Jalisco Mexican Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee

Dining Outside the Home: Jalisco Restaurant in Nashville, Tennessee! Family-owned translates to heart and soul. In this quaint Mexican cantina, you’re going to be treated like a limb on the family tree. A basket of warm tortilla chips and chunky salsa greet you at the table. The salsa is fresh and light. Dredge a chip through the tomatoes, Serrano peppers, and oregano. Yep, it’s authentic stuff. Add a side of guacamole to balance out the flavor. Love tacos? For those who appreciate it, cilantro is the star attraction. Roasted meat, shredded into small pieces, and chopped red onions with a squeeze of lime create a masterpiece that will pull you back enough to slow down and savor every bite. This is Mexican culture at its best.

Red Onion Mexican Street Tacos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Enjoyable Eats: Red Onion Mexican Street Tacos! As promised, today’s feature recipe takes us down the road to Jalisco-style tacos. Forget about the “loaded” tortilla shells you may be familiar with, or even default to when making Mexican food at home. This handheld taco steps “outside the box”. The ingredients are fewer, yet focus on freshness. For those who appreciate it, cilantro is a star attraction. Roasted meat, shredded into small pieces, and chopped red onions with a squeeze of lime wedge create a flavor explosion that, honestly, will pull you back enough to slow down and savor every bite. Perhaps you may even chew your food 20 or 30 times before swallowing to appreciate this virtual trip to a seldom-traveled Mexican village.



24-count street-size corn tortillas

1 pound seasoned shredded turkey or pork carnitas

1 red onion, chopped

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

2 limes, cut into wedges

Jalisco Pico de Gallo*


Warm shredded carnita meat in a microwave-proof covered casserole dish until steamy and heated through. Set aside. To warm street-size corn tortillas, place a dry iron skillet on the stove top over medium heat. Cook tortillas 30 seconds per side. Wrap a stack of five or six in aluminum foil to keep warm in a 200° preheated oven. When ready to assemble, place a portion of carnitas on each corn tortilla. Layer with chopped cilantro and red onions. Squeeze a lime wedge over all. Top with Jalisco Pico de Gallo.

*Follow the link for recipe.


Street Tacos

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Be Our Guest: Street Tacos! This is literally Cooking 101. I have been making tacos since I was 16 years old, before microwave ovens and gourmet kitchens were commonplace. My Aunt Gail, in Michigan, taught me the timeless secrets of a classic Mexican staple. First of all, you must use authentic yellow corn tortillas. Forget the box because you’re going to fry up the shells for freshness. It’s worth the effort, believe me.



16-ounce package yellow corn tortillas

2-4 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 pound ground beef, lean

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 green onions, snipped

1 cup cheddar cheese, finely shredded

Shredded lettuce

Fresh cilantro

Pico de Gallo or salsa


Preheat oven to 250°. Brown ground beef in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Cook until the beef is crumbly. Drain, if necessary. Season beef with garlic, cumin powder, onion powder, sea salt, and black pepper. Set aside. In a small skillet, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Add tortilla; cook 10 seconds per side. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Repeat until all tortillas have been fried. Reduce heat. One at a time, place a tortilla back into the skillet. Add 1-2 tablespoons ground beef mixture into each tortilla. Fold in half and place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all tortillas and ground beef are used. Warm in the oven until ready to serve. Assemble street tacos, per taste, with shredded lettuce, onion, cheese, cilantro, and Pico de Gallo.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter K

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? The Color of Food: Korean Pork Tacos! Once you get a taste for spicy food, the cravings thrive. That doesn’t mean dinner has to be boring, to say the least. Be creative. I like corn tortillas so I transformed an ordinary pork loin into slightly hot Korean tacos. Forego the kimchi and traditional greens by substituting with crispy broccoli strips and shredded carrots. Fresh cilantro and green onions add zest, not heat. Trust me, this recipe is not “burn your lips off” hot, it’s just more balanced between flavor and spice.



1 pound pork loin, cut into chunks

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/4 cup ground fresh chili paste

1 tablespoon dried garlic

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon sugar

2 green onions, snipped

1/4 yellow onion, chopped

Corn tortillas, warmed

10-ounce bag broccoli and carrot slaw

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Fresh cilantro


Combine rice wine vinegar, soy sauce, chili paste, dried garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, black pepper, sugar, green onions, and yellow onions in a bowl. Add pork chunks, mixing well to coat. Transfer to a ziplock bag, seal, and marinate for 2-4 hours. Heat vegetable oil in an iron skillet over medium-high heat. Cook pork 5 minutes, or until lightly browned. Be sure the meat is no longer pink in the center. Lower heat and shred pork with two forks. Simmer to absorb liquid to enhance flavor. For coleslaw, mix broccoli and carrot blend with mayonnaise. Refrigerate for 20 minutes. Fill bottom half of corn tortillas with coleslaw. Top with shredded pork. Garnish with fresh cilantro.

Dining Outside the Home: Island Taco in Poipu, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Island Taco in Poipu, Kauai. The handwritten sign on the counter said, “Aloha! Please try our homemade cinnamon crisp. Yum!” An inviting basket nearby was overflowing with crunchy sugar-coated flour tortilla strips. OMG! Within seconds Elise, a quirky illusion of a mermaid with ocean blue hair, appeared to take our order for lunch. Since all the tortillas are handmade, Island Taco didn’t stop there. Tacos that turn on, Burritos that beat all, Quesadillas that are quazy-good, plus much more. The chef at Island Taco goes on to create tropical choices like Kalua Smoked Pork, Seared Cajun Ahi, Blackened Mahi Mahi, Papaya Shrimp. Are you getting my drift? Refried beans and dirty rice are always a good idea. Generous servings are spot on! It’s a quick bite because, after all, you’re in paradise and the island lifestyle keeps you moving on. Hang loose. Shaka Mahalo.

Dining Outside the Home: Roscoe’s Coffee Bar in Richmond, Indiana

Dining Outside the Home: Roscoe’s Coffee Bar in Richmond, Indiana! For a nice stop on the east side of town, go for impressive organic coffees, fruit smoothies, and gastronomic food. Although the atmosphere might be laid back, the menu compensates with imaginative options. Take a seat inside at one of the warm wood communal tables while sipping on a nitrogen-infused cold coffee or perhaps an imperial brown ale. Friendly strangers might join you for a little conversation. The food is locally sourced, using a quality blend of fresh ingredients. Overall, Roscoe’s East Side is pretty down-to-earth and easy on the pocketbook.

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter Z

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Simple Sensations: Zesty Fish Tacos. The first time my California friend ordered Fish Tacos, I was like, “Whaaaaaaat??” After all, being a Midwestern girl, fish was caught to be dredged in beer-batter or lemon-peppered, deep fried, and eaten with a side of French fries. Not exactly good for the heart, but tasty. Well, my taste buds have matured over the years and now I tend to cook a little healthier without sacrificing great flavor…..which brings me to the Recipe of the Day.
2 Tilapia fillets

1 egg

2 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons flour

2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal 

2 tablespoons Panko seasoned bread crumbs

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper 

2 tortillas, flour or corn

1 cup shredded broccoli-carrot blend

1/4 cup salsa

1/4 cup Greek yogurt

1 green onion, snipped
Preheat oven to 400°. Mix egg and lime juice in a shallow dish. On a sheet of waxed paper, use a fork to blend flour, cornmeal, Panko crumbs, salt, pepper, garlic, red pepper flakes, cumin powder. Dip fish fillet in egg mixture to cover. Then coat with crumb topping. (This can be done more than once for an extra crispy crust.) Place breaded fillets on a greased baking dish. Bake for 8 minutes. Flip over bake 4 minutes longer. If you prefer a crispier crust, broil 4 minutes longer. Watch carefully. Fill each tortilla with fish, broccoli-carrot blend, salsa, and Greek yogurt. Garnish with green onion snips. 

Eating My Way Through the Alphabet: Letter T

What’s Cooking in Gail’s Kitchen? Something to Savor: Tequila Tacos! Do you follow any of the chef’s on the Food Network? It seems they are always thinking outside the box when it comes to expanding our palates. Take Guy Fieri and his famous hamburgers. Anyone who has had the opportunity to visit Guy’s Burger Joint can see how he very casually broke the mold when it comes to men in the kitchen. Anything Goes! Today’s “nod” of adding silver tequila to ordinary tacos definitely gets the party started! 
1 pound lean ground beef

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder 

1 teaspoon cumin powder 

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper 

1/3 cup tequila, silver

8 flour tortillas 

1/4 cup butter, melted 

1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded 

1 romaine lettuce heart, torn

1 tomato, chopped 

2 green onions, chopped 

1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

1/2 cup salsa

1 cup Greek yogurt 

1/4 cup black olives, sliced

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium skillet, brown ground beef until cooked and crumbled. Drain. Stir in garlic powder, cumin powder, sea salt, black pepper, and tequila. Reduce heat to simmer on low until liquid is absorbed. Stir occasionally. Set aside. Brush one side of tortillas with melted butter. Spoon about 1/4 cup crumbled meat mixture onto center of unbuttered side. Sprinkle with cheddar cheese. Fold in half; place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all tortillas are filled and meat is evenly divided between them. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes or until tortilla shells are crisp. Remove from oven and serve with lettuce, tomato, green onions, and cilantro. Spoon salsa over top; add a dollop of Greek yogurt. Garnish with black olive slices. 

Dining Outside the Home: Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza and Burgers in Poipu, Kauai

Dining Outside the Home: Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza & Burgers in Poipu, Kauai!  When you know the fish is caught fresh that day, it’s easy to choose the chef’s choice, especially when it comes highly recommended. There was a time I could not imagine ordering a fish taco, let alone eating one, but those days are gone. I now seem addicted to them. Perhaps it was the flaky striped marlin, or the fire roasted tomato salsa, the incredibly fresh avocado, and sliced jalapeño peppers. No matter how you serve it up, which happened to be in a crispy corn tortilla shell, the results were astounding! That’s perfection, in my opinion. I appreciate the farm-to-table concept Merriman’s Gourmet Pizza and Burgers holds true. It rules.