Southwestern Dishes and Margaritas made from Scratch
3 min read
Don Jones, part owner of Cafe Olé, celebrates all things colorful, tasty, and authentic and his Brookside restaurant encompasses all three, very well. The colorful season of fall is upon us and Café Ole has the ideal setting waiting for you. Imagine gathering with your friends, sitting alongside a crackling fireplace, drinking an award-winning margarita and diving into a delicious Southwestern dish. As Don likes to say, “It’s Olé weather!” and I can’t wait to pair it with some Olé queso.
Having eaten at Cafe Olé several times, I wanted to know how they achieve such great quality in their food. Don credits it to their fresh ingredients and never cutting corners. He will even test random dishes from time to time to ensure that each dish is staying true to its original recipe. Don explained how they use Hatch green chilies from New Mexico and fresh blue corn tortillas that are not just color dyed, as opposed to other places. Cafe Olé’s fresh ingredients not only look good and taste good (most important), but they leave you feeling good!
When Don and his partner bought the restaurant a few years ago, they inherited only two menu items: the margarita and the Ole Queso. I have to personally thank Don for keeping these items because they are truly one-of-a-kind. The Olé queso is made with melted cream cheese, peppers, onions and spices. This unique queso is so yummy that I’ve even taken some to-go! I asked what made the margarita so special and Don had one clear answer: fresh squeezed lime juice, every day.
When it was time to order, Don suggested we try the Tortas Cubana, Shrimp Caribe, and the Fish Tacos. The Tortas Cubana was honestly one of the best sandwiches I’ve had in a very long time. The combination of beef, pork and guacamole was outstanding. The sandwich came with a fresh side of Olé coleslaw and jalapeno cornbread. The Shrimp Caribe was delightfully sweet with seven shrimp sautéed in garlic, cilantro, tomatoes, onion and peppers, served over rice. I was especially excited to try the fish tacos because I’ve heard very good things. After my first bite, I knew why. The golden baked tilapia fillets were served with Ole coleslaw, guacamole, red onion, cilantro, and lime. Other places may use similar ingredients for their fish tacos but once again, Cafe Olé’s quality and freshness make these tacos stand out from the rest.
Cafe Olé offers an inviting, festive and cozy atmosphere in their large but quaint patio. This patio is wonderful all year round. Don’t let the cold keep you from enjoying outside seating, Cafe Olé provides outside covers to keep you nice and warm. Along with the beautiful fireplace, I believe the best part about the patio in the fall and winter is that your server provides you with blankets. That’s right, blankets. The surroundings and excellent service create the feeling that you’re gathering with your friends and family in your own backyard.
The family-oriented vibe probably stems from Don and his wife being so hands-on. It’s so refreshing to hear Don speak about his wife, Leslie. The Jones make a strong duo and their experience in food and hospitality make a great recipe for a thriving partnership. You will likely see one or the other at the restaurant because they live and breathe Cafe Olé. If you’ve ever had their dessert, you have Leslie to thank. Leslie creates all of their dessert menu items such as the chocolate cookie, Tres Leche, and Key Lime Pie. All three are a dangerously delicious way to end your experience at Cafe Olé.
Cafe Olé is an inviting and authentic place where servers want to work and people want to eat. The patio and excellent service, food and drinks make it one of my favorite spots to share time with family and friends. If you’re seeking a high quality Mexican or Southwestern meal, fresh margaritas, and comfortable setting, Cafe Olé is calling your name.