el gallo giro, molcajete and nopales

by jani on February 4, 2013

My good friend is from Mexico. The other day, when she saw me making my daily smoothie, she told me that she makes her own drink with pink grapefruit and nopales. No, I did not know what nopales are. After she explained that it is a type of cactus, I nearly freaked out. What? Cactus? I know I’ve seen these in grocery stores, but they sort of look like they’re from the alien  category, so I never had a desire to venture further, until now.

My friend’s favorite Utah Valley (sorry to all of my out-of-state or out-of-country readers… you will need to do your own search for a venue serving nopales) Mexican restaurant for Molcajete is in Provo, Utah. It is called Molcajete because it is named after the volcanic stone dish and pestle which has been used in Mexico for thousands of years. We were anxious to try this exotic-sounding meal; El Gallo Giro did not disappoint! The Molcajete comes with your choice of meat (we chose chicken, beef and shrimp) with the grilled nopales on the side. It was absolutely delicious. And if it takes me an eternity. I will learn how to make this dish!

Gallo 4(1)

Before we were even served the Molcajete, our darling server from Bolivia, prepared the best guacamole that I have ever eaten in any restaurant. She prepared it fresh at our table.

Gallo Collage 1

I even took my chance and ate the spicy chile de arbol, served here in a very large Molcajete. No problem with the fire in my mouth, as I had a delicious horchata to put out the flame! I usually don’t enjoy horchata, but at El Gallo Giro, even these cinnamon flavored rice drinks are great!

Gallo 7

Lead by owner, Zulema Ortega, the staff is so very helpful and the service is friendly and attentive. Best of all –  the meal is very reasonable.

Gallo Collage 2

 HB and I made a stop at our local Williams-Sonoma on our way home to pick up our very own Molcajete. We will need to cure it for a week, adding about a teaspoon of rice mixed with salt… grinding it in well – and then we will begin our fun!

Gallo 8

I think my husband counted about 35-40 times, “That was so good!”,  from my side of the car. It actually became an almost “What About Bob?” moment! I discovered that I absolutely love nopales and better yet, they are filled with lots of fiber and have great nutritional value. We plan on adding them to our scrambled eggs for a yummy Southwest breakfast… I’ll let you know how that turns out, so stayed tuned!

What’s your favorite Mexican food? Have you used a molcajete… or eaten nopales? I’d love to hear!