Parrot talk

 Since when do people think “authentic” means the same thing as “delicious”?

want “authentic” food to be made out of natural ingredients and not a
big pile of chemicals, but other than that, who cares? Chefs change
things all the time based on taste or the availability of ingredients,
or just because.

what if actual Mexicans living in actual Mexico don’t eat a lot of sour
cream chicken enchiladas? Have you tasted a good sour cream chicken
enchilada? It could come from Mars, and I’d still enjoy eating it.

brings us to the topic of Casa Perico, a Mexican restaurant that
straddles the line between “real” Mexican food and the Mexican food we
all grew up with and still love, even if it isn’t what people eat south
of the border.

Perico is one of my
favorite places to eat precisely because it doesn’t put on airs. It’s
clean, the servers are friendly and the food tastes good (and isn’t
terribly expensive). They just want you to walk out happy.

And I would do just that, but I’m usually too full to walk.

start out, I like to get the botana ($7.99) for an appetizer. Sure, you
can gorge on chips and salsa and cheese jelly, but the botana is so
much tastier. It’s a big plate filled with cheesy potatoes, fried
jalapeños, onion, avocado and tomato wedges, and served with fresh
tortillas. And of course you can get nachos ($8.99), shrimp cocktail
($12.99) or housemade guacamole ($5.99).

know what else Casa Perico has? Tacos ($8.99-$12.99). Yeah, tacos. You
know those things everybody loves when they come from a tacqueria, but
you’re supposed to be ashamed if you get them from a drive-thru
fast-food chain? Perico does them right and in almost every style. Hard
or soft, corn or flour, chicken, different kinds of beef or even
catfish. And a taco salad ($10.99). C’mon — you love taco salad. Don’t
be a jerk.

One thing I wasn’t wild about: the flautas ($10.99). The chicken was barely seasoned and too dry.

for “authentic” dishes, I really liked the carne asada ($12.99). The
salsa over it was a bit spicy for my wife, but the flavor was right on,
and the texture of the steak was wonderful.

better is my personal favorite, the dish that keeps me coming back:
carnitas de puerco ($12.99). It’s pork rubbed down with Perico’s
seasoning blend, then roasted and seared. The end product is juicy,
crispy and tender. And if you somehow can resist downing the whole pile
of pig meat at once, it gets even better after a night in the fridge.

On the side, I tend to enjoy the classics. There’s something about  Mexican rice and refried
beans that soothes the soul. That said, I also like the borracho beans,
but I avoid the grilled vegetables, which contain too many mushrooms for
my liking.

I don’t know what “Parrot
House” has to do with food, nor am I inclined to learn. I will just keep
going to Casa Perico, where I know they’ll serve me foods from the old
country and foods that are indigenous to the U.S. So long as it keeps
tasting this good, I don’t really care where the recipe started.

Oklahoma Gazette’s
restaurant review policy is to highlight the positive aspects, and
include constructive criticism regarding food, ambience or service when

Greg Elwell

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