Wednesday, April 7, 2010

El Paraiso (Cornelius)

A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to visiting El Paraiso Restaurant. Located in the Chair Factory in Cornelius, El Paraiso is the only restaurant in this small complex.

I parked the car then walked to the restaurant's entrance. While walking, I noticed a few Fire Trucks and Police cars. What the heck is going on? Did somebody choke on a chalupa? Did somebody rob the place? Did somebody rob the place AND choke on a chalupa? I had to investigate.

I made my way inside and noticed no visible commotion. Just a lot of firefighters and cops no excitement -- DARN!

The bartender told me to pick a table, and I grabbed an empty booth along a wall. The booths were black and red, and really didn't seem to match the rest of the restaurant. But hey, I was there for the food anyway.

After a few minutes, the waitress came by and took my drink order. It took me a few more minutes to look over the menu and make my decision. Hmm, I was really in the mood for chile rellenos. But I wanted to try at least one other meal -- so I did what any indecisive Foodie would do -- I ordered a combination plate!

I went with #96 (their menu is quite large). What is #96? I'm glad you asked! It's a Chile relleno and a crispy taco; I chose beef. I've gotta hand it to El Paraiso, the menu is extensive, and they offer things not usually seen in Mexican Style restaurants. Grilled Salmon and Catfish both make appearances on the menu.

My chips arrived after my drink, and were pretty good. The salsa is prepared at the restaurant, and it was nicely chilled -- I'd rather have my salsa refrigerated than just sitting around at room temperature all day. The salsa had a good consistency, and some nice chunks of tomato, onion, and cilantro. It was a little late to the table, but it was darn good.

Next came the meal. The chile relleno was huge and it was stuffed with beef, not cheese. A little different, but good! Next I tried the crispy taco. It was a standard taco shell filled with ground beef, cheese, fresh lettuce and tomato. Overall pretty good. The ground beef in both the chili relleno and taco was good, but slightly lacking in flavor -- something I've noticed with many of the Mexican Style restaurants in the area. It's like they're scared of oregano and cumin!

But that's not to slam El Paraiso. The food was perfectly acceptable and the lunch special was a deal at $6.25.

It was a good meal at a good price. If you're nearby, it's worth a try.

Atmosphere: 3/5
Food: 3.5 / 5
Service: 4/5
Total: 10.5 / 15

Kid Friendly: Yes. Kids menu and high chairs available.
Price: $ (Tax & Tip just under $10)

Conclusion: Good food at a good price make this a worthwhile visit. The wait staff was a little overwhelmed during lunch due to limited staff and a full room. But they still got me out in about 40 mins.

Restaurant Info:
El Paraiso Restaurant
20700 N. Main Street
Suite 124
Cornelius, NC 28031
p) 704-896-6064

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Peep Sushi!

Now that Easter is over, you have to deal with all those left-over Peeps. You could just shove them in your face -- but that's sooooo college! Why not add some sophistication to your diet by creating Peep Sushi!

Click here, to go to the Geekologie blog and check out more photos!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Who Has the Best Fries?

Today Helen Schwab anounced that the "Best Fries in Charlotte" come from Frans Filling Station. I've never been there and know nothing about their fries.

BUT, I do know something about Lake Norman french fries!

For me, I happen to love the Tenders fries and the Matt's Chicago Dog fries. Both are different styles and both are delicious!

The Tenders fry is a thicker cut which leaves it tender, and is fried without the skins. They have an almost robust potato flavor.

While the Matt's Chicago Dog fries are thinner, greasier, a littke crispier, and the skins are left on.

But enough about what I like and don't like -- what are YOUR favorite fries in the Lake Norman area? Leave a comment below!