BEST FAJITAS Guadalajara
8461 SW 132nd Street
786-242-4444 According to Virginia B. Wood of the Austin Chronicle, in 1984, Homero Recio did a study on the shocking price increase of skirt steak, as part of his graduate studies in animal science at Texas A&M. He stumbled across anecdotal evidence that revealed that the cut of meat, the cooking style, and the Spanish nickname fajita dated back as far as the 1930s, when Mexican cowboys working the ranches in southwestern Texas were partially paid with the scraps of meat that the ranchers didn't want. Out of the head, entrails, tripe, and trimmings, these vaqueros created delectable cuisine that was passed down through the generations. The fajita certainly isn't just served at authentic, down home Mexican restaurants anymore. Nowadays you can get 'em at Friday's, Chili's, and Taco Bell, and for understandable reason -- there's something about a waiter walking past with an audibly sizzling skillet that causes jealous diners to stare longingly over at their neighbor's plate. Plus, fajitas aren't that hard to throw together. Fill a skillet with slices of bell peppers, some onions, mushrooms if you want to be fancy, and add your meat of choice. Sizzle and serve with pico de gallo, sour cream, and flour tortillas, punto finale. But not every restaurant that serves fajitas takes the meal seriously enough to label it their claim to fame. Guadalajara, a brightly colored, inviting, family-owned establishment just off South Dixie Highway, boldly makes that statement right there in its menu. Justifiably so. Thick, spicy, marinated chicken breast or skirt steak strips are grilled with onions, and served with fresh pico de gallo, creamy, thick guacamole, sour cream, and frijoles a la charra. Four soft flour tortillas almost aren't enough to wrap up the bountiful serving. Guadalajara also offers variations of the traditional recipe. Order the shrimp fajitas for a change, or for an appetizer, the fajita bite nachos. The skillet comes laden with chips and topped with refried beans, fajita strips, and melted cheese, and is served with tomato, lettuce, sour cream, and jalapeño slices. Muy delicioso. And for prices ranging from $8.75 to $11.95, good for the wallet, too. If you're heading to Guadalajara on a Saturday night, expect a wait. The reputation of their delicious fajitas precedes them.