The Hungry Man Eats

Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Uncle Julio’s Fine Mexican Food

Ceviche

I recently had the good fortune to have dinner out with friends at Uncle Julio’s. Uncle Julio’s describes themselves as a “border style Mexican food” restaurant. It’s a chain, but not a very big one with only 19 locations, most in Texas, Virginia and Illinois.

Their website states ”The combination of Mexican cooking expertise with fresh, locally grown Texan ingredients created a new style of fare that is far from what you find elsewhere as “Tex-Mex.” Uncle Julio’s is proud to stay close to its Mexican heritage by offering high-quality fare that mirrors the original cooked up by cowboys on the plains a century ago.” Okay Uncle Julio’s, we will take you at your word that you are a “border style Mexican food” restaurant, but your description basically screams that you are a “Tex-Mex” restaurant. Perhaps that is just your fancy way of telling us that you would prefer to be called a “Mex-Tex” restaurant? Or maybe you’re just disappointed that “On the Border” was already taken.

Enough discussion about the name and how they describe themselves, let’s talk about the food.

In my opinion, the standout dish they serve at Uncle Julio’s is their fajitas. They include beef or chicken (or both with the combo) sautéed peppers and onions, guacamole, pico de gallo, Mexican rice, frijoles a la charra and cheese and sour cream (which cost extra). The fajitas for one cost $19.79 for the combo plus cheese and sour cream. The same combo I the fajitas for two costs $34.99, but the serving size on the fajitas for one is actually plenty for two people, especially if you have been partaking in the free chips and salsa they provide. I strongly recommend getting the beef only version as the chicken has a tendency to be a bit gristly and it is also cooked with the skin on. That will help with keeping it moist, but it is not so good to eat. Also, the beef is just that good that it is well worth choosing over the chicken because it is really tender and flavorful beef. If you get the combo you will just find yourself wishing you had more beef and fighting your tablemates over the last strip of beef.

I mentioned the chips and salsa, and they serve one of the top salsas I have had, it is not a chunky salsa and some people may find it to be a bit on the runny side, but it has one of the best flavors of any salsa I have tried. Be warned that one of its main flavors is cilantro, so if you are not fond of cilantro, than you will not be a fan of this salsa.

I usually get the fajitas and share them with whomever I come with but this trip I ended up getting a soup and an appetizer and calling it my dinner.

I started with a bowl of shrimp and lobster soup. This was their soup of the day on the Friday I was there and it is not clear if they serve this soup everywhere or not as they made no mention of it on their main website. They were generous with the seafood and the soup had some nice spicy kick to it that would be especially great on a cold winter day.

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For my main dish I ordered the Ceviche Royale (pictured above) which contains shrimp, scallops and tilapia, along with tomatoes, onions and cilantro marinated with lime and lemon juice. It comes with some large tortilla chips to pile the ceviche on. Unfortunately I am no ceviche aficionado, as this dish is the only place I have had it, so I can’t really say how it measures up compared to other recipes and restaurants, I just know that I find this dish to be a delicious alternative to the fajitas.

Uncle Julio’s also has some fine drink choices, they are known for a drink called the Swirl which is a frozen margarita/sangria combo. Their margaritas are also good, either on the rocks or frozen and they have a reasonable selection of Mexican Beer (I chose Pacifico the evening I went)

If you find yourself equidistant between an Uncle Julio’s and an authentic Mexican place, go to the authentic Mexican place. But for a chain restaurant, Uncle Julio’s more than holds their own and they are usually rather large (and noisy) and can easily accommodate large groups. They also have outdoor seating (at least at the locations I have been to) and if you can score an outdoor table on a nice day that alone makes everything taste that much better.

Hungry Man Eats Score 82/100

Why Didn’t I Think of That? Volume 1

Like most people, if you have ever spent much time in the kitchen, you have looked to push the boundaries of your everyday culinary experience. You have wondered such things like: “What would happen if I put both ham and turkey in this sandwich? Or perhaps: “What would it taste like if I used chocolate milk instead of regular milk to pour into my bowl of Cocoa Krispies?

Well, the foods and companies and people discussed below have pushed the boundaries in awesome and delicious ways that I wish I had thought of first…

• There is a food truck based out of Orange County, California called GDBROTRUCK that is already renowned for their hamburgers, but they have recently come up with a new spin on the old classic that combines a hamburger and all its assorted fixins with a bread bowl. The folks on the website foodbeast.com have all the delicious details right here.

• Have you ever been feeling really tired and wanted a boost a caffeine to wake you up, but were also craving beef jerky at the same time but were disgusted by the thought of having beef jerky with your coffee? Well worry no more! Perky Jerky is here to satisfy your needs! They have added guarana to the jerky which has almost twice the caffeine as coffee beans, you know you just want to click the link above and find out more…
• How many of you worker drones out there would love to have a keg in the office? Ha ha, got you, not that type of keg but an iced coffee keg! A New York City based company called Joyride has created just such an invention, regrettably for the rest of us, the only provide coffee distribution services in New York City and San Francisco.

Check back in a while for Volume 2 and beyond…

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