South of the Border

Who doesn’t love Mexican food? Well, I didn’t until I first ate at Rey Azteca, a restaurant in my hometown. Since then, I’ve been hooked. Lucky for me, Rachael Ray also has a love for Mexican food, because I feel like half of the recipes in this book have that flair to them. On tonight’s menu was a Mexican Chunk Vegetable Salad, and Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken Sandwiches with Flavored Tortilla Chips. Time to see if Rachael’s Mexican stood a chance against my hometown favorite.

After another extremely busy weekend, I was highly debating whether or not to cook because I was completely exhausted. I am leaving the city on Thursday for Pennsylvania, and I knew that if I cooked on Wednesday I would have so many leftovers. No way the leftovers would survive a seven, yes, seven hour train ride, so I pushed through my exhaustion and headed down to Trader Joe’s around 5 PM today.

Of course, the store was in the midst of it’s Sunday chaos. The line for the cash registers was wrapped around the store almost twice. Luckily, they had almost all of my ingredients. This wasn’t the most satisfying shopping trip, though because all of the elderly people were so rude. Pushing me, and many other customers out of the way to get what they wanted. I felt like I was in the middle of a football game, these older people were THAT aggressive.

Once I finally got through the line, I decided I was going to go to Whole Foods instead of Fairway. I know I made the right choice. Not only was everything cheap, but I also was provided with some entertainment when two gay men were arguing over whether baby carrots are healthy or not.

“Scott, put those back, baby carrots are not good for you.”

“What are you talking about, yes they are. And besides these aren’t baby carrots they’re just extra small and peeled.”

“You idiot they are baby carrots and you will die…”

Nicolette came over around 7 and we got to cooking. This girl is my right hand and we’re enjoying our chef life together. Whoever wifes us up in the future will be some pretty lucky guys.

Anyway, she chopped up almost everything for the salad, and I made the marinade for the chicken. The marinade consisted of: lime juice, honey, cumin, evoo, and cilantro. Every item in the marinade had an opposite taste from the other. Odd, but I didn’t doubt Rachael Ray for a second.

We made the salad look oh so pretty, and the chicken cooked very quickly. It burned a bit, but it just added to the Mexican flair.

Once everything was ready, I invited River over. He just gobbled down a piece of chicken before I could even have my countdown. One bite and he was already raving, so Nicolette and I were extra excited for the first bite.

We piled the chicken on our buns and topped it off with some onion, avocado, lettuce and salsa. Now for the moment of truth.

3…2…1… YUM-O! the chicken sandwiches were perfection. Absolutely everything about them was delicious. I never would’ve thought to put salsa on top of a sandwich, so that was an especially good call by Rachael Ray. The salad was also good but extremely spicy. My nose was running throughout the whole meal. Boy, does Rachael like her spicy food.

Rating the food is always the toughest part, but it must be done. Nicolette and I both gave the Mexican Chunk Vegetable Salad ♥♥♥ (3) hearts because although it was good, it was so spicy it was almost unenjoyable. That’s what happens when jalapeños and hot sauce are mixed together. As for the Grilled Honey-Lime Chicken Sandwiches, we gave those ♥♥♥♥ (4) hearts. This was also very good, but it didn’t give us that over-the-top wow factor. Only foods that give us that factor will get 5 hearts. I’m very excited to have leftovers all week though, I know I won’t get tired of this meal! Rachael Ray definitely beat out Rey Azteca with this home cooked Mexican feast. ¡OLAY!

Until next week!

-Mary Honkus

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