On a run through Keizer the other day, Mr. B. noticed the sign for the Old Mexico Grill. It was a restaurant he hadn't seen before, and he stored it away in his mind for a future visit. Mr. B. and I both attended college in San Diego, so Mexican food is near and dear to our hearts. We are in the midst of an ongoing quest for the best Mexican food that Salem has to offer, and always excited when we discover a new restaurant.
Even before Mr. B. knew about his issues with gluten he was a huge fan of all things corn. Popcorn, corn-on-the-cob, corn tortilla chips, and especially tamales will make his heart sing. Tacos are a common meal in our home, and there is always a bag of tortilla chips in the cupboard.
When we learned about Mr. B.'s gluten intolerance we began exploring the ingredients of his favorite foods. Surely corn tortillas would get the thumbs-up, right? Sadly, not always. It seems that more and more manufacturers are adding wheat flour to their corn tortillas, even though it is not a traditional ingredient. It has been said that there is a growing consumer demand for a chewier, softer textured corn tortilla, and adding glutenous wheat flour does the trick. Many restaurants are doing the same. Even if they make traditional style corn tortillas, most will dust their surfaces with wheat flour when rolling them out, thus cross-contaminating them. Therefore, Mr. B. and I have learned to always ask before sitting down to a Mexican meal.
The restaurant is small, but decorated brightly and cheerfully. The menu boasts not only a variety of gluten-free options, but also that they use no freezers, no microwaves, no canned goods, no trans fats and no MSG. They make their salsa and tortillas fresh every day. The menu is packed with typical Mexican fare, and the majority of items are marked "g free." Also noted on the menu are the weekend specials- pork and chicken tamales ("hurray for Saturday!" exclaimed Mr. B), menudo and pozole. Other notable menu items include organic coffee with organic half & half, and fresh squeezed limeade.
Hats off to the Old Mexico Grill for a delectable meal, fresh ingredients, and dozens of gluten-free options to keep us coming back for more.
-Me & Gluten-Free Mr. B.
Keizer Village Plaza
3844 River Rd. N.
Keizer, OR 97303
Open Tuesday-Sunday, 11am-9pm