Joy of Mex: Reynosa, Mexico
Reynosa is a ten-minute drive from the nearest American city, McAllen, and has some great spots for lunch, dinner, or snacks. La Mansión del Prado is a popular choice for a big-deal occasion.
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Calle Matamoros Ote. 750, 011-52-89-22-47-72.
A great place to cool your heels after tramping around Reynosa. The white walls, dark carved-wood bar, and arched stone window frames exude serenity. Cabrito (order the shoulder cut) is tender; the butterflied beef filet (medium-well-done unless you specify otherwise) comes in a spunky mustard-butter sauce. The corn tortillas are homemade, and so tender and fresh you want to eat about a dozen. Except for blah frozen vegetables, the meal was lovely.
Guacamole: 5 (scoops of buttery mashed avocado served with mix-your-own tomato, onion, and jalapeño). Chips: 4. Pasilla salsa: 5. Green salsa: 4.
Near the corner of Oaxaca and Juárez, 011-52-89-22-70-43 or 22-96-28.
A basic room in a building on “la calle de los tacos” has been tarted up with balconies, a tile roof, a bell tower, and mannequins in mariachi garb to create a cartoon village. The effect is fun, and the food—mostly grilled meats—satisfies. Fajitas, cooked with green bell pepper and onion, were smoky and good; they made a nice combination with cebollas chichingaras, a local snack of grilled white onion rings seasoned with vinegar and artificial bacon bits.
Guacamole: 5 (freshly mashed avocado that you jazz up with pico de gallo). Chips: 4. Green salsa: 4. Red salsa: 3.5. The salsas come with little cubes of queso fresco in them.