The weather in Yakima is always unpredictable. We had gale-force winds in November and a few paltry inches of snow in December and January. Last year we had a blizzard in February. Punxsutawney Phil just predicted spring will be early, but who really knows what’s in store for us the rest of the winter?
One thing about winter that is predictable for me — this is the season when I crave a hot, hearty meal. Forget about salads. This month my appetite for a full-meal deal led me to a Yakima classic that’s been around for 15 years: Antojitos Mexicano restaurant.
Antojitos means “little cravings” in Spanish, and I had a craving for their Chicken Adobado. Antojitos was one of the first Mexican restaurants I tried when I moved to Yakima, and it’s one of my favorites.
One thing I like about Antojitos is how they bring you six different kinds of salsa right off the bat. There’s a green avocado-ey one, another green one that’s made from tomatillos, a mild red salsa, a fiery red salsa, a delicious oregano-flavored one, and pico de gallo. They also bring you a basket of whole fried corn tortillas, which is entertaining because you get to break them up to make your own tortilla chips.
Their Cadillac margaritas are tasty and strong, so all I need is one to put me in my happy place. Before I was halfway through it, my dinner was served. The chicken was pounded thin, coated with a flavorful red sauce, smothered with caramelized onions and topped with a crispy fried jalapeno. I started with the refried beans, which were smooth, delicious — almost buttery, and dusted with crumbled white Mexican cheese. The chicken was flavorful and juicy and the onions — oh, the onions! The caramelizing softens and browns them and turns them gloriously sweet and nutty. Same with the jalapeno — frying it gives it a mellow flavor and takes away the spiciness that usually leaves tears streaming down my face.
But there were no tears on this visit — just some darn good Mexican food and a happy tummy.