By Jaweed Kaleem
For real Tex-Mex and Mexican meals, go south. Far south.
In addition to acres of farmland, new housing developments and an old-time charm that has disappeared from much of the region, Homestead and Florida City serve up some of the best south-of-the-border cooking around. At least a dozen restaurants cater to the farm-focused Mexican community at the southern edge of
Florida’s Turnpike. Here are three of the tastiest.
Antojitos is the Mexican term for snack, but this small, year-old restaurant offers a broad sampling of Tex-Mex and Salvadoran dishes. At the all-you-can-eat buffet ($6.99 weekdays, $7.25 weekends), load chicken, beef or pork filling into taco shells and pile rice, refried beans, chicken wings, watermelon slices and cookies alongside. On weekdays, tacos are 99 cents each. For larger appetites, taco, enchilada, tostada and tamale meals come with rice and refried beans, plus tortilla chips and homemade salsa. Filling choices include not just beef, chicken and pork but beef tongue. At $8.95, the salty, savory carne asada (thin-cut, braised beef) is a great alternative to tortilla-based dishes. Thirsty? The beer selection includes Corona, Modelo, Negro Modelo, Dos Equis and Suprema.
Antojitos Mexicanos, 436 N. Krome Ave., Homestead; 305-242-1226. All-day breakfast (chorizo con huevo or Salvadoran pupusas with eggs) $4.99, burrito, tostada, quesadilla, gordita, taco and flauta meals $7.99-$8.99, beer $2.75; 8:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon-Thurs, 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday
Step inside this colorful building to find a small eatery with murals and paintings of beach and villa scenes. Try a combo meal, each of which mixes three of the following: tostadas, entomatadas (enchilada dipped in tomato sauce), enfrijoladas (enchilada dipped in bean sauce), tacos, flautas, sopes, chimichangas, tamales and quesadillas. The sopes — circles of thick fried tortilla topped with refried beans, crumbled cheese, onions, salsa, sour cream and a choice of meat — are especially good. Also popular is chile rellanos — beef- or cheese-stuffed roasted chile peppers. Most plates come with rice and refried beans, plus tortilla chips and salsa. All-day breakfast includes heuvo Mexicano and huevo con chorizo. To drink, there’s piña colada-flavored horchata, a cold, sweet rice and almond milk. Jarritos Mexican sodas and Mexican beers are also available.
Rosita’s, 199 W. Palm Dr., Florida City; 305-245-8652. Breakfast $4.75-$6.50, tortilla-based meals $6.50-$7.99, chile rellanos $8.50, à la carte items $1.50-$2.99, horchata $1.50, Jarritos soda $1.99, beer $2.99; 8:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. daily
El Toro Taco
The granddaddy of them all is three-decade old El Toro Taco, tucked among antique shops in Homestead’s small downtown. Try the spicy menudo soup, made from beef tripe, dried oregano, epazote, ground chile flakes, lime juice, cilantro and chopped onion. Choose from a wide selection of tortilla-based dishes with beef or chicken filling or go for the Bistec Ranchero, an 8-ounce T-bone steak. Most main dishes include rice and refried beans. The restaurant is BYOB, and many customers come toting their favorite Mexican beers. Every table gets free tortilla chips and fresh, chunky salsa.
El Toro Taco, 1 S. Krome Ave., Homestead; 305-245-8182. Chorizo con huevo breakfast $5 (until noon), soups $5.25, appetizer platter $7.50, chicken or beef tacos, enchiladas, tostadas and tamales $1.95 a la carte or up to $7.50 as a meal; 9:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Tues-Thurs, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri-Sat, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday
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