Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fresh Idea

Restaurant Review - Carmelita's

As a vegetarian, I often find myself underwhelmed at Mexican restaurants.  There are usually very few options, and they only involve some heavy cheese dish.  Even bean burritos are often not an option because many restaurants still use lard to cook their refried pinto beans.  So when my husband decided to try Carmelita's in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, I wasn't overly thrilled.  The most exciting part for me was the balcony overlooking the lake!

However, once we got seated I was pleasantly surprised.  Immediately we were served chips and salsa (not very unusual - though their chips were fantastic and served warm), but also a bowl of vegetarian refried black beans!  They were fantastic!  My three year old couldn't get enough, and frankly neither could I!

After perusing the menu, I found a vegetarian spinach enchiladas verdes, and I was ecstatic to have something other than plain cheese enchiladas.  When they arrived I was pleased with the presentation and the surprising garnish of arugula.  These enchiladas were delicious!  They didn't have a ton of cheese, so I wasn't left feeling heavy afterwards.  The arugula added a very nice flavor to the spinach and avocado.  Needless to say, there was nothing left over!

The sides are served family style out of common bowls for the table and the default is refried pinto means, but they will gladly add a bowl of the black beans for the table.  I was happy that my daughter had the option of delicious black beans without the added lard.

This delicious meal was topped off by a refreshing strawberry-jalapeno margarita.  What a great way to enjoy a meal with the family overlooking a beautiful lake on a sunny day.  If you happen to be in the Rancho Santa Margarita area of Orange County, I would definitely try this out!  My husband had the chicken burrito, but enjoyed it so much, I couldn't even get a picture of it!


  1. I love Mexican and the strawberry jalapeno margarita sounds awesome. At traditional spots I usually order veggie fajitas minus the sour cream, sub extra guac. It's guaranteed goodness!

    1. That's a great idea! I'm not a huge fan of veggie fajitas, but it has been so many years since I have tried them. I think I'll give that a shot next time! Thanks for the suggestion!