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Sunday, April 14
The Indiana Daily Student

The real enchilada

Yesterday, I woke up with a craving for some good Mexican food. I divide Mexican food into two different categories. The first category is the low-grade Taco Bell-style Mexican. While this is good at times, especially late at night, this type of Mexican food did not interest me. Instead, I wanted a real meal, filled with high quality ingredients. At the same time, I wanted something relatively inexpensive and fast.\nWith this in mind, I sought out Casa Brava. Once inside the door, I was greeted with a rather confusing atmosphere. On one hand, Casa Brava is made to look like a restaurant right out of Mexico. There are adobe walls accompanied with heavy red clay pottery. This presented a rather sophisticated atmosphere. At the same time, there were bright neon blinking signs proclaiming the daily specials. This tacky display clashed starkly with its surrounding environment. Beyond that, the atmosphere of Casa Brava was pleasant, nothing to complain about, but nothing overly exciting either. I found this to be a good thing. \nI wasn't going for the expensive food, and Casa Brava had this covered. For about five dollars, one can order huge plates of food. While one dish is most likely big enough for two people, at these prices, you might as well get two and bring home some good leftovers. \nI also stated earlier that I wanted something fast. The service at Casa Brava is downright amazing. After ordering drinks and appetizers, it took the staff of Casa Brava under two minutes to get our food to our table. \nThe menu at Casa Brava is huge. Different kinds of enchiladas, tacos, burritos, fajitas, \nchalupas, tostaguac and other types of traditional Mexican cooking graced the pages. With everything sounding so good, the hardest part was deciding what to order.\nTo begin our meal, the table was set with some of the best homemade salsa and chips I ever had. The salsa was fresh and just hot enough to give a subtle hint of spiciness while allowing the natural flavors to come through. The chips, though somewhat greasy, where light and had a nice crunch to them. \nTo accompany the chips, my companion and I decided to split a chicken quesadilla. This quesadilla -- a tortilla stuffed with cheese and then fried -- was like nothing I have ever had before. Usually you get a few pieces of chicken with a little cheese. The quesadillas at Casa Brava could be a meal onto themselves. Large chunks of chicken were stuffed with enough cheese to satisfy even the hungriest of patrons. The cheese used in these quesadillas, though dripping with grease, was quite tasty. Somewhat more mild then the sharp cheeses I am used to, the cheese was smooth and complimented the chicken nicely.\nFor our meals, my companion ordered fajitas quesadilla rellena without beans while I ordered the chicken fajitas. These dishes were rather similar. The main difference was that my companion's fajita came already made while I was presented with a plate of chicken, a pile of tortillas, and a plate of condiments and rice. While I would not recommend ordering a bean-centered dish without beans, as in this case of my companion's order, both are viable options that I would recommend in a heartbeat and were both downright excellent. The fajitas quesadilla rellena came with a giant fajita and a huge plate of rice. Both tasted wonderful.\nMy fajitas were some of the best chicken fajitas that I ever had. To begin with, I was presented with a huge plate of chicken and a loaded plate of condiments, rice and refried beans. The chicken was excellent, extremely tender and flavored nicely. There was easily enough chicken for about seven fajitas, and I knew at the start of eating that there was no way I could finish it all in one sitting. \nThe condiments were all excellent. On the plate, there was a healthy amount of guacamole, pico de gallo, cheese and sour cream. The guacamole was excellent. The avocado tasted like it was just pulled off the tree, while the dip itself was creamy and smooth. The pico de gallo, which is a spicy condiment, was rather strong and flavorful. I used too much first, causing me to drown my tongue in my soda. When used in moderation, the pico de gallo was excellent, filled with the sweet and extremely spicy taste of fresh chilies. \nThe rice and beans complimented the fajitas nicely. The rice was well cooked in the traditional Spanish rice style, and it had a nice flavor with hints of fruit and other aromatic spices thrown in.\nOverall, I would recommend Casa Brava to anybody who likes Mexican food. Casa Brava was excellent, plus I am personally a big fan of any place that will give me enough food for two meals for under $5.

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