Eat! Lansing

August 13, 2009

Pablo’s Panaderia

Filed under: Best of, Lansing, Mexican — Jack Lumanog @ 9:28 pm

Pablos

Pablo’s Panaderia
311 E Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

(517) 372-0887

The first time I ate at Pablo’s Panaderia, I almost cried.  OK, well maybe not really, but I felt a little misty.  Maybe because our family has eaten some pretty mediocre Mexican food since moving to Lansing.  We’ve eaten at Fiesta Charra in DeWitt a few times simply because it’s close to our house and they pour a healthy margarita at a reasonable price. Besides proximity and margaritas, that’s where the good stuff comes to an end. No matter what you order, it’s going to be the saltiest thing you’ve ever had. We’ve had quite a few meals at Cancun Mexican Restaurant at both locations in Okemos (off of Jolly Road is preferred because it’s not as busy as the location across from Meridian Mall). We usually have a coupon, the service is OK, food comes out quickly (important when you’ve got kids!) and it’s consistently good. My wife always says the servers always seem in a hurry to shoo us out as soon as we slow down from eating. Lots of MSU folks also have a warm place in their hearts for El Azteco which I don’t quite understand. Service is always rushed, everything is an extra charge and nothing is particularly great.

So, we’ve settled down into a routine of not having great Mexican meals since we moved here from Kansas City. On one street alone in KC – Southwest Boulevard – you could take your pick of a dozen amazing Mexican restaurants.

So, enough complaining about other Mexican restaurants in Lansing that have not really hit the spot or reminiscing about the bevy of options in Kansas City.  Pablo’s is a place we’ve known about because of the road construction on our normal route to the west side of Lansing.  The torn up roads put us on a detour through Old Town. And after what seemed like the millionth time of driving by Pablo’s and saying, “We should try that sometime,” we finally did.

First time I went for dinner, I came with my family. The owner greeted us warmly, found a high chair for my youngest and put us right by the window. He was incredibly helpful in improvising a kids meal for our daughters and heaped on the sides for my entree and my wife’s entree so that all four of us could share. My wife got an amazing combo platter with carnitas (seasoned roasted pork). It had three items on it and I don’t remember any of the names but I snuck a bite of each of them and they were amazing.

For me, the 3 taco platter was what I had been missing since I moved here (pictured above with one missing – I ate the first one and realized that I should have taken a pic for the blog!). These tacos were perfection and there is just about every meat choice imaginable: lengua (tongue), bistek (steak), carnitas, chicken, chorizo (sausage) and others. I went with the various beef options and it was just amazing. Preparation is simple with two tortillas for each taco, your meat of choice, cilantro, onions and limes no the side. If you’ve ever been to Mexico, you’ll feel like you’re back there with the look of the plate and of course when you take your first bite. I don’t want to be overdramatic, but I felt like I was back in Cancun the first time I ate here. (And the successive visits over the last few weeks at the lunch hour.)

Our family of four ate an amazing meal for around $20. No liquor license at Pedro’s but they offer some fresh squeezed juices, fountain drinks and even bottled Coca-Cola hecho en Mexico (made in Mexico).  What’s the big deal about Mexican Coca-Cola, you ask?  If you are a freak about not ingesting high fructose corn syrup, you’ll love this because Mexican Coca-Cola is made with pure sugar cane.

As I write this post, I’m wondering: is going to Pablo’s two days in a row for lunch a bad idea?

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