Andale Taqueria, Again (Richfield, MN)

We were scheduled for Mexican dinner with friends on Saturday night but not this Mexican dinner. We had reservations at Colita for a four-top on their patio. Alas, as the day approached the weather forecast turned ever dire. We woke up with hope on Saturday as the meteorologists predicted that the rain would end before dinner time. But the meteorologists are dirty liars and as the evening approached the threat of rain remained constant and the restaurant cancelled all patio reservations. We could, of course, have chosen to stay at home but I put it to our friends that we could go somewhere else for a Mexican meal and they were up for it. And so we drove to Richfield and ate dinner on Andale’s patio. It was not the fine dining meal we’d planned but it was a very fine meal.

Now you may be wondering how if the rain prevented us from eating on Colita’s patio we were able to eat on Andale’s. Well, the answer is that Andale’s patio is completely informal and the restaurant does counter service. The patio is not being set up for meal service of any kind, leave alone fancy meal service, and so if you’re willing to take your chances the patio is open. And we were willing to take our chances. This because we remembered from our prior visit (written up here) that a significant chunk of Andale’s patio—or rather patios; there is one on either side—sits under a large overhanging portion of the roof. As it happens, it wasn’t raining when we arrived just after 7 and so it wasn’t an issue for a while. Then the rain picked up a little later—completely validating Colita’s decision to close their patio—but we were far enough under the overhang that not a drop of water touched us.

In addition to actually being able to eat out, another benefit of this switch-up was that we grabbed the boys and took them with us. They went from sullenly resenting us for planning to abandon them to excitement at staying out later than usual.

So, what did the six of us eat?

One of the boys asked for two tacos with toppings on the side. Carnitas and carne asada were his choices of toppings and he devoured them at top speed. The other boy got a platillo with milanesa de pollo (they also have beef/res); he liked his food too though of the rest of the stuff on the plate he mostly ate only the rice. The adults started by splitting one each of the chicken and pork tamales (large, fluffy and very good). The chicken is cooked in salsa verde and the pork in salsa rojo. We also a divvied up an order of posole between us (also very good). For the rest of the meal our friends got a chile relleno platillo and a barbacoa de res platillo (both pronounced very good). The missus and I split four tacos between us: one each of the al pastor, carnitas en adobo, lengua and tripa. All were good but the tripa (a highlight on our first visit as well) was sensational: slow-cooked and then fried to order, it is the perfect combination of the melting and crisp.

To end, one order of the flan napolitano for each couple and one order of the chocoflan for the greedy younger child (he was stopped from eating it all in one sitting). To drink, a couple of orders of jarritos and jamaica.

For a look at the restaurant and the food, launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to find out how much it all cost and to see what’s coming next.

Not everything was ordered at the same time; I think the total was probably around $120 for everything with tax and tip (cash only in the jar at the counter). The meal was, we thought, far superior to our lunch the previous week at El Burrito Mercado. That tripe, in particular, was really special. Next time I’m getting a platillo of it for just myself alone!

Okay, my next report is not going to be of a Mexican meal. We are scheduled to dine at Meritage in St. Paul this weekend. Our booking again is for their terrace seating. So please join me in praying that there will be no repeat of rain this Saturday. And we’re hoping to make it to Colita after all a few weeks later. Let’s see how it goes.



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