Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Southwestern with a Twist

It's a long story - I won't tell it here - but this month our book club didn't have a book to read.  Several of us got together anyway just to socialize.  I would have gone even if I didn't like the other members because the meeting was at Z' Tejas, my favorite Southwestern restaurant.  It's a chain that started in Texas and has four locations in the Phoenix area, but they're all on the eastern rim of the Valley so I almost never get there any more.

The Paradise Valley Z' Tejas, where we met, is in a mini-mall complex, but the decor is much more upscale than that implies, with brick and copper slate tiles on the wall and quirky modern lighting pendants over the bar.  They serve an assortment of premium margaritas, live music is available Thursdays and Fridays, and the appetizers are half-price during happy hour.  When the weather is nice (as it was when we were there), seating is open on an outside patio screened by plantings from the parking lot and cooled when necessary by overhead misters. The waitstaff are cheerful, well-trained, and attentive.

Although Z' Tejas calls itself a Southwestern grill, its offerings range from Catfish Beignets to Wild Mushroom Enchiladas to Grilled Miso Salmon.  Last week we had the fabulous Grilled Shrimp and Guacamole Tostada Bites for an appetizer and as an entree I ordered the Smoked Chicken Chile Relleno, which is stuffed with an unusual combination of chicken, pecan, apricots and raisins and drizzled with a green chile and picante cream sauce.  All the meals start with a cast-iron skillet of moist and delicious fresh-baked cornbread, and those who still have a little room left for dessert can choose from Ancho Fudge Pie, seasonal fruit cobbler, the cheesecake of the day, or the chef's special, always a surprise.

I've never had a bad meal at a Z' Tejas or even a mediocre one, and the prices are very reasonable for the quality of the food and ambiance.  It's probably just as well that I don't live closer to one; if I did, I'd eat there far more often than would be good for either my waistline or my budget.

"...the origin of the name is a story that varies depending on who's telling the tale." ~The Z' Tejas Story

No comments:

Post a Comment