Garcia’s Tortilla House

There’s nothing like a one year hiatus! Whoop whooooop! I’d like to say I was super busy this past year, but I’ve mostly been content and lazy.

We have now lived in Charleston for two years!!! I guess we aren’t really “newlyweds” anymore like my bio states.  I’m still utterly in love with this city – and with my husband ha.  However, I’m constantly at a loss for words when people ask me where to eat in Charleston.  Um, genre? Price? Classic or trendy? Area of town???? Before I know it, I’m sweating with anxiety. Must. Give. Good. Rec.

In summary, that question is starting to elicit the same response as when people ask me where to eat in New Orleans, the answer to which is, “How long do you have???”  This is further complicated by the crazy boom of restaurants in this city.  The growth here (on every level – seriously, check out the housing market) is insane!  Which means that when I go to The Eater Charleston hottest restaurants list, I usually don’t recognize half of the names.

Well one of those names on the list (as of September 2015), I can totally recommend: Garcia’s Tortilla House.

Garcia’s Tortilla House – Fancy level: crazy casual/sweatpants acceptable; Money: $20 dollars for two people’s tacos!; Ambiance: I just said you can wear sweatpants, so you can guess.

Geoff and I take Mexican food pretty seriously.  It’s our usual go-to after we spend an hour discussing other options.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – give me cheese and refried beans and I’m pretty much a happy camper.  Well, lately, I’ve found I have a wee bit of a dairy intolerance.  Also, some new study told me it’s NOT healthy to consume 1 pound of liquid cheese in a sitting.  Rude!

Anyway, we ordered a few tacos from Garcia’s – without cheese, and I didn’t miss it at all.  What is amazing about these tacos is, for once, the tortilla!! You can see them making them while you eat.  And they are the star of this taco.  Usually, places give you a great filling and a sad, grocery-store-bought tortilla.  Not this place.  These tortillas are pillows of deliciousness.  I immediately asked a worker, “Do y’all sell these tortillas?” Yes, they do! I know where I’ll be stopping on our next Mexican themed cook night.  (And I’ll also stop next door at Veggie Bin, as I do at least twice a week, for some complimentary veggies. SHOP LOCAL.)

My one pic of our tacos looks pretty sad – but tacos are hard to photograph, people!!!

IMG_5269

We got two of their specialty grouper tacos and one carnitas taco with refried beans, grilled veggies, cilantro & onion.  My ONE regret is they don’t have legit hot sauce – at least have a good selection if you don’t have a homemade one.  They had Valentina only.  Next time, I’ll be bringing one from our collection at home —- we LOVE hot sauce.

I got a definite family feel at this restaurant.  As in, the worker could answer all the questions I asked and also openly encouraged us to come back.  They are new, and though they are on the hot list, we all see a lot of restaurants here that don’t make it.  I sure hope they do!  And if I must eat tacos to support the local economy, that is a cross I will bear.

Crock Pot Refried Beans

I have been dying to make these crock bot refried beans I saw on pinterest.  I always gorge on refried beans at Mexican restaurants.  Double beans, no rice please!  That + queso + a margarita = happy Caroline.  Well this recipe is restaurant-quality, creeeeamy refried beans, with minimal fuss.  The hardest step is when you use your immersion blender to blend the beans.  Also, it makes a lot and can be frozen!

Crock Pot Refried Beans

  • 2 pounds dry pinto beans, rinsed – no need to soak!
  • 4 vegetable (or chicken) bouillon cubes
  • 1 tablespoon of garlic salt
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion – not chopped up, just whole (or technically, halved)
  • 1 stick butter – I used a little less as this seemed excessive

Put all beans into crock pot.  Fill the crock pot nearly to the top with water.  Add bouillon cubes, garlic salt, and sweet onion.

Cook on high for 5-6 hours, until beans are soft.  Stir every now and then.  If the water gets low, add more.

Discard onion.  Strain beans, saving the liquid in a separate bowl.  Add a little of the liquid to beans and use hand blender to mash beans.  Add additional liquid to obtain desired consistency.   Put back in crock pot and add butter.   Cook on low until the butter has melted.

IMG_6077

I served mine with Cilantro Verde Enchiladas from the freezer.

Cilantro Verde Enchiladas

I made the yummiest enchiladas for dinner!  I went on a search for a recipe featuring cilantro since Geoff loves cilantro and found this.  It was perfect.  I used a rotisserie chicken, so there was minimal prep work.  It also calls for canned salsa verde rather than making your own, but you adjust it with your cilantro and seasonings.  So kind of semi-homemade.  Perfect for a weeknight meal.

I served these enchiladas with a side of refried black beans.  Mmmm.  These enchiladas are very filling.  Also, I froze four of the enchiladas before baking so we have another meal for another week!

Cilantro Verde Enchiladas

  • 1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups salsa verde (I used Herdez)
  • 1 medium-large onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced (keep some seeds if you like heat)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp salt or to taste (this will depend on the salsa verde you use)
  • 8 ounce cream cheese, softened
  • 10 tortillas
  • 4-5 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (I just shredded a rotisserie chicken)
  • 2 cups monterey jack cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a blender combine onion, salsa, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno and salt. Blend until smooth. Stir in softened cream cheese and blend til combined. Pour half of the sauce over the chicken and stir until well coated. Reserve remaining sauce to pour over the enchiladas.

IMG_5832

Scoop about a 1/2 cup of chicken mixture in each tortilla, roll up and place side by side in a lightly greased 9×13 pan.  Pour reserved sauce over finished enchiladas and cover with tinfoil.

IMG_5833

IMG_5835

If you are going to freeze some, freeze at this point.

Bake for about 30-35 minutes.  Remove foil and sprinkle evenly with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered for 10-15 more minutes.

IMG_5843