Monday, March 28, 2011

Restaurant Recreations: Fiesta Time Mexican Grill

Happy Monday guys!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I know we did!  It was Andy's first official weekend off and he says it felt great!  He's already been told after his 1st week at the new job that he's doing a great job, so he's in high spirits!  I'm still so proud of my little grown up! =)

Anyway, it's been a while since I've done a review so I thought I'd take a crack at it.

On the outside, Fiesta Time in Oldham County looks likes any old Mexican restaurant.  Beer and tequila neon signs filling the windows,  sombreros a-plenty, and margaritas in every corner.  As traditional as it gets, right?  Well, that's what I thought going in anyway.

We walked in at a decent hour, maybe 8:30ish.  The servers seemed to "rush" us a little bit.  The sign on the door said they close at 11pm so I didn't understand why that was happening.  But we continued on, blindly.

We ordered the typical Mexican fare, Andy getting some fajita quesadilla of some sort and I opted for the Combo #2 (a taco, an enchilada, and a chalupa).  We also ordered some nachos for an appetizer and it was just a little lack-luster to even get into.

So what about our food?  I think we were so famished we ate it with no complaints.  But looking back, I have a few key points:

- Not all Mexican restaurants are the same - and Fiesta Time proves it... and not in a good way
- I could have made this at home.
- I did make this at home... and it was 100x more delicious.

Honestly, I wasn't impressed.  Andy's fajita quesadilla was unimpressive (although he seems to disagree and said it was pretty good, but maybe I'm just a snob), and my combo, was well... let's just say I've had better things at Taco Bell (I know, I know - that was harsh).

Bad cell phone pictures irk me - so I apologize.
Fiesta Time Mexican Grille on Urbanspoon
So, first thing I set out to do?  Recreate this sucker!  So let's see how it went...



1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb. shredded chicken & beef (I had leftover grilled meats from this meal)
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
soft tortillas, warmed


1 cup salsa verde
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup pepperjack cheese, shredded
5-6 soft tortillas


1 cup masa harina flour
1/2 cup water
vegetable oil, for frying
Filling from tacos, above
sour cream, optional

For the taco filling, heat a large skillet under medium high heat and add olive oil.  Saute onion until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes or so.  Add in garlic, chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, cayenne, salt, and pepper.  Stir until fragrant, about a minute.

Stir in the shredded chicken and beef (you could definitely just use a pound of ground beef if you wanted, but I had all those leftovers, I couldn't let them go to waste).  Heat until warmed, about 4-5 minutes.

Add in tomato sauce, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Use to fill soft taco shells and top chalupa (recipe below).

For enchiladas, preheat oven to 350F.  Heat a small to medium-sized skillet (large enough to fit soft tortilla in) under high heat and add a thin later of vegetable oil, just enough to coat the pan.

Heat tortillas in oil, one at a time, for about 10-15 seconds, just on one side.  Transfer tortillas to a paper towel-lined plate.  This ensures the tortillas are easier to work with and fold tightly.

Grease a small (maybe 8 x 10) casserole dish.  One by one, place a good amount of both cheese in the center of each tortilla.  Roll up and place snuggly in casserole dish.  Top with salsa verde and any remaining cheeses.

Bake in oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and starting to brown on top.  Broil for 1-2 minutes to crisp up even more, if desired.

To make chalupas, combine water and masa harina until dough forms.  Form dough into 4 patties, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.

Heat about 1 inch of vegetable oil in a heavy bottomed pan under medium high to high heat.  You'll know when the oil is ready when a piece of dough sizzles when you place it in there.

Fry each chalupa for about 3-5 minutes (or until golden on both sides) and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to dry.  Top chalupas with filling from above and sour cream.

No lettuce or tomatoes in the house = a not so colorful picture, but hey... it tasted pretty darn good!

So yeah, needless to say, this produces a lot of food.  So make sure you have company.  Or a large family.  Or a big appetite.

My verdict?  I think my "unauthentic" Mexican Combo #2 far-outweighed Fiesta Time's "authentic" Mexican Combo #2.  From now on, I'll stick to my around-town favorites like El Mundo, El Caporal, or El Torasco.  Do we see a trend here?  I don't know, but my hypothesis is that if it doesn't start with "El", it may not be all that. =)

Have a great Monday guys and I'll see you tomorrow!


  1. Who needs tomatoes?! Not me- I don't like them :) They look great!

  2. I love mexican! I have had gross mexican in a restaurant though....much easier to just make at home. thanks for the recipe!

  3. Nothing beats homemade food! It looks ten times more amazing (even with irksome phone pics) than restaurant food! I know what im having for dinner tomorrow now!

  4. Your recreation looks much better than the resturant. Love Chalupa with beans.

  5. Hi Peggy! Yum... I love Mexican food although I don't cook it often at home. I'd like to keep this taco's seasonings. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Mex is one of my favorite things to cook! I made enchiladas this weekend and could not stop saying YUM! while eating them! hehe!

    this looks oh-so good girl!!!! Copycatting restaurant eats is so much fun! <3

    Jenn @ Peas & Crayons

  7. Yum! That looks delicious - yours of course! Great site by the way, it's my first time stoping by, but I'll definitely be back!

  8. Yours even looks more delicious!

  9. Great job! U should give a pat on your shoulders :)

  10. Wow, great job.
    Lovely and well delicious recipe ♥

  11. It is very disappointing when this happens. I am sure your creation compensated you!

  12. I hate going out only to realize that i could've done better in my own kitchen...and that really is more often the case than not. You did a great job with your at-home creation though! I am officially drooling.

  13. That is so frustrating; sometimes I wonder why we bother going out to eat. Always better at home.

  14. It just reminds of the Italian restaurant that I went yesterday because I wanted to eat something quick for lunch. The meatballs was bland and the lasagna wasn't really a lasagna. I can't believe that I paid $10 for that. I said to myself that I can cook Italian food much better than them.

    Great job on the recreation. Lots of great flavors! A while back I made a Tex-Mex casserole, basically a reconstructed version of nachos bake.

  15. Peggy I would eat this sans those tomatoes. I would eat this in the dark, in the rain, under the threat of pain...

    Well you get the idea. Yum!


  16. I have to disagree with you about Fuesta Time. The place is a family favorite and my hslf Mexican wife thinks it is great. I've tried El Tarasco and to me half their stuff tastes like it came from a can or is too Americsnized. El Corporal is pretty good though. Oh and quessadillas fajitas are great btw! Sure both my wife and I can make better at home, if I had the time, which i dont. So Fiesta Time suits my needs just fine.

  17. Fiesta Time in Oldham County?? Are you talking about the one off Wesport Rd in Chamberlain?



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