While the exact origin of the taco isn’t known, it is believed to date back as far as the 18th century in the silver mines of Mexico. The word taco itself referred to the small wrapped explosives used to extract the ore in the mines. Others debate this founding claim citing that tacos originated when the Spanish came to Mexico in the 16th century. Whatever their exact date and place of origin is we can all agree we are sure glad someone came up with this idea!
Tacos are as unique a dish as their origin. This Mexican sandwich of sorts is comprised of a tortilla that contains a spiced protein filling. The contents of the tortilla can vary greatly by restaurant and region. For example, in the lake region of Mexico tacos were filled with small fish, small insects and ants were once the filling in Morelos and Guerrero, while locusts and snails were favorites of Puebla and Ozxaca.
In the United States, tacos are not only popular in the southwest, but from coast to coast everyone enjoys a good taco! From ground beef, steak or chicken to shrimp, fish, pork and BBQ there isn’t much you couldn’t find tucked into a tortilla. At Amigos, we offer several different varieties of tortilla filled goodness:
A healthier take on our Mexican- style steak tacos. Strips of grilled steak topped with fresh cilantro and onions in three lettuce wraps. Served with a side of salsa verde.
Grilled tilapia with a little pico de gallo mixed in. We wrap it in two layers of tortillas- the first layer is a soft shell flour tortilla with melted cheese, the second on is a crunchy corn tortilla and finally we top it with a little chipotle cream sauce and lettuce. Served with a side of rice and beans.
Traditional Style Tacos
Soft corn tortilla with grilled steak topped with cilantro and onions. Served with tomatillo sauce.
Grilled Chicken and Chorizo Tacos
Soft corn tortillas with grilled chicken and chorizo, onions, and cilantro. Served with tomatillo sauce.
Hard Shell Tacos
Ground beef or shredded chicken with lettuce and cheese. Shredded chicken is sautéed with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.
Soft Shell Tacos
Ground beef or shredded chicken with lettuce and cheese. Shredded chicken is sautéed with tomatoes, onions and bell peppers.
Whatever your taco preference may be, Amigos is sure to have the perfect taco to satisfy your craving!
Celebrations, parades, and fireworks fill the air throughout Mexico on September 16th. This date commemorates Mexico’s independence from Spain. In Mexico City the President recites the famous Grito de Delores while reenactments, festivals and flags are proudly displayed throughout the country.
Until 1821, Mexico was sternly ruled by the Spanish. With Spaniards, as appose to native Creoles, controlling posts and limited trade opportunities, many Mexicans began to seek independence just like the United States decades earlier. When Napoleon invaded Spain, imprisoning Ferdinand VII, Mexico and other South American rebels created their own governments while still pledging loyalty to Spain.
With many prominent citizens, including Father Hidalgo serving as leaders, plans were made to seek independence. On September 16, 1810 Father Hidalgo stood at his pulpit in Delores and announced that they would take arms against the Spanish and all parishioners were invited to join him. Though his army was poorly armed, they were large in number and united for the cause. Marching towards Mexico City the rebels were able to siege Guanajuato and continue their fight to Mexico City. However, the rebel leaders fled and the army disbanded after reaching the capital city. Through many of Hidalgo’s successors and year of battle, an agreement was reached in September of 1821 granting Mexico independence from its mother country.
What better way to celebrate Mexican Independence day on September 16th than with dinner at Amigos!
Mexican brewed beers have reached an all-time popularity high in the United States. “The Mexican beer is growing while the rest of the beer business is drying up or being siphoned off by new small- batch brewers,” says Bloomberg Business. In fact, Mexican beers now account for well over half of the beer imported to the American market.
From light and refreshing to rich and full bodied, all Mexican beers have a unique flavor. Here is a short taste profile of a few of our favorite Mexican beers:
Tecate: Named after the small city near Tijuana where it is brewed, Tecate is a pale ale with a smooth yet bitter taste. The sweet malt taste combines with a low hop bitterness to create a light and refreshing flavor. Tecate tastes best when served ice cold with a lime.
Dos Equis: Created by a German that moved to Mexico, Dos Equis has two popular varieties. The “double x” lager, found in the green bottle, is similar to a pilsner and the ambar is a classic Vienna- style lager. The Dos Equis Lager is a crisp, light- bodied malt- flavored beer with a well-balanced finish. In contrast, Dos Equis Ambar is robust with a full body. According to the brewery, it is “a beer with brawn from Germany, swagger from Mexico and the finest North American pale and roasted malts”.
Modelo: Originally brewed in Mexico in 1925, this “model beer” did not reach the United States until the 1990’s, but is now the #2 imported beer. Made with filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn and yeast, Modelo Especial is a rich and full flavored pilsner with a sweet crisp finish.
Pacifico: Crafted in Mazatlan, Mexico, Pacifico’s distinctive packaging and taste became popular with American surfers. It was founded in 1900 but was not exported to the United States until 1985. This crisp and refreshing beer is easy to drink and pairs well with a variety of foods, in particular many seafood dishes.
Corona: Brewed and bottled in Mexico in 1925, Corona Extra became the fastest growing imported beer in the United States after its introduction in 1981. The balance between European imports and light domestic flavors is what gives this beer its unique smooth taste. Corona is the #1 selling imported beer in the United States and the #5 selling beer overall.
No matter your taste preference our Chattanooga Mexican restaurant has a beer that is sure to please your palate. In the words of someone famous, “I got 99 problems and beer solves all of them”, so come in and enjoy happy hour with us today!
Tortilla chips and guacamole are staples in the diets of most Tex-Mex loving Americans. Like peanut butter and jelly, chips and guac’ are a time honored pair. For many, it is unheard of to sit down for dinner or happy hour without this tasty combination.
Since the time of the Aztecs, guacamole has been a staple of ethnic cuisine. The avocado became very popular among Spaniards due to the high protein and fat content. Believed to be an aphrodisiac, the fruit was typically eaten with sugar or salt or some cases with a combination of the two. Guacamole recipes began gaining popularity shortly after the Spaniards discovered this super fruit of sorts.
While there are many variations, traditional guacamole is based on only a few ingredients.
Avocado: As the main ingredient, the avocado is the key and one of the most flavorful ingredients. There are several varieties of avocados grown throughout the United States. The Hass avocado, is the most popular variety and regarded by many as the best choice for making guacamole.
Chiles: Based on its wide availability in Mexico, serrano chills or jalapenos are the first choice to spice up your guacamole. If you prefer flavor to spice, finely chop the pepper before adding them.
Onions: Most traditional recipes call for the white onion. Unlike the yellow, red or purple varieties the white onion has a pure hot flavor rather than a sweet taste. The onion should not overpower the other flavors in the guacamole.
Tomatoes: The tomatoes should be ripe but firm to maximize flavor. If tomatoes are not in season, try using Italian or plum style tomatoes.
Cilantro: This staple seasoning of Mexican cuisine has a pungent odor and distinct taste. Cilantro will add a nice hint to your guacamole.
Check out this easy recipe for homemade guacamole, or better yet, come see us tonight for fresh chips and guacamole!
3 tablespoons finely chopped white onion
4 serranos chills
2 rounded tablespoons cilantro
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3 large avocados
2/3 cup tomatoes, finely chopped, not peeled
2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoons heaped, finely chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons finely chopped tomatoes
If possible use a molcajete to prepare your guacamole. Grind the onions, fresh chilies, cilantro, and salt to a rough paste. Cut the avacados in half, remove pits and scoop out the flesh. Mash the flesh roughly into the chili mixture, turning the mixture over so that the seasoning is well distributed. Serve with chips or warm tortillas.
When ordering a margarita or a shot, many do not give much thought into the type of spirit they are ordering. Beyond silver or gold, top shelf or house there are many different classifications and types of tequila.
Tequila can be divided into 2 main categories, 100% Blue Agave and Tequila Mixto or mixed tequila. Tequila Mixto is comprised of a minimum of 51% Blue Agave and 49% other sugars. The other sugars can include caramel coloring, oak extract flavoring, cane sugars and glycerin. While Blue Agave is only bottled in the Tequila Region of Mexico, Mixto Tequila is unique in that it can be bottled outside of the traditional Tequila territory.
After the division between 100% Blue Agave and Mixto, tequila can be divided into several different classifications based on its Agave content, color and aging process. Each variety has its own unique color and flavoring.
Blanco tequila is the purest form of Blue Agave. This form is clear, un-aged and showcases the natural sweetness and intensity of the spirit. After distillation, the product can either be bottled or stored in stainless steel tanks for up to 4 weeks.
Typically a Mixto, colors and flavors are added to Gold Tequila prior to bottling. This blend is less expensive and usually used in mixed drinks at restaurants and bars. However, there are a few exceptions. Some types of Gold Tequila result from blending Silver, Reposado or Anejo and still maintain the 100% Agave classification.
This type of tequila is “rested and aged”. After distillation, the spirit is stored in wood barrels for anywhere between 2- 11 months to properly age. The wooden barrels will cause the liquid to take on a golden tint, while the Agave and wood flavors create a unique balance. The most common barrels are American or French oak, but some varieties are aged in bourbon, whiskey, cognac or wine barrels to add hints of the previous spirit.
Tequila can only be considered Anejo or extra aged if it is stored for at least a year. Anejo Tequila requires that the barrels may not exceed 600 liters. The aging process results in tequila that is Amber in color with a smoother, richer and more complex flavor.
Tequila Extra Anejo
This classification of “ultra- aged” came into existence during the summer of 2006. This particular variety is distilled similarly to Tequila Anejo, but is aged more than 3 years. This extended aging process gives the spirit a Mahogany coloring and rich flavoring. The alcohol content of the Extra Anejo must be diluted with distilled water after aging. The final product has a smooth yet complex taste.
Grab your favorite variety and let's toast to that delicious kick in a glass!
Salsa is topping ketchup as the condiment of choice, tortillas are more popular than hot dog and hamburger buns, and tortilla chips are outselling potato chips. There is no question that the popularity of Mexican food is on the rise north of the border. What can we attribute this rise in growth and popularity to?
Mexican style cuisine has become a staple in many American diets. From Tex-Mex to more authentic cuisine, tacos and other fair are appearing everywhere and appealing to more than just the Hispanic population. After soda and popcorn, nachos are the third- largest concession seller in NFL and MLB stadiums coast to coast. According to columnist and foodie, Gustavo Arellano, nachos are as American as apple pie.
Main stream marketing and more adventurous palates can be credited to the rise of Mexican food popularity. Tacos and nachos are hardly the same in different regions and restaurants. While tacos and tortillas are synonymous, the “filling” can be very unique. From fish tacos, to BBQ, chicken, pork, shrimp, steak or Caribbean jerk, flavor and ingredient combinations are endless.
We see the same trends at our family owned restaurants! Amigos Mexican Restaurant serves popular items such as tacos and nachos – and a lot of them, but it is our unique specialties that reign king. We use the freshest ingredients and family recipes to cook up the perfect taste combination. The crisp peppers and onions of our Texas fajitas and spice of the Pollo Picoso make these two entrees among the most popular on our menu.
Maybe it’s the creamy queso or the refreshing margarita that keeps you coming back time and time again. Whatever your favorite dish, Amigos is sure to hit the spot. We must warn you, we can be habit forming!
Despite many myths, Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, is not a celebration of Mexican Independence Day. Rather the holiday commemorates the Battle of Puebla. On May 5, 1862 the Mexican army defeated the French at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco- Mexican War.
The Battle of Puebla happened during a hostile time in Mexican History. 50 years prior Mexico declared their Independence from Spain and their economy was still in turmoil from both the Mexican American War and the Mexican Civil War. Since the country had many outstanding debts to other nations and France saw this as the perfect opportunity to collect their repayment and invade the country.
It was in Puebla that the much smaller and less equipped Mexican army was able to defeat the French and keep them from invading Mexico City. For Mexicans, this victory caused a surge in patriotism and pride. Ultimately, Cinco de Mayo became a regional holiday to remember the unlikely triumph.
Cinco de Mayo is not recognized as a national holiday in Mexico and is usually celebrated near the state of Puebla. In more recent years the holiday has become a celebration of Mexican heritage and culture in the United States. The holiday has become a much bigger celebration north of the boarder than south of it. Like Irish restaurants on St. Patrick’s Day, Mexican restaurants will be full of people looking to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with a margarita and a taco!
Chili peppers are cultivated around the world and come in a wide variety of colors, flavors and spice. From tongue torching hot to sweet and crisp, peppers are nutrient rich vegetables. Varieties of these small, bright pods can really pack the heat. The spicy of the chili pepper is measured on the Scoville scale, with 0 SHU being flame free to 16,000,000 being pure capsaicin.
Check out our list of the hottest and most popular varieties:
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the Carolina Reaper is the hottest pepper in the world. Measuring in at 1,569,300 SHU this pepper is a cross breed of the Pakistani Naga and the Red Habanero. This South Carolina native was created exclusively for its spicy heat, yet has a sweet somewhat fruity flavor.
This Indian transplants heat sneaks up on you after your first bite. It was not until 2000 that this pepper made its way to the U.S. market. The Ghost Pepper is twice as hot as the Habanero and is most commonly used in wing sauces. In 2007 it was named as the Guinness Book of World Records hottest chili pepper with 1,041,427 SHU.
There are many great influences on recipes and drinks from Mexico. Tacos, guacamole, burritos and the most beloved of all… the margarita. Salt, no salt, frozen or on the rocks- no matter how you like them, that sweet and salty combination is sure to hit the spot.
Although it isn’t known exactly who invented the margarita, we are sure glad someone thought up this tasty concoction. Whether it was the restaurant owner in Tijuana or the Dallas socialite on vacation, we’ll toast to the invention! The cocktail was created to mimic the combination of flavors found in a tequila shot. The triple sec was added to tone down the bitter taste of tequila while the salt and lime complement each other.
The drink, marketed in the United States as “Margarita: it’s more than a girl’s name” , has been popular among women since its creation in the late 1930’s. The original cocktail was shaken and served over ice cubes. It wasn't until years later that bartenders begin mixing the drink with a blender. Now, there are many varations of the drink including flavors such as strawberry and pomegranate and more recently the rise of the Corona-Rita, that combines the cocktail with beer.
There is no question why the margarita has remained the most popular cocktail in the United States. Whether you take yours flavored or prefer the traditional, frozen or on the rocks, with or without salt sometimes you know you just have to say cheers and have a margarita!
At Amigo's Mexican Restaurants, we celebrate the dishes and recipes we know best, but also love to have fun with cooking. That's why we make everything fresh and from scratch, and aren't afraid to put a little "Tex" in "Tex Mex." We serve up family dishes like Abuela's Guacamole and Traditional Tamales with savory pork and mole, but also more American-influenced fare like Mexipizza and the Guakimaki Burger. When you love making new friends over good food, you want to serve up something for everyone, from Tostadas to Texas Amigo Salad.
When you eat at Amigo's, know that it's a celebration of not only the dishes we love and love to cook, but also of the friends we've met. Throughout East Tennessee we never turn down an introduction or an opportunity to toast to a new buddy. We're proud to bring quality, well-prepared cuisine to cities throughout East Tennessee that are a culinary tour across the United States, Central America, and sometimes even further afield.
Go take a look at our menu—you'll see the broad geography from the Southwestern Tilapia to the Cali Burrito to the Steak Mexican Style to a home-grown Chicken Sandwich. Not only will you have taken a little tour reading the menu, you just might have worked up an appetite. So come on over to your local Amigo's, and taste this delicious array dishes for yourself!