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Spicy Matador

Plus: V-Day in the South

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Roasted Habanero Enchilada

“You mean you WANT spicy?  Most people ask for the least spicy item!”  Matador server Jessica said, definitely gaving me mad props for ordering the hottest thing on Matador’s menu: Roasted Habanero Enchiladas ($11.95).

Given the option of enchilada filler (chicken, pork, shrimp, veggie, or beef), there is hardly any way I could turn down the beef.  Matador has always dished beef that was tender and flavorful, not ever wavering on quality.  These warm chunks of meat came swimming in ooey, gooey cheeses laced with their infamous heated habanero sauce and snuggled in two warm, fresh flour tortillas. 

If you’re not one to commit to an entire dish that will set your mouth afire, simply add some of Matador’s fresh Pico de Gallo to any meal and prepare to extinguish the flames. — Steph DeRosa

[Matador, 721 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.7100]

Southern V-Day

In the spirit of visceral romance, I suggest dining at the Southern Kitchen Restaurant on Valentine’s Day in hopes that you will spend the day feeling in love and being present — instead of waiting in the lobbies of places that aren’t nearly as impressive as a solid kiss or a good conversation.  

Southern Kitchen isn’t new, but it doesn’t get its due as a romance spot.

The menu is dripping with soul food favorites — from fried okra to Cajun catfish. There is something amazing about walking through a flimsy screen door and seating yourself at a nondescript, laminate-top table while the owner Gloria Martin wipes the counter and talks to customers. I highly recommend the fried frickin’ chicken. It will haunt you with its sublime blend of smokin’ spices and downright nasty crisp outer layer. Not skin but outer layer. You can choose three sides from real mashed taters, homemade mac ‘n’ cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas, red beans and rice, buttered corn, cornbread dressing, fried okra and candied yams, which have the perfect hint of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.

If you can still breathe, split some of their award-winning peach cobbler. — Paul Schrag

[Southern Kitchen Restaurant, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m-9 p.m. Saturday, 1716 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.4282]

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