Dan Jenkins's Favorite Cheese Enchiladas

Dan Jenkins's Favorite Cheese Enchiladas

Yesterday, I ate some of Molina's "Enchiladas de Tejas," old-fashioned cheese enchiladas in chili con carne topped with raw onions. When I was researching the "Temples of Tex-Mex" feature, I heard about this dish from Tex-Mex enthusiast and legendary sports writer Dan Jenkins.

"The first time I ate Mexican food was at the Mexican Inn in downtown Fort Worth when I was in Junior High," the 78-year old writer observed when I asked about Fort Worth Tex-Mex. "Cheese enchiladas (in chili con carne), rice and beans. I'll never forget it. It was like an orgasm." Jenkins lives in Fort Worth again now, but he missed Tex-Mex so much during his years in New York, he encouraged his wife June to open a Tex-Mex restaurant there called Juanita's.

According to Jenkins, cheese enchiladas served in chili con carne -- not thin, meatless chili gravy, or authentic enchilada sauce -- are the hallmark of real Tex-Mex. Ever since he told me about them, I have been looking for cheese enchiladas in chile con carne in Tex-Mex restaurants around the state.

I found them at several old Tex-Mex joints in Fort Worth, most notably the Original Mexican Café, which first opened in 1926. In Houston, they are served at Molina's, which opened in 1941. But I haven't had much luck finding them elsewhere.

Anybody know where in Houston (or the rest of the state, for that matter) I can still find this Tex-Mex classic?


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