Who doesn’t love Mexican?  It’s quick, inexpensive and darn tasty.  And if you know what you’re doing, it can also be healthy. Here’s my guide to one of Cape’s favorite…El Sol.

So…..

Let’s just get this out of the way:  There are no chip hacks.

The only options are to: A) refuse them (and who’s gonna do THAT!?!) or B) figure out a way to NOT eat the whole basket.  My tip is to lay a napkin out and put a few chips on it, and that’s your serving.  When they’re gone, you’re done.

Now let’s look at the basics:  Enchiladas, Quesadillas, Tacos, Burritos, Tostadas, Tamales, and Chile Rellenos.

Enchiladas – You probably didn’t know that the corn tortilla is dipped in oil to soften it before the enchilada is made.  Well, now you do.  If you really love the taste of the corn tortilla over the flour, you could ask for it dry, otherwise just substitute a flour tortilla (it’s softer).

Quesadillas: Cheese is what makes a quesadilla a quesadilla (queso = cheese).  Between that and the fact that they are sautéed, quesadillas probably aren’t the BEST choice.

Tacos – Now we’re getting somewhere.  Soft tacos are better than hard, and chicken is better than beef.  A chicken soft taco is a winner.

Burritos – There are LOTS of different burritos on the menu, but let’s just talk about the basic a la carte kind. Choose chicken filling and you’re a step in the right direction.  Ask if it has cheese sauce on it. If so, substitute enchilada sauce, or the green sauce (fresh tomatillos … – both are great options.

Tostadas – These are fried corn tortillas topped with meat, lettuce and cheese.  Not the worst thing you could get, but not the best.  You could leave out the tortilla, but you’d basically be left with a baby taco salad.

Tamales – Nope. Cornmeal infused with lard (mezeca) makes these a not-so-great option.

Chile Rellenos – Don’t even think about it.

So there are your ala cart choices. Ordered as a combo or lunch special these come with rice and beans. Opt for the black beans over refried!!!

El Sol also offers a fantastic tableside fresh guacamole service. Unfortunately, the only thing to dip in it are the chips, unless you want to use saltine crackers…and if you do, just ask.

Taco Salads are usually the go-to item when eating light, but leave the fried bowl alone, or order it without.  You could also try the Santa Fe grilled chicken salad’ (it’s got beans, corn and avocado), or the Fiesta El Sol – chicken cooked with peppers and onions on a bed of lettuce – just get the dressing on the side. Also, either of the soups are really good choices – they have shrimp soup and chicken soup.

Love fajitas? You’re in luck!!  The fajitas are one of the healthier choices, but I do recommend asking them to go light on the oil though (or ask for no oil).  Do this and it will improve the health profile immensely.

My two favorite entrées are the Dianne’s favorite and the ceviche. You’ll find Diann’s favorite under salads and soups, but it’s definitely not a starter dish. Normally, you choose from chicken or shrimp which comes sautéed with a mix of vegetables and cheese sauce. But many people order this dish with no sauce and steamed vegetables instead, making it my winning pick.

Ceviche is found in the seafood section. This is a very light refreshing shrimp/seafood dish served cold with pico de gallo and avocado cubes, with a side of diced cucumbers and tostadas.

Here’s the RED LIGHT/GREEN LIGHT breakdown:

GREEN LIGHT = Go for it!!

RED LIGHT= Don’t do it!

APPETIZERS

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Sorry.

RED LIGHT:

  • You didn’t REALLY want an appetizer, did you??

SALADS AND SOUPS

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Chicken Taco Salad (without the tortilla bowl)

  • Diann’s Favorite (veggies steamed or lightly sautéed, no cheese)

  • Fiesta El Sol (light oil)

  • Santa Fe Grilled Salad (dressing on side)

  • Chicken or Shrimp Soup

RED LIGHT

  • Fajita Taco Salad (guacamole, cheese and sour cream)

  • Mike’s Favorite (UNLESS you ask for no oil, no cheese, and no fried tortilla…but who wants to do that?!?)

CHICKEN/STEAK/SEAFOOD/VEGGIES

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Mole Rojo (with black beans)

  • Mexican Tacos (with black beans)

  • Shrimp Cocktail

  • Ceviche

  • Fish or Shrimp Tacos

  • Seafood El Sol

RED LIGHT:

  • Quails (does anyone order Quails at a Mexican place??)\

  • Chimichangas

  • Poblano Dinner

  • Fajita Crisp

  • Vegetarian Quesdailla

FAJITAS and BURRITOS

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Shrimp or Chicken (ask for very light oil)

  • Vegetarian (same on the oil)\

  • Burrito Vaquero (no cheese sauce)

RED LIGHT:

  • Fajita’s El Sol

  • Fajita Tropical

  • Burrito Nova or Lava

A LA CARTE ITEMS / Create Your Own Combo

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Chicken Soft Taco

  • Chicken Burrito with Green Sauce

RED LIGHT:

  • Quesadilla

  • Tamale

  • Chile Relleno

  • Enchiladas (unless you get the tortilla dry, or sub a flour tortilla)

LUNCH SPECIALS

GREEN LIGHT:

  • Half Nachos Supreme (without the chips)

  • Chicken Burrito El Sol

  • Chilaquiles Mexicanos (no cheese sauce)

  • Special #2 with chicken and black beans

RED LIGHT:

  • Chimichanga

  • Taquitos Vallarta

And as always, enjoy the food, enjoy the company – and tip well!