Date of Visit: 3-16-2012
Time of Visit: 10:00 AM
The likelihood of running into an authentic Mexican restaurant in central Wisconsin is about as good as getting shot in the ass with a potato gun by a bisexual, three-nippled midget (BTM). But now that I think about it, however, I believe that is actually a popular festival in one of the local towns like Polonia or something. Yeah, now I remember, it's the Itty-bitty-three-titty-yam-spanker Festival! It's held every year during the first full moon after the local potato harvest and it marks the anniversary of the Lilliputians' rise to power in France. Oui, oui!
Now, it is widely known that the number one enemy of Minikins, as the BTM's are more commonly referred, are Mexican immigrants. Mexicans come from as far away as Mexico. They leave their families and vast fortunes behind risking their lives on treacherous journeys for the mere chance to capture a Minikin and encase it in paper mache. That actually leads into how pinatas came about, but I will leave that for another post.
With their hopes fading, and their dreams of capturing the more-elusive-than-a-chupa-cabra Minikin dashed, Mexicans have no choice but to fend for themselves and try to eek out their own American dream. With pesos in hand and tamale recipes ingrained in their childhood memories, they open up taquerias on every other corner of Main Street USA. And now, we have another one in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.
Ranchito, is as close to authentic Mexican food as you can find around central Wisconsin without making it yourself. They offer breakfast with both traditional and Mexican dishes and are open for lunch and dinner as well. I ordered up a Mexican Machaca with shredded beef, cheese, tomatoes, onion, peppers and a host of yummy spices all topped with a couple of over easy eggs. Just like mom use to make! The flavor of the cumin came through with only some slight heat and as you cut into the eggs, the yolks sluiced their way through the dish and added an element of creaminess and richness that I will certainly go back and eat again, and again.
Now, no Mexican dish would be complete without tortillas, and this one was no exception. I had a choice of regular corn, flour or home made corn and the choice for the home made was obvious. Although they were not hand pressed, rather pressed with a manual tortilla press, they were thick and had a great corn flavor and I mopped up every last morsel of goodness with the final bites.
The service was great and the sounds of "Estas son las mañanitas" kinda take you on a foodie trip south of the border. The owner, Mr. Perez, is very attentive to everything that goes on in the restaurant. My bill had an error on it but he took care of it promptly and with many apologies.
Overall, it was a good experience with good food and tasteful decor at a reasonable price. The building is small and could use a bit more seating, but the booths are comfortable and the restaurant is fairly new so the traffic is still slower than it should be until the word gets out.
So, if you get a craving for some authentic Mexican food and you find yourself in the Stevens Point area, give Ranchito a try. Bring your appetite and your Visa card. Because, as I learned, they don't take kindly to strangers trying to pay with a Minikin squirming around in a burlap sack, and they don't take American Express.