Finding Mexican Food | Birch Run, MI

Ever since I have moved to Michigan I have been trying to locate a Mexican restaurant that reminded me of El Tapito back in Stillwater. You have no idea how much I miss that place. When I first got here I ventured to a place close to home in Bridgeport, MI called El-Gallito and decided to try a burrito, I learned the hard way the huge difference between Southern-style Mexican food vs. Northern style. Not to be confused with Tex-Mex, this is a whole other style. I have noticed that up here the sauces are very different and burritos are served wet, with a gravy sauce. My mother laughed; oh she forgot to tell me she says. Uh-huh. Likely story.
Needless to say, I was not impressed with the gravy on my burrito. I did however fall in love with guacamole, one of my all-time favorite foods. The only thing I did not like was the price for such a small serving.  I continued to eat there as there was not anyplace close (within a 30-minute drive) that did not include a drive-through (Taco Bell). And, yanno, why is there not a Taco Bueno up here? Do you know how often I crave a Muchacos???  Ugh. Ok, getting off track here.


Shortly after I got here, I was able to go venture back into tax season at H&R Block. There I met a girl named Kelly who took me to a place in Saginaw, MI called Los Cuatro Amigos.  That place was really good and almost like home, but a bit pricey. Sorry, but I am used to getting a lot of food for less than $10 a platter. I guess MI prices are a bit different too.    

There is another place in Saginaw that I can never remember the name of. The people who own it went to school with my mother, at least members of the family did. And when I lived in MI when I was 18, I worked with a girl whose family ran it. I think my mom went to school with her mother. That would make sense. They have a lunchtime all-you-can-eat buffet. OH! Mexican buffet. In the three years I have been back in MI, I think I have been there 4 times.  Cheap and good. But it’s too far away.    

So, you can imagine my surprise when El Fuego opened up in Frankenmuth, MI which takes me all of 10 minutes to drive to. I placed my first order. They had just opened so we had great conversations with the manager, who let us sample a few menu items. Their guacamole rocked my socks. They put some cayenne pepper in it to kick it up a notch (starting to feel like Emeril now BAM!).  The food was so good. We have been back quite a few times. It is the closest thing to home I have found. I told the owner that, and he understood exactly what I was talking about!! Yah, someone understands!    

Now, right up the street from us is a quaint little diner which you may recognize if you ever see it. Watch the Drew Barrymore movie “Whip It” and you will see. That movie was filmed here in Birch Run, MI, and Flint. The restaurant featured in that movie is right down the road from me. Very cool, huh? It is no longer the Oink Joint, which featured the giant pink pig, but in July it turned into a Mexican place.    

It took me until two weeks ago to actually stop in and give it a try. I was nervous. I felt like I was cheating on El Fuego. What would they think if they saw me and the BF there?? For shame! But, they had a buy one get one taco on the window. It was time to stop. I am now in love with this place.  On my first visit, I of course ordered guacamole. OH HEAVEN! We also get chips and salsa. We mix the mild with the super hot and add a bit of salt. OMG, I could drink vats of this! I was amazed that they had taquitos on the menu.  Most placed don’t offer these wonderful little goodies.

Might be a blessing in disguise, as I don’t really need to be eating them, and thankfully don’t often. I decided to give them a try since it had been so long. I also ordered on cheese enchilada, one of my favorite things.  I was simply amazed. Simple, good, and the manager Justin was great company.  BF ordered tacos and a steak burrito. He seemed happy enough, which is good. It can be disturbing when the BF doesn’t like the food we have eaten.  

A couple of days later we were back again. This time we ordered cheese fries as an appetizer, and they came out with STEAK on them! WOOT! And they were very good fries.  I got the 1 taco, 1 burrito platter (I should add does not come with gravy) and they come with rice and beans. Yummy beans, not all dry, and I am not a huge rice fan, I usually give it to BF. I actually ate some of it!   I have a feeling this place will be seeing a lot of us. At least we hope it stays open long enough for us to enjoy it. Business is rather slow for them right now.   So, that was my shameless plug.   Enjoy the video of me about to eat. (click)  

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