El Camino Real
- 1122 W. Michigan Avenue
- Three Rivers, MI 49093
- (269) 273-7010
- No Known Website
I know it’s Michigan and I know it’s January, but man did we get a lot of snow this weekend. When I got home from work Friday night I was too tired to attempt to shovel my driveway, so I got up Saturday to do it before work. I only got about half the drive shoveled before I just threw my shovel and gave up.
Later that night, I decided I needed to break down and buy a snow thrower. I was hesitant to spend the money, but I just don’t have the time to shovel or the help like I did last winter.
I got on Sears.com and started looking at snow throwers. I found one I liked and clicked on the option to pick up in store. The store at Crossroads didn’t have the one I wanted in stock, but the Sears Hometown store in Three Rivers did.
I got the confirmation this morning that my new snow thrower was ready to pick up so I asked J if she wanted to make the drive to Three Rivers with me. She said if we could get lunch she was in.
The only place that really popped in to my mind when we decided to go to Three Rivers was El Camino Real. I’ve heard from several people that it may be the best Mexican in the area and a place that many people make a special trip for.
We had a little trouble finding the place even though it’s on a main road on the west side of Three Rivers. For whatever reason, neither my GPS or Google maps would accept the address (it wouldn’t find Sears either). I finally did a POI search on my GPS and found it. Really, it’s not all that hard to find. The building is about a block or so off the intersection of US-131 and US-131 BL.
We found several cars in the small parking lot next to the building that almost looks like it was a residence at one point. As we walked in the door, the man who we found out later was the only server, greeted us and took us to a booth near the back of the space. When we sat down, there were three other tables. By the time we left, the man who seated us was flying around the dining room taking care of a dozen tables yet neglecting no one.
The menu is pretty typical and quite large. Our waiter brought our drinks and chips and salsa while we looked it over. We both really liked the salsa and scarfed it down like it was our meal. The chunky, home made salsa was delicious. So delicious that we both ate way too much before our plates were brought out.
Neither one of us ventured very far from our typical menu selections as I went straight for the a la carte options and J went to the veggie combos.
There were four taco options on the menu and I selected two of them. I got two beef tacos which came with lettuce and cheese. I chose the option for soft shell and, in hindsight, I should have went with the hard option. The tortillas were flour tortillas instead of corn. The advantage was more meat and a bigger taco, but the huge disadvantage was that it was a flour tortilla. The meat had a spicy orange tint to it and like I just mentioned, there was a lot of it. My favorite thing about “americanized” tacos at a Mexican restaurant is the cheese they use. I don’t know if the cheese was Chihuahua or something else, but it was creamy and delicious. If they had just been in corn toritllas, they would have been very good. The flour tortillas took them way down.
The other two tacos I ordered were the Tacos Al Pastor. These tacos were served in two corn tortillas which made me excited when I pulled the aluminum foil open. The marinated pork as mixed with large chunks of onions and the cilantro was served on the side. The pork was very tender and very juicy. It was so juicy it made the tortillas pretty soggy and hard to pick up. The flavor was fantastic and I used a fork to get as much of it as I could.
J ordered Vegetarian Combo C which is a chalupa, an enchilada, and a cheese quesadilla. The enchilada came with a red sauce on it and the chalupa came with guacamole. Luckily, our server brought more chips, so she was able to have chips and guac in addition to all the other stuff she had on her plate. I asked her how it was when we left and she said it was good, but no better than some of the Mexican places here in Kalamazoo.
Our bill was just under $20 and our host/server was also manning the cash register. I saw another couple go to cash out so I rushed to the cash register to pay so he wouldn’t have to run around anymore than he already had to.
El Camino Real was really delicious, but I don’t know if it’s any better than some of our regular Mexican haunts. We didn’t go out of our way to go there so there’s really no complaints for me other than the flour tortillas. We wanted to find a good meal in Three Rivers and we did.