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Restaurant lunch highlights:

Road Trip: El Toro, Alachua

Cafe rekindle's familiar spicy flavors 

By Mike Sanford, GLOB Editor

080318ETsf250It was a time warp moment out on an early morning walk when good friend Jon Roosenraad said, "Do you remember the El Toro restaurant out on SW 13th St GLOB Master," he asked placing a maudlin sound of appreciation in his question. "I remember eating there when it was the only Tex-Mex restaurant in town back in the day."

The good doctor makes an excellent point about a popular lunch stop on what we called the blighted SW 13th St., corridor just South of SW 16th Avenue.

But it was a very good restaurant complete with chiles, cheese, onions, peppers, yummy salsa and chips, refried beans, Spanish rice plus all the taco, burrito, and enchilada combinations your sombrero loving soul could stand.

 

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The history of N. Florida's El Toro is described nicely on the website, and in the El Torro menu:

El Toro opened in Gainesville in 1990by owners Patty and John Stockwell creating a family style atmosphere and enjoy getting to know every customer. Since relocating to Alachua in 2008, John says, "It's been wonderful and it's been a blessing." El Toro is only a short drive from Gainesville and is located in the Rolling Oaks Plaza near Hitchcock's Market. "This location makes it convenient for both local and not-so-local customers."

Since the move to Alachua from Gainesville El Toro has under gone considerable upgrades now in a new, smart and convenient location.

 

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I'm not sure of the new Publix opening down the road, or if Alachua has reached a 'tipping point' as one of Gainesville's bed room communities. But the city still possesses all the small town charm some say has vanished from Gainesville.

The feelings, a sense of a small town environment, quickly captures the GLOB Master's soul driving under the familiar concrete overpass and entering Alachua.

El Toro's slogan is GET FULL AT THE BULL and that was the exact plan of the GLOB Master heading for lunch in Alachua's Rolling Oaks Plaza.

 

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Daily Specials are posted outside El Toro Entrance to get your taste primed for a TEX-Mex tour of all things red, spicy, and corn tortilla crunch taco driven.

The El Toro menu has all the standard Tex-Mex creations and a salsa they are proud enough to display to hungry lunch outers.  I was enjoying the idea of imagining myself diving into Beef and Bean Burrito, One Beef Taco,

Spanish Rice and Refried Beans. The Daily lunch Special of one Chili Relleno, one Beef Taco, Spanish Rice and refried beans has always been my GO-TO Tex-Mex lunch. Unfortunately Diabetes Mike has written of the idea of eating Mexican rice and beans.  As yummy as they sound they would ruin a lunch I was seriously looking forward too.

 

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Foregoing the extra R & B carbohydrates I selected the Tuesday Special of a Spinach and Chicken Burrito loaded with cheese onions, peppers, large chunks of chicken and a delicious white sauce. ($8.25) Being a Tex-Mex food lover I couldn't resist ordering an additional two crunchy taco, one chicken, one ground beef. ($2.65 each) Grande Yummy GLOBers!

My lunch pal ordered off of regular menu selecting an impressive looking oven baked shredded beef burrito, with spinach, black beans and a side of refried beans topped with cheese and hot sauce and side of refried beans. ($5.25)

There are vegetarian lunch specials available including two bean tostadas with sour cream and one chili relleno served with Spanish rice and refried beans. All four vegetarian specials are available for $8.25.

FOLLOW THIS LINK for a complete El Toro menu.

 

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It pays to be early for lunch GLOBers our mid-day meal arrived quickly with spectacular presentation.

First off I added some El Toro salsa to my taco for a fast, joyous, Tex-Mex bite of spicy, chicken, deep fried, crunchy excellence. The cheese, lettuce, salsa, crunchiness combination always makes me smile leaving me in Mexican flavor nirvana.

Being a TEX-Mex food lover of the first order This was an excellent lunch with all of the spicy, gooey, delicious flavors pf the various peppers and spices making the rather large chunks of chicken mouthwatering good.   The white was an interesting addition.  The two crunchy tacos were too many.  I happily devoured the chicken taco which was magnificent and save thee other taco for later.

I should have asked about a green tomatillo sauce for my burrito. CARUMBA GLOBers!  That would have made my burrito lunch perfect.   However the chicken burrito was satisfying.

I felt good about there being no beans and rice on my plate. Typically I offer the extra sides to my lunch mate to take home for another meal. My blessed mother would be proud of me and my concern about throwing away food.

 

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Doctor Jon Roosenraad's burrito was a prize winner: "The same good food as many, many years ago when it was on SW 13th Street. Not sure why anyone would drive out from Gainesville for it when there are so many Mexican places in town,:" Jon R. said. "But if you are out any where near Alachua. or high springs, go for it." Roosenraad added.

Road trips with Rosey are always special. This lunch was delightful as he cleaned his plate offering very little Tex-Mex cuisine discussion. Then again what would a mid-western boy growing up in Lansing, Michigan know about Latin American cuisine.

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