Audrey Hepburn famously said, “I believe in pink.” There is no missing Puebla’s as you drive down North Main Street in The Heights. It is painted the hottest of hot pink with bright green trim. Or, you can just look for the jam-packed cars in the small parking lot and side street.
When I first came to Puebla’s several months ago, I committed a flagrant faux pas of food reviews. I began digging into my huevos rancheros before I had the chance to snap a photo. I can hardly be blamed for this mishap, since my stomach was clearly doing the thinking that lovely spring morning. But being the dutiful servant of the local dining community that I am, I eventually came back to complete the task at hand. Only this time the dubious “heat dome” was lurking over our fair city. Thankfully, as you enter Puebla’s refreshing interior, the “feels like” temperature drops considerably.
The bright and cheerful color palate of the little building extends inside to the table tops, dishes, and the whimsical artwork on the walls. I was escorted to my table by a cheerful young server. I settled in under a Mexican movie poster and a painting of Frida.
As instructed in the “Tex-Mex Guide of Proper Ways to do Things” (A tome I intend to write one day), the chips and salsa came out first. They were soon followed by an ice tea in a comically large mason jar with a handle, presumably to help you lift it.
The chips were the kind you rarely see these days. Made right here using fried corn tortillas, they are thick, crispy and oh so good. At Puebla’s you won’t see them in the kitchen lugging those giant bags of boring chips around. Theirs are fresh and were probably made about the time I sat down. There are three salsas. The first one was in a bowl and was a great partner for chip dipping. It is tomato based with jalapeno and fresh onions, and very good. The other two come in plastic bottles to be used on everything but your ice tea. They refrigerate these bottles to keep in the freshness so they come out cold. One is a green sauce with oil and jalapeno. The other is red, made with a chili sauce and tomatillo. All are very good.
The classic combination of enchiladas and a crispy beef taco (with rice and beans of course), is the most quintessential Tex-Mex dish out there. Yes, yes I know fajitas are the popular new kid on the block having been first brought to the table in the late 60s by Mama Ninfa herself. Around since at least the Aztecs, the humble enchilada makes fajitas look like a culinary toddler. Don’t get me started on the history of beans.
So of course, I ordered the Enchiladas Verdes. My server didn’t bat an eye when I went rogue and asked for one cheese, one ground beef and one chicken. I ordered a crispy beef taco on the side because as my kids used to say, “Duh”. The enchiladas were each delicious. They were topped with a green tomatillo sauce and laden with queso fresca. The chicken and beef were both tender and flavorful. The crispy beef taco was wonderful in its simplicity with lettuce, tomato and jack cheese. It came saddled in a taco holder. How thoughtful. A recurring theme at Puebla’s is how fresh everything tastes. I would describe the spice level in everything I had, as mild.
And all of the above was a bargain at about $15.
Puebla’s is only open until mid-afternoon. I have had their breakfast tacos on previous visits which were every bit as delicious as my lunch today. At $2.50 per breakfast taco, you will start your day off with a full tank and not break the bank. Oh and their coffee is hot, delicious while coming in a festive mug. Puebla’s, you wear that pink well. Ms. Hepburn must be smiling.
Puebla’s Mexican Kitchen
Address: 6320 N. Main St.
Dining options: Dine-in, takeout
Hours: 7 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday through Friday; 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
Entrée prices: $2.50 – $15.00
Healthy Options: Yes
Star of the show: Enchiladas Verdes
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars