Better Mexican & Friendly People at La Hacienda

By on February 11, 2011

It was our last outing before the snow. We wanted something warm, homey, comfortable. “I’ve heard of a place called La Hacienda,” I said. It was a good choice. Both the food and the restaurant live up to that description. It’s a tiny place, welcoming, and run by friendly people. The chef when it opened years ago has now become the owner.

The chips and salsa came out right away, even before the menu.

They’re unusual and creative. La Hacienda serves the same things you’ll find at any Tex-Mex joint in town. But they make them better.

We split an order of Fajitas for Two ($20).

Lovely warm and steaming. See how the beef and shrimp glisten. They tasted as good as they look, wrapped in tortillas (they brought at least ten) and liberally slathered with all the things on this plate.

Diced tomato, sour cream, guacamole. Rice and refried beans too. And yes they brought two plates to be sure we had enough. “This is better than my favorite Mexican place!” Cathe said. She was delighted. So was Betty, who ordered the Carnitas.

That’s a traditional Mexican dish of slow-simmered pork that’s first been marinated in orange juice and spices. I described it when I reviewed Senor Tequila. But this was so much better! They’d seared the meat to seal in the juices. I can’t say if the dessert was better than Senor Tequila, because we were so stuffed we didn’t have any.

La Hacienda
4518 S. Peoria Ave.
712-8645
Open daily from 8 AM to 9 PM

La Hacienda on Urbanspoon

I called the food at La Hacienda Tex-Mex. I use the term loosely. Strictly speaking, Tex-Mex, the food served at Mexican restaurants in Texas, has a distinguished and unusual history, with lots of comic moments caused by the interactions of two very different cultures, as Mexicans struggled to please people they didn’t fully understand. About 10 years ago, a Texas newspaper printed a detailed six-part series on this history. Here are links to these fascinating articles.

Part 1
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-07-27/dining/pralines-and-pushcarts/

Part 2
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-08-31/dining/combination-plates/

Part 3
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-09-28/dining/mama-s-got-a-brand-new-bag/

Part 4
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-10-26/dining/the-authenticity-myth

Part 5
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-11-23/dining/the-french-connection/

Part 6
http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-12-21/restaurants/brave-nuevo-world/

Brian Schwartz:

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society.  www.theomegasociety.com

I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola.

“A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

Brian Schwartz

About Brian Schwartz

Born in NYC, age 0, on my birthday. College in Oxford at age 16. Law School in New Haven, Conn. 6 years travel in Africa and Asia. Haven’t done much lately. Still, I’m the only Tulsa member of the little-known Omega Society. www.theomegasociety.com I speak enough Chinese to order food not on any English menu. Spanish French Italian too (not fluently but food-ently) My favorite restaurant is Jean-Georges in New York. But those NYC chefs would sell their soul to get the produce available from the farms around Inola. “A writer writes alone. His words tumble forth from a magical inner void that is mysterious even to himself, and that no one else can enter.” And yet, the most important thing to me the writer is YOU. Without you to hear them, my words are worth less than silence.

10 Comments

  1. Brian Schwartz

    February 11, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    The fajitas we had are a good example of the fascinating interplay that created Tex-Mex cuisine. Eighty years ago, on the huge cattle ranches of south Texas, cows were butchered to feed the ranch hands. The Mexicans got the skirt steaks that no one else wanted. They invented a way of grilling them to bring out the flavor (or perhaps copied the technique from the big asado cookouts that were a tradition of northern Mexico’s ranches) and this evolved into the fajita. To please non-Mexican customers, restaurants started using other cuts of meat, until most fajitas don’t use skirt steak at all, although the word fajita originally meant skirt steak.

    See http://www.austinchronicle.com/food/2005-03-04/261130

  2. Angie

    February 11, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    Looks delicious!!

  3. Tulsa Gentleman

    February 11, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    La Hacienda is our favorite Mexican restaurant, and located very near where we live so we eat there often. The food is excellent. Over the years I think we have tried everything on their menu and have never had a bad meal there.

  4. Yogi

    February 11, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Our family loves La Hacienda have eaten there for several years. The service is always great and the food is good and fresh.

  5. Carrisa

    February 11, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I have several different favorite places to eat Mexican food, based on what I’m in the mood for. At La Hacienda, it’s the tacos. They are hands down the best tacos in town.

  6. Brian Schwartz

    February 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

    Remember the girl who took me to Senor Tequila’s? Well I took her to La Hacienda last night and it was wonderful. I had “Los Compadres” ($12). That’s their name for steak and shrimp getting all chummy on the plate. You can see a photo of one corner here:
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/articleimages/2011/20110113_0113WHacienda.jpg
    It was great! Steak flavorful, shrimp fresh and yummy. Overdose of fresh garlic though.

    • Brian Schwartz

      February 12, 2011 at 11:35 am

      I think it was the best steak I’ve had at a Mexican restaurant. Usually, unless you’re lucky enough to be invited to a ranch hands’ private barbecue at one of the great cattle ranches in northern Mexico (in which case, from what I hear, you’ll eat the best steaks of your life), meat in Mexican restaurants is crummy, just an excuse to put a complex, incredible sauce on.

  7. Anon

    February 12, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Brian,
    Seriously go back and get the Tacos a-la-carte with carne asada. They are ‘Mexican style’ instead of the ‘American style’ off the menu. Truly great.
    Gorditas with shredded beef or pretty much anything off the ‘Mexican Favorites’ section are excellent as well – and as far as I know – much less ‘Tex Mex’ than the rest of the menu.
    But let’s not spread the word too far…I still want a seat.

  8. phillip

    February 28, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Brian. this isnt texmex. this is good old fashion mexican food. the kind you would find at a weekend get together. good to see you like other places

  9. Pingback: Chicken Sandwich at La Hacienda on Brookside | Tulsa Food Talk

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