Man, over five years...has it really been that long since we last visited Ranas? I'm not sure why we hadn't returned sooner....we've usually enjoyed our meals there, but the place just seems to slip our minds. Finally, last week I remembered Ranas and we headed out to Casa De Oro.....
Ranas really looks spiffed up, it looks like business has been good over the years, which made us happy. We've always had great service here.
As would be expected, prices have gone up over the years and there seem to be a few items I don't recall seeing on the menu before. There are also Mexican wines and even pulque on the specials board.
Our server, whom I recalled from before...half a decade younger and a few pounds lighter happily sat us outside, it was before this last heatwave hit and the evening air was just pleasant. While we mulled through the menu some chips and salsa were delivered.....
The chips were nice, firm and crisp, the salsa seemed mild but had a little zing that caught you later on.
We started with the Huitlacoche Quesadilla Plate ($10).
Called "black mushrooms" on the menu, which I guess is much better than the common American name...."corn smut". Huitlacoche is basically a fungus that affects corn....bad for the corn, good if you like earthy, woodsy, mushroom like flavors. Here it's sauteed with onions, and I believe there's some Epazote in this...I could make out the unique anise-mint flavor. The huitlacoche also seemed to have a hint of sweetness, something I really couldn't recall from eating it before.
The missus loved the nopales, which had a nice slight sour-green bean-citrus flavor and had been well seasoned.
The Missus also wanted the Flor de Calabaza Quesadilla Plate ($10):
Like the huitlacoche quesadillas this was served in blue corn tortillas....mild in flavor and griddled on the comal to have a bit of chewiness. That worked great on the latter in my opinion, but not so great here as this was pretty dry overall. I did appreciate the fact that it wasn't "over-cheesed" and the Missus enjoyed this, but it was on the dry and bland side for me.
The Pork Entomatado ($10) on the other hand, was definitely not bland, nor dry.....
This was my favorite of all the dishes I'd had at Ranas way back when....and I gotta say, it's still up there. Loved the tangy, tomato-chili sauce (they won't tell me what chilies they use for this), it has a nice smokiness and finished with a back of the throat heat. The pork is tender....but it could be cardboard for all I care. The nopales adds a nice texture and that "green" flavor that compliments the dish. The tortillas were typical store bought corn, but I really enjoyed those beans. The Missus doesn't care for frijoles refrito made from pinto beans, but after some encouragement had a taste and really liked this....there is some "special" flavoring ingredient in this...I'm pretty sure of that.
Overall, the service was very friendly. All the folks eating were having tortas, burritos, and stuff like that....but heck, they looked like they were all having a great time and if that pays the bills, so be it. So long they don't take the dishes we enjoy off the menu.
9683 Campo Rd Ste A
Spring Valley, CA 91977