Chef Chat, Part 3: Sylvia Casares of Sylvia's Enchilada Kitchen

After discussing Sylvia Casares's unique cuisine, it was getting hard for me to hear her over my growling gut. She presented two sampler plates. The first came with beef carne asada, her famous chili-gravy enchilada, and grilled quail. The carne asada and quail were cooked on her mesquite grill. Both were seasoned impeccably and grilled masterfully. I had to excuse myself as I gave up on using knife and fork with the quail and resorted to eating with thumbs and fingers, or, as I like to call them, "my God-given chopsticks."

Sylvia's chili gravy enchilada is evidence that Tex-Mex still has a lot to offer. Imagine the warm, rich goodness of country gravy. Now make that gravy taste like a spicy Texas chili. Then slather that sinful sauce over a cheese enchilada made with a homemade tortilla. Yeah, I'm drooling right now, too.

Another example of how Sylvia pushes the Tex-Mex envelope is her poblano grits. Served up cornbread-style, these grits are jam-packed with poblanos. Make sure you tip your waiter well for all the water refills you'll need to douse the heat in your mouth. For those who can take it, the poblano grits are a must when visiting Sylvia's.

Next up was an enchilada sampler that was as flavorful as it was colorful. On one of Sylvia's custom-designed plates, I had four of Sylvia's most popular enchiladas. Each was awesome. From front to back in the photo are the Mexico City (chicken enchiladas with salsa verde and sour cream), the Morelia (Mexican cheese and onion enchilada with red chili sauce), the Hidalgo (grilled carnitas topped with salsa verde and a slice of avocado), and the Puebla (chicken with traditional mole sauce).

Biting into each enchilada, it becomes very clear the amount of love Sylvia puts into perfecting her homemade sauces and tortillas. To properly appreciate these tasty tubes. I had to eat them one at a time, taking a big drink in between each so that my palate would come down from the first high before moving onto the next. Otherwise, my tongue would have overdosed on the combination of flavors and might just have stopped working.

Through this Saturday, Casares is having a Mesquite Festival to display some of her mesquite-grilled favorites. If you try it out, don't forget about the poblano grits.

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