Photo courtesy of Chris Liverani on Unsplash.
EMORY LIETZ | OPINION COLUMNIST | firstname.lastname@example.org
CONNOR WHITE | OPINION COLUMNIST | email@example.com
“Let’s go somewhere exotic for dinner tonight,” said basic Butler eaters, minutes before hopping in their Audi Q8 headed towards Condado Taco.
Freshman year, one of the informational boards in Irvington boasted the “Best Eats in Indy,” and the restaurants featured were Hopcat, Bazbeaux, 317 Burger and Thai Cafe. As far as Broad Ripple goes, these are admittedly some of the better restaurants in town; however, cars have a unique ability to drive in more than one direction. This culinary propaganda failed to consider the experience that is dining on 38th St. and Keystone Ave.
Please, we beg you, stop the narrative that the best food in the area can be found in Broad Ripple — it’s both classist and simply untrue. Don’t get us wrong, Broad Ripple is useful for a quick, unadventurous bite, but I could name six different taco restaurants that offer both better value and better quality than what you can get at Condado.
So buckle up, put on your readers, whatever it will take to convince you not to eat Chipotle twice a week. Soon, your palate will be so refined that the next time you eat fast food Mexican, it’ll give you food poisoning, just like our last two experiences. After reading this article, you’ll be speaking fluent Spanish, and you’ll laugh as your friends attempt to sound out “lomo encebollado” as they order their tacos.
Some of these aforementioned friends may consider Greek housing or Irvington Hall their home away from home, but for us, this is not the case. Hello MTV and welcome to our crib: Los Molcajetes. Located on 16th St. past Marion University, this welcoming building, with its office-like charm and glowing red letters, stands ready to serve the Butler community.
When you arrive, there will be a lot to take in; your senses will certainly be overstimulated. You’ll probably notice the recently-upgraded yellow walls, which replaced the previous lime green paint job. On the left wall are portraits of notable Latinx figures, including Julio Cesar Chavez and Frida Kahlo. The far side of the floor has been converted into a stage with drums, a DJ booth and mic stands. We are frequent customers of this restaurant, and only once have we actually seen performers. They seem to be on their own schedule.
You’ll choose your own seat because the restaurant is always surprisingly empty, and Angelina, a waitress near and dear to our hearts, will bring out a complementary, freshly-made batch of chips and salsa. Spice lovers rejoice — the Molcajetes staff does not have the word “mild” in their vocabulary. Johnny Ferris, a sophomore marketing major and notable truth-teller, has not been molded in the ways of the spice. However, he fought through the pain and lives to tell the story.
“This salsa is fantastic,” he huffed between coughs and sweating spells.
If the salsas aren’t enough, each table is equipped with its own arsenal of hot sauces, from Tapatío and Valentina’s to both varieties of Yucateo.
While putting down chips and salsa, and cooling off with a pitcher of horchata, you’ll probably get lost in the crowded menu that hardly features any English. When in doubt, just close your eyes and point to something — it’ll be great. Otherwise, tacos are always a safe place to start. Pastor, marinated pork, is objectively the best meat option on the menu, followed closely by steak and chorizo. For even more adventurous eaters, go with tongue or tripe — cow stomach.
Last week, we took sophomore Braxton Martorano with us for his first Molcajetes experience. Mortorano is a double major in economics and food critiquing, and he had only great things to say about his burrito.
After one bite of his chicken burrito, Mortorano dropped it and looked up from his plate. “This is the best Mexican food I’ve ever tasted,” Mortorano said.
Connor ordered his usual 18-inch quesadilla, and I opted for the nachos. Each entree comes with, you guessed it, two more salsas. If your taste buds aren’t tingling by now, they will be before you leave.
As you finish your main course and unbutton your pants for more room, you will undoubtedly have a lot of time to recover. Angelina knows that her customers need several moments before they can speak again, so instead of offering you the check, she will instead sweep the entire restaurant. If you’re in a hurry to get to work, text your boss and tell them you’ll be late. Just mention you’re at Los Molcajetes with Angelina and they’ll understand. The workers know that service can be sacrificed if the product is solid. In the event of an emergency, simply yell for the “mesero.”
On your way out, don’t forget to stop at the gift shop in the corner of the store. What can’t this restaurant do? Pick up a new handmade mask or bag to show all of your friends on campus how cultured you are. If you anticipate being hungry later that night — which is impossible, first of all — pop into the attached Mexican market — also impossible, as it is inexplicably not opened to the public, but you can try.
As you walk to the exit, Angelina bids you farewell with a smile. “Adiós,” she says on your way out.
Guacamole: By the bucket
Service: Slow, but with a smile
Live music: advertised, not provided
2621 W 16th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46222