Jalapenos Eagle River, Alaska
Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant
Eagle River, Alaska
The Eagle River – Chugiak area with a population of only about 34,000 is blessed with three full-service restaurants that serve Southwestern or Mexican-style food. They are Garcia’s Cantina, Chepos, and Jalapenos. A store front restaurant with small signage, set back from the highway, Jalapenos’ location works against it. To keep the parking lot full, the restaurant must be doing something right.
The menu says, “Gilbert and Sandra Ramos welcome you…” Indeed, the staff is quick and courteous and they do make you feel welcome. The interior is gaily decorated with colorful carved tables and chairs, a sort of fiesta flair. You have a choice of table or booth accommodations. A basket of tortilla chips and mild salsa are complimentary, hot salsa on request. Entrees range from $10 to $18.
Of my dinner companions, one ordered the El Hombre
combination dinner, and the other the Del Oceano Enchilada. I ordered the Chicken Flauta Platter.
The El Hombre is a combination platter that includes a beef chili relleno, chicken flauta, and a beef enchilada, refried beans and rice are included. Presented on a large oval platter with garnish, the amount of food is quite ample. My companion ate heartily sampling each item in turn. He said it was very tasty, good quality and was satisfied with his selection.
The Del Oceano Enchilada includes enchiladas made with shrimp, scallops, Dungeness crab and a rancheria sauce, rice and refried beans are included. Also served on a large oval platter with
garnish, the entree and sides are of ample quantity. My companion was more reserved. She said the enchiladas were good and would finish her dinner, but she had expected more from her selection considering the local reputation the restaurant has for its seafood dishes.
The two chicken flautas were presented on a large oval platter along with rice and refried beans. Flour tortilla wrapped and fried golden and crisp, the contained a nicely flavored chicken filling, Portions were adequate and there was more than sufficient food for a meal. It has been my experience that the rice and beans served in Southwestern – Mexican restaurants are never
able to compete with the entrée. This presentation was no exception. However, the rice was light and fluffy, had a pleasant flavor. The beans had texture and were not processed to an amorphous paste. I was more than satisfied with my selection.
My companions had chosen the restaurant ahead of time. From previous visits, one of them already had dessert in mind, the fried ice cream. It is a large serving of Vanilla ice cream with a crispy crust, served on a crisp fried tortilla drizzled with chocolate syrup; all topped with your choices of more chocolate syrup, strawberries and whipped cream. The waiter,
when delivering the dessert, discretely left three spoons. It was an invitation to share. However, two of us just watched the third rather than reach over and endanger our fingers. It was pronounced excellent and decadently satisfying.
It was a pleasant meal, leisurely and unrushed. The dining area is quite quiet. Unlike some restaurants that have decorated walls but a bare ceiling with suspended pipes and ducts that echo, reverberating all the sound in the restaurant back at you, Jalapenos has a finished acoustic ceiling. Quiet conversation is possible. Also absent are other distractions such as TV sets. The serving staff was quiet and attentive without
hovering. All in all, it was a nice quiet dinner out with friends. The food was good, worthy of another visit, and the overall experience was pleasant and enjoyable.
For the future, Jalapenos has another facility in Wasilla, Alaska that I will have to try someday. Jalapenos does boast of a unique feature. You can order online for pick up or delivery within an eight mile radius of either store, just log onto http://www.jalapenosak.com/
October 11, 2009 A Follow-up visit to Jalapeno’s Restaurant
It was the day to take my friend, the other Larry, to a birthday lunch. He opted for Jalapeno’s and we went there for lunch. The luncheon menu offers lighter meals for the midday as well as the regular meals offered for dinner. The staff took but a few moments to rearrange the dining room furniture for a large lunch group, four tables of four plus, that arrived at
the restaurant a few moments before us. We were soon escorted to our seats and service was quick, efficient without being overbearing, the staff quick to take care of little details such as more salsa for the chips and refill beverage glasses.
Larry chose the Tres Delicias Enchiladas
. The three delicious enchiladas plate features a beef, chicken and cheese enchilada, each with a different sauce; red chili, green chili and cheese. Spanish rice and refried beans are the traditional accompaniments. Larry ate with gusto and enjoyed his meal, saying that it was very good. He cleaned his plate but declined an offer of
dessert. The dinner-sized meal for lunch was more than ample.
I chose the chicken fajita dinner, one of my favorite dishes. The service consists of a medium plate with the rice and beans, a very good guacamole that I believe is made in house, sour cream and pico de gallo. Four hot tortillas accompany the entree, the very hot and sizzling pan of fajita meat and vegetables. There is more than ample chicken and vegetables to fill each of the tortillas. The chicken is flavorful but mildly
spicy, a good balance. The house guacamole and sour cream complete the tortilla filling (my personal preference is for no cilantro so I usually forego pico de gallo) making for very satisfying fajitas. The dinner entrees are a little larger than one might wish for a midday meal. I had to ask for a take-home container after finishing about half of my meal. It was a relaxed meal with lots of catching-up conversation and we enjoyed the meal very much.