Monday, March 16, 2015

Su bueno ser Malo.

After visits to Malo over last summer [see blog post], I was curious about a few traditional American offerings on their otherwise Latin American influenced menu, and explore their Happy Hour specials.

The signature Malo burger comes with strips of bacon, caramelized onion, creamy guacamole, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and pepper jack cheese, on a toasted broiche bun. The wood-grilled half-pound beef patty was quite good, sporting just a hint of pink. Other burgers on the menu include: the Chivito with beef barbacoa, ham, jack, tomato, bacon, lime aioli, and fried egg; a vegetarian Black Bean burger with guacamole, corn salsa, pepper jack, and chipotle crema; and a simple Cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, onion, and American cheese.

Strips of red pepper and green chile are pleasant distraction from the creamy salsa blanca and cheddar cheese base of Nacho Daddy's Mac & Cheese. Toppings of guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, and fried tortilla strips round out this hearty dish.

Malo's weekday Happy Hour, from 4 to 6 p.m., offers half-price appetizers and tacos. It's a great value for a lot of food and hard to pass up on, especially the Drunken Nachos featuring Malo's housemade tortilla chips with pico de gallo, pickled jalapeño, Malo queso, black beans, guacamole, shredded cheddar, and chipotle crema. Add-ons such as carne molida (ground beef), chorizo, grilled chicken breast, and skirt steak are available.

Other appetizers of notes include Tots & Shots and Empanadas. The housemade tater tots are the best I've ever eaten! With sides of jalapeño ketchup, Malo queso, and chipotle ranch, you'll never run out of dipping options.

Empanadas, featuring a cheese blend with spinach and jalapeño sealed within a hearty masa crust, are a fun surprise. Its like eating deep-fried creamed spinach! Put it on a stick and it'll sell at the Fair.

Having enjoyed several kinds of tacos on Malo's housemade corn tortilla, I was more than interested in sampling their flour variety. Soft, pliant, and freshly made, it will spoil you for all others. The Carne Molida taco, above left, comes with ground beef, shredded cheddar, and salsa roja. I especially like the crispy sear on the beef; it's comfort food refined. Crispy Onion and Avocado, above right, with a vegan chipotle crema and pico de gallo, is crispy, creamy, and surprisingly zesty. I'm looking forward to more Happy Hour visits to Malo soon.

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