer for a second. It’s actually kinda gross. Maybe it feels festive and fun, but at the end of the day, who wants to consume extra food dye just for the sake of a party? So for Cinco de Mayo, we keep it natural with delicious tequila! Salt, tequila, and lime the night away, or opt for traditional margaritas to celebrate the better holiday of the two. No one can argue that a little Patrón isn’t far classier than beer plus fast dye GREEN #3.

Reason THREE: Cheese dip or sauerkraut? You choose. We’ll wait.

To put it simply, Mexican food is better than that traditional Irish fare. It just is. Ruebens and kraut take a backseat to enchiladas and fajitas any day of the week, period. You know there’s basically nothing better than cheese dip from Amigo Mexican Restaurant, and no better way to celebrate a holiday than dunkin’ dem chips like there’s no tomorrow.

Who would choose sauerkraut over cheese dip? Oh that's right, no one. Cinco de Mayo is better than St. Patrick's Day!

 

Reason FOUR: Cinco de Mayo comes with fun hats!

Ok, seriously. Which is more fun? Giant, colorful sombreros with sequins and flair or just wearing green? No contest! Any holiday is only enhanced by the opportunity to wear something festive. Themed outfits are a great addition to any drinking excursion. The 4th brings American flag garb galore. Christmas comes wrapped in ugly sweaters. Cinco de Mayo begs sombreros. And St. Patty’s day? A pop of green? BORING. Plus, green is just not everyone’s color.

Reason FIVE: The REASON for Celebrating!

We’ll admit that with drinking holidays the reason isn’t necessarily paramount. That said, Cinco has a pretty dang cool reason behind it as holidays go. St. Patty’s is all about celebrating Saint Patrick who did who knows what and was important for who knows why. But did you know that Cinco de Mayo is a real underdog story? Contrary to popular belief, Cinco de Mayo is not a holiday to celebrate Mexico’s independence. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla, in which a way-outnumbered army defeated the French during the French-Mexican War. It was some real good vs evil stuff. A Neville Longbottom stands up to Voldemort type situation. A David and Goliath moment. This particular battle demonstrated Mexico’s ability to defend its sovereignty against those who would seek to compromise it. And let’s get real. Who wouldn’t wanna drink to that?

So, in conclusion, Cinco de Mayo is superior to St. Patty’s Day in many ways. Come drink with us at Amigo, and celebrate all the holidays, real or made up. But the way we see it, March 17th is basically just a pre-game opportunity for the main event– Cinco de Mayo!

Speedy Gonzales wRice04

 

At Amigo Mexican Restaurant Tacos are Our Love Language As we all know, February is the month of love. Valentine’s Day has a tendency to bring into view the people and things we care about the most. Many of us who are in romantic relationships probably encounter circumstances in which we wish our partners could read our minds– and that is where love languages come into play. The 5 love languages, or the ways in which people prefer to give and receive love, are as follows: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. When we have an understanding of our own preferred love language and the love languages of our partners, we can more readily connect with them on a higher level.

Here at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, tacos are our love language, and quite frankly, we find that tacos can actually fit the bill for all five of the classic love languages. Here’s how…

Our Love Language? Tacos!

Words of Affirmation: Just try saying something like this to your S.O. “Babe, I love you like I love tacos.” or “You’re the best for getting me these delicious tacos from Amigo Mexican Restaurant!”

Acts of Service: Take your significant other to-go tacos from Amigo to work when there isn’t time for a lunch break. Serve your love some perfect tacos to show your affection!

Receiving Gifts: Give the gift of tacos! The greatest gift of all. Especially with the big Valentine’s Day approaching, think about how loved you can make someone feel with the most beloved meal around.

Quality Time: Taco date at Amigo Mexican Restaurant! What could be more romantic than a dinner for two, margaritas, chips y queso, and–the main event– perfect, authentic Mexican tacos! Crunchy or soft. Beef or bean. Salsa. Hot sauce. Cotija. Spending quality time with your S.O. over an amazing spread of tacos could be just the Valentine’s date you’ve always wanted.

Physical Touch: Wrap your love up in your arms like a little taco. Just like a tortilla hugs and cradles those delicious taco fillings, you too can cradle your boo.

Come Speak Our Language

So during this season of love, don’t forget to show it in its ultimate form with the best tacos in town. If you’re single, don’t even sweat it. Tacos will never let you down. Especially when you get them from one of our many neighborhood Amigo locations across Chattanooga and beyond. Find us in Hixson, Red Bank, East Ridge, Brainerd, Harrison, Johnson City, Elizabethton, and Jonesborough. You bring your date, or your friends, or your family. We’ll bring the tacos!

Break Out of Your Food Routine with Some of the Best Mexican Food in Chattanooga


If you're looking for authentic and delicious Mexican food in Chattanooga, come to Amigos and try some new menu items, like this taco salad.
If you’re a Chattanooga local, odds are you’re an Amigos fan too. Delicious, authentic Mexican food, drink deals, happy hour steals– where the cheese dip flows freely and Dollar Taco Mondays are the highlight of an otherwise tough day. When you frequent a local restaurant, it’s easy to slip into a comfortable ordering routine. Afterall, ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ is a pretty applicable statement across the board– but sometimes breaking out of a routine is the best way to find something new you actually really enjoy.

A lot of us are habitual orderers at restaurants. We know what we like, and we like to stick to it. But branching out is healthy, and a great way to find your new favorite dish. We bet we have a whole host of amazing meals at our many locations across Chattanooga (and elsewhere) that you would love if you gave them a shot. Here’s a list of some absolute favorite menu items you may want to try on your next Amigo visit.

1) Jalapeño Bacon Dip

This is a brand new menu offering, a new twist on the classic and beloved cheese dip. Fresh, sautéed jalapeños and bacon crumbles are topped with our famous white cheese sauce for a new dip with a kick. I mean, let’s be real. Bacon improves almost everything. So next time you’re in, take your cheese dip up a notch, and try this new concoction. When I dip, you dip, we dip.

2) Taco Salad 

During your branching out, test our delicious and fresh taco salad. It’s of the stuff of dreams. Not only is the taco salad a lighter option, but also IT’S AMAZINGLY GOOD. A fried and perfectly crispy flour tortilla bowl is filled with ground beef, refried beans, lettuce, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, and our delicious guacamole. You will not be disappointed.

3) Grilled Chicken and Chorizo Tacos

As authentic as it comes, these 3 Mexican style tacos feature soft corn tortillas full to the brim with tender grilled chicken and chorizo, topped classically with fresh onions and cilantro. These tacos are served with cebollitas asadas (grilled spring onions) and an amazing house-made salsa verde on the side. Trust. They’re so good, you’ll likely wanna come back and order them again the next day.

4) Pollo Loco

A clear cut specialty, the Pollo Loco features grilled chicken served over rice and topped with a healthy portion of our famous white cheese sauce. Nestle this amazing and indulgent mixture up in the provided warm flour tortillas, or just grab a fork and dig in. Already a fan of this Amigo classic? Try an add-on next time to make it truly next level. We recommend adding chorizo for a new flip on the experience. Pollo loco is crazy, indeed. Crazy good, that is!

5) Carne Asada

This delicious Mexican classic is a staple, but we bet you may have never tried it at your neighborhood Amigo. Thinly sliced steak is grilled to perfection, served with rice and refried beans, as well as lettuce, tomatoes, cebollitas asadas, avocado and three flour tortillas. This hearty dish bursts with flavor and authentic appeal. Try it next time you visit!

No matter what you decide to order, just know your friends at Amigo Mexican Restaurant are always changing and updating the menu. We make it our mission to consistently add new takes on old classics, updated dips, and new margarita flavors to the menu so you can always have a fresh and exciting experience with us. Ask your server what’s new next time you stop in, and get a little adventurous with your ordering. Tacos are great, but we’ve got a lot more than that to offer. See you soon!

Chattanoga's Best Tacos Near Me

tacos

You know you’ve searched for it... don’t even try to deny it. “Best tacos near me” has graced your Google search bar, and you know it in your heart of taco-lovin’ hearts. But if you live in the Chattanooga area, you also know that Amigo Mexican Restaurant has you covered when in the throws of even your most intense hanger-driven pursuit of tacos. With locations sprinkled all over town, we’re always just a quick jaunt away– and what awaits you is the thing you seek, friends. Best. Tacos. Near. Me.

Taco Tuesdays are life, we totally agree, but at your neighborhood Amigo Mexican Restaurant, taco Mondays are a thing too. Because nothing better stands up to a case of the Mondays quite like $0.95-tacos, right? And that’s the deal every Monday at Amigo! Each location also has its own Happy Hour hour specials, so if you’re a “happy hour near me” kind of person too, you’ll be in business. The combination of authentic Mexican food and an ice-cold margarita has the power to melt away the stress of even the roughest day. So next time you need a wind down at dinner, you know where to go.

If you’re in the Chattanooga area, no matter what part of town you live in, there’s an Amigo Mexican Restaurant location nearby. Hixson, Red Bank, East Ridge, Brainerd and Harrison all have their own locations, and there are even Amigo restaurants in Johnson City, Elizabethton, and Jonesborough! They’re everywhere, and it’s a beautiful thing. With this kind of geographical coverage, you can rest assured you’re always in proximity to some of the best authentic tacos and Mexican dishes around. You’ll never have to travel far to satisfy those “best tacos near me” cravings, and you can wash ’em down with some of the most beloved queso dip around.

Next time you’re in the market for fresh, made-from-scratch daily Mexican cuisine, come see your Amigos at whatever location suits you best! We’ll be here making taco dreams come true– in Chattanooga and beyond.

Spanish for “cheese,” queso is common in Mexican dishes. Queso Fresco (“fresh cheese”) is perfect for Mexican cooking because the milkiness that comes from being made from raw cow milk offsets the heat from spices. That quality also balances the richness of other dishes, activities and in matters of serenity.

1. Fill a Piñata with Queso!

Traditionally filled with children’s candy, fans of the Mexican staple may find a new horizon in the previously underutilized but always delicious... Queso Piñata. Blast through the cardboard shape of your favorite animal and discover the cheese filled glory that awaits you… and your friends… and the floor.

2. Quesadilla

In Mexico, the tortilla is typically filled with Oaxaca cheese, but in the US, a grated cheese like Monterey Jack, Cheddar Cheese, or Colby Jack is sprinkled amongst shredded meat, peppers, onions, or guacamole. Is anyone else suddenly hungry reading this? You can find the Quesadilla Deluxe on the lunch menu at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, Monday - Saturday from 11 am - 3 pm. On the dinner menu: Paradise Quesadilla, Quesadilla Mexicana, Vaca Flaca Grilled Quesadilla, La Villa Chicken Quesadilla, Quesadilla Rellena, Spinach Quesadilla, Fajita Quesadilla, and La Tradicional Quesadilla. For your kid or senior, cheese quesadilla… Did we mention that Quesadillas are awesome and you should come eat some now

3. Queso Squirt Gun

Imagine sliced mozzarella cheese mingling with the finger thrusting abilities that lay just behind the trigger of your ol’ trusty squirt gun. Add avocado, salsa, and fajitas for a fiesta of flavor in your mouth.

4. Kimchi Queso

The popularity of American cheese in Tex-Mex has inspired other cultures to adopt their own version. This particular one involves chopped kimchi combined with melted cheddar cheese, sour cream, red pepper powder, garnished with chopped green onion. The chunky result goes great with tortilla chips or raw vegetables. 

5. Queso Fountain

The cheese must flow!

6. Chilaquiles

Crumbled queso fresco adds cheesiness to this traditional Mexican dish eaten at breakfast or brunch. Use leftover tortillas and salsas or make fresh with refried beans, tortillas, green or red salsa, and pulled chicken. Some people confuse this dish with Tex-Mex migas, but they are wrong. A variation called chilaquiles con camarones secos adds dry shrimp. 

7. Cheese Art!

Who said a grown ass man can’t play with his food? Create the divine… from the divine. And then devour it. Much like the zen teachings of the Buddha Board, cheese art allows us to appreciate the multifaceted abilities of our beloved, while we transcend the futile and fleeting existence that is the life of a warmed cheese.

8. Queso Costeño buñuelos

The special kind of cheese used in the recipe for Cheese Fritters comes from Columbia. If you don’t want to hop on a plane and grab some, you can substitute queso fresco and feta. The other ingredients include cornstarch, tapioca starch, egg, and milk. Believe it or not, this dish is served at Christmastime with hot chocolate. 

9. Bath Ó Queso

How does a dish consisting entirely of melted hot cheese sound? What if you took that dish and shot it with a super-sizing gun to create your very own queso filled pool? Can we install a diving board and jump in head first? Although we cannot legally suggest you attempt this in a receptacle deeper than 2-feet, we would like a follow-up on the impact of a cool breeze or direct sunlight has on the cheese consistency, affecting your ability to swim…

10. Queso Flameado

A similar dish is an appetizer called Queso Flameado, standing for “flamed cheese,” in which a meat sauce of loose fresh chorizo, tomato, onion, chile, and spices is prepared separately, then combined just before serving. If only you were the size of a bean, and could take a dip!

11. Queso Mac & Cheese

A long over-do twist on an American classic. If your family has been doing this, please circle back. We need your recipes!

12. Bloody Queso Mary

Fry up some of your favorite vegetables, add some pepper vodka or tequila, pour over your favorite Bloody Mary mix, finish with a lemon wedge, and top with queso fresco. Pickle lily pad… anyone?

13. Grilled Queso Sandwich

Of course, the cheese sandwich! The staple of many a single man’s diet. Is there anything better than gooey goodness dripping from between two slices of toasted ciabatta bread? We think not. Unless it ALSO involves queso. Come explore the delicious delights of queso dishes at an Amigo Mexican Restaurant near you and wash it down with daily happy hour specials, featuring 2 for 1 house margaritas and deals on draft beer. 

A look at Mexican Christmas Food and Traditions

Mexican Christmas Food

Christmas is a time when we gather with friends and family to give thanks for our blessings and reconnect, usually around the dinner table and while observing annual traditions kept alive from generation to generation. With the holiday season just ahead, we take a look at Mexican Christmas traditions and traditional Mexican holiday dishes. Fun Holiday Traditions to consider incorporating into your next family gathering.

Christmas Season Traditions in Mexico

The Christmas season in Mexico runs from early December (starting with celebrations in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe, Mexico’s patron saint) to Día de los Tres Reyes Magos (Three Kings’ Day) on January 5th with one last related celebration, Candlemas, on February 2nd. If you were to visit homes in Mexico, you’d find an abundance of poinsettias used as decoration. A modern Mexican legend says that the poinsettia (native to the region) was once a weed that miraculously turned into a beautiful flower so that a child could present it to the infant Jesus.

Christmas tree production is now a large industry in Mexico, although small artificial trees or branches from trees or shrubs can be substituted. Traditional and contemporary Christmas music fills homes and public spaces. Traditional music includes Christmas carol-like villancicos with popular songs being "Los pastores a Belén", "Riu, riu, chiu: El lobo rabioso" and "Los peces en el río". Spanish covers of foreign music, such as Jingle Bells, are common.

Children get their picture taken with Santa Claus, but the Wise Men are also gift-givers. Nativity stands can get pretty elaborate in Mexican cities.

The Mexican celebration of Christmas is called “las posadas” and begins on December 16. Like many seasonal traditions, this one involves the story of the Nativity. “Posadas” is Spanish for “lodgings,” so it is fitting that it commemorates Mary and Joseph’s difficult trek from Nazareth to Bethlehem in search of a warm place to spend the night. Mary’s pregnancy with the Christ child is central to the story. A group representing the Holy Family stands outside a series of houses, singing songs, and asking for lodging. They are refused time and again until the group reaches the designated house. Finally, the travelers are granted entry, then prayer and song continue inside the home. Festive foods are, of course, shared, and the night ends with a piñata in the shape of a star. The continues nightly in a different house until Christmas Eve, which usually features a midnight Mass. After dinner, children play with sparklers, called “Luces de Belen” (Bethlehem lights).

Now, the eats...

Pozole is a pork or chicken soup seasoned with garlic and peppers then garnished with lettuce, cabbage, oregano, avocado, and lime – a classic dish for cold winter nights. Roasted turkey stuffed with cornbread or vegetables, seasoned with salt and pepper before serving with gravy is called Pavo.

Rosca de Reyes is an oval-shaped cake eaten 12 days after Christmas, usually with coffee or hot chocolate, with a small plastic baby Jesus inside representing Epiphany Day or the day that the Wise Men appeared. The person who finds the plastic figure in their piece of cake is traditionally supposed to throw a party at their house to celebrate Candlemas Day on Feb. 2.

Ensalada de Noche Buena is a fruity Christmas Eve Salad. A tripe and hominy soup called Menudo is often made on Christmas Eve (aka “Noche Buena”) as cooking it can take as much as five hours. Bacalao, a cod dish, may be paired with Romeritos, tiny green leaves that are often mixed with mole and potatoes.

Tamales sometimes replace the turkey or bacalao. Pork tamales with dried peppers sauce are very common, as are chicken and vegetable tamales. Amigo offers the traditional pork tamale, a savory pork filling in steamed in cornmeal casings topped with sauce and sprinkled with cheese.

Ponche is a drink made of sugar cane, prunes, apples and the fruit of the tejocotes (a hawthorn bush). Adults prepare ponche with tequila or rum mixed in it. A holiday dessert may be Pineapple upside down cake.

For many, it just wouldn’t be Christmas without Eggnog, and there’s a uniquely Mexican beverage called the Rompope which uses milk, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and Tequila or Mezcal. The different flavorings are nutmeg, vanilla, almonds, pecans, orange blossom water, clove, pine nuts, and even pistachios.

If you’d like to sample some foods traditionally served in Mexico during the holiday season, visit your local Amigo Mexican Restaurant for lunch or dinner or stop in for happy hour drinks! Your local Amigo makes a great place to gather with your family and friends to celebrate the holidays this year.

¡Feliz Navidad!

tequila or mezcal chattanooga happy hour

A staple at our Chattanooga Happy Hour – or any Mexican bar or restaurant, really -- is some variation of cocktail with Tequila as the main ingredient (margarita, Bloody Mary, Tequila Sunrise, etc.). We celebrate this great spirit as we near National Tequila Day on July 24th.

Another choice gaining ground in America bars and restaurants, perhaps confused with Tequila, is Mezcal.

What is the difference between Tequila and Mezcal?

Both drinks are made from the harvested core of the agave plant, otherwise known as the “piña”, but the two spirits are characterized by more differences than similarities. Think of it the same way in which bourbon and scotch share the category as whiskey, yet you may love one and hate the other because of variations in taste.

Geography also matters. Just as Bourbon is a whiskey associated with Kentucky (where 95 percent of it is made) and Scotch whiskey was originally made in Scotland, tequila and mezcal come from different regions of Mexico. There’s a town in Jalisco named Tequila. Spirits Writer John McEvoy explained to Food & Wine magazine that tequila is mass produced in 5 places, while mezcal is a product made in nine parts of the country.

Another spirits writer, Chris Tunstall, said the most common agave used for mezcal are tobalá, tobaziche, tepeztate, arroqueño and espadín.

How do Tequila and Mezcal differ?

The differences don’t stop there. The two drinks are distilled differently.

Industrial ovens steam the agave before distillation in copper pots to create tequila. Lava rock pits dug into the ground and filled with wood and charcoal typically cook the agave to create mezcal with distilling in clay pots to produce a characteristic smokiness.

After distillation, both drinks end up in oak barrels for varying periods of aging, the labels as different varieties based on the length of aging. Tequila, for example, comes in three varieties: blanco (silver or plato/0-2 months), reposado (2-12 months) and anejo (1-3 years). Mezcal is also grouped as joven (blanco or abacado/0-2 months), reposado (2-12 months) and anejo (at least one year).

We don’t expect anyone to come up to the bar and order an “abacado mezcal”, but hey, at least you can now that you know what it is and say it if you want to impress your date.

Fun fact: The term mezcal used to refer to any spirit distilled from fermented agave, but then the government got involved and changed the phrase from a category of spirits to something more specific.

“Tequila was originally called vino de mezcal de tequila — or the wine of the mezcal from the community of Tequila (in Jalisco),” explained Lou Bank of SACRED Agave, a nonprofit that promotes the rural Mexican communities where mezcal is made. The word mezcal comes from the Nahuatl words metl and ixcalli, which taken together mean "oven cooked agave."

Another fun fact about Mezcal: Some producers avoid the variation of the word spelled “mescal” to avoid being mistaken for some derivative of mescaline.

Mezcal vs Tequila: What’s the Difference?

Some of the more commonly available brands of mezcal available in the US include Del Maguey Chichicapa, El Jolgorio Tepeztate, Rey Campero Tepextate, Ilegal Mezcal Reposado, Mezcal Vago Olla De Barro Tobala, Montelobos Mezcal Joven.

If you’re now torn between ordering tequila or mezcal in your margarita, we suggesting ordering one of both. Then more. You know, to be sure you can tell a difference!
Besides, who’s counting when you can get 2 for 1 Margaritas during happy hour in Chattanooga? Call your favorite Amigos location for specific times & prices.

ENCHILADAS SUPREME

It’s May, so that diet you vowed to follow in January may be long forgotten by now. If not, good for you! For others, keeping things like sugar in moderation is a must if eating out with diabetes or similar conditions. For those of you wanting to eat out lighter fare so you can look good on the beach this summer or feel healthier, we offer this guide to how to eat healthy at Chattanooga Mexican Restaurants.

Most people don’t ordinarily think of Mexican as healthy because, sure, those foods fried or covered in cheese or creamy sauces taste sinfully good. But think about all of the fresh vegetables and fruit. When a group of friends tries to figure out where they can meet up for dinner that will work for the vegetarian in the bunch, Mexican restaurants offer some of the more appealing options for everyone. You can eat healthy without feeling like you’re eating cardboard because Mexican food is packed with flavor! Amigos even offers up a dedicated Vegetarian menu that lets you create your own veggie plate! 

Considering Healthier Options at Mexican Restaurants in Chattanooga

Your nutritionist would be proud of you for ordering the Veggie Fajitas with sautéed zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and mushroom. We serve it with three flour tortillas, rice, refried beans and salad with lettuce, guacamole, sour cream, and tomatoes.

The experts say the healthiest Mexican menu options include grilled chicken dishes, which we offer in our tacos, burritos, enchiladas, grilled chimi, la tapatia, Pollo Jalisco, and more. The shredded chicken in our Flautas comes sautéed with bell peppers, tomatoes, and onions. The Carne Asada is another excellent entrée choice including grilled meats.  

Other healthier options at a Mexican restaurant could include Tamales, Gazpacho ( a tomato based soup traditionally served cold), grilled seafood-based dishes, salsa and picante sauce, soft tacos with chicken or beef, fish tacos, or chile con carne (minus cheese and chips).

Assembling foods like a chicken fajita yourself gives you greater control of the portions and the ability to add more veggies.

Black beans work great for dieters, low in fat, high in protein and providing plenty of fiber. Pinto beans and grilled vegetables also work great as a substitute for refried beans or white rice. Corn tortillas contain fewer carbs and calories than wheat tortillas. You’ll want to enjoy other foods in moderation, including cheese, chips, sour cream, and nachos. Guacamole adds a similar creaminess to cheese and sour cream but is better for you. Pico de gallo may be available as a substitute for sour cream or melted cheese. Save the deep-fried options for special occasions.

Some other suggestions for what to eat in a Mexican restaurant when trying to lose weight:

  • If craving an appetizer, make sure it’s something everyone at the table will share.

  • Load up on veggies, especially extra lettuce.

  • Browse the menu on our website before arriving. It’s easier to make healthy choices when you aren’t hungry or distracted by conversations.

  • You can also control portion sizes and take any part of your meal that you don’t finish to save for left-overs. Remember that beer carbs vary from brand to brand, so choose wisely. Ask your bartender to substitute a piece of fruit in place of sugar and choose tequila on the rocks if you want to avoid the sweets. Or remember that a lighter meal leaves room for margaritas!

  • Save the dessert as a treat to reward yourself for meeting your goals.

The key to diet-friendly Mexican food involves following smart guidelines and indulging in moderation. Mexican restaurants are great places to eat healthily!

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Mexican Restaurant Locations

  • East Ridge

    3805 Ringgold Rd
    East Ridge, Tennessee 37412
    (423) 624-4345 
  • Brainerd

    5794 Brainerd Road
    Chattanooga, Tennessee 37411
    (423) 499-5435
  • Red Bank

    1906 Dayton Blvd
    Red Bank, Tennessee 37415
    (423) 870-9928 
  • Hixson

    5450 Highway 153
    Hixson, Tennessee 37343
    (423) 875-8049
  • Harrison

    6701 Tennessee 58
    Harrison, TN 37341
    (423) 710-8970 
  • Peoples Street

    3211 Peoples St, Suite 70,
    Johnson City, TN 37604
    (423) 952-0551 
  • W. Market Street

    1705 W Market St.
    Johnson City, TN 37604
    (423) 975-0252
  • Elizabethton

    623 W Elk Ave
    Elizabethton, TN 37643
    (423) 543-1711 
  • Jonesborough

    125 E Jackson Blvd
    Jonesborough, TN 37659
    (423) 788-2804