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Bites Nearby: Mi Zirape

Mi Zarape in Saline offers quick and tasty Mexican food at affordable prices.

Did you know Saline has a Mexican restaurant? Mi Zarape is hardly new. But located east of downtown Saline (at Michigane Ave. and State Street), it doesn't receive the fanfare that some of downtown Saline restaurant's enjoy.

Lately, Mi Zarape has become one of my favorite destinations because the food is good, relatively inexpensive, and it's quick.

Almost as soon as you sit down, you're greeted with with complimentary warm tortilla chips and a sweet salsa. As you munch on these, it's easy to forget that you've got a real meal to yet to order. The chips are light, crisp and tasty and the homemade salsa is sweet and flavorful. My wife says the chips and salsa are among the best she's had, and she is wise in the ways of chips and salsa.

I'm not the most adventurous eater. My first time here, I ordered the enchiladas supremas and I was knocked out. Ever since, they haven't let me down.  Today, driving around taking pictures in Pittsfield Township, I was feeling it. So I stopped off for my regular order, just missing the lunch special.

After ordering, I wait for the food and it becomes apparent that many of the others here are speaking Spanish. Does it speak for the authenticity of the food?Heck if I know. But with the Mexican music and sombreros hanging on the colorful walls, it sure seems that way to me. Fortunately, the food arrives really fast, before i begin to feel too badly about my ingnorance of all things Mexican. (Canadians, on the whole, are preoccupied with how little Americans know about the Great White North). 

The food arrives with the four enchiladas dressed in lettuce, sour cream and a tomato. It looks good. Maybe better than normal. They must have seen me taking pictures of the tortilla chips.

Before now, I've never really paid much attention to the dish, other than to notice that it tastes really good. In fact, I never really even stopped to considerthe composition of the enchilada. My first experience with the enchilada, like so many of my first experiences, came at 2 a.m. in my friend's Mazda in a Taco Bell parking lot. 

How do you describe a cheese or bean enchilada? I'm not sure where to start. But I can say that I'm not the kind of guy who orders an enchilada without meat. And these stand up just fine without it. Especially the cheese enchilada. 

But once you taste the chicken or beef enchiladas,  why go without meat? There's a lot to like about the enchilidas. For me, texture means a lot. There's something really nice about the tortilla shell, which is soft with just a hint of crispness. And, no surprise considering what they've done with salsa, the zesty enchilada sauce makes the dish a winner.

As I always do, I happily finish the entire dish, and then relax with my work, as I chomp on more of the tortilla chips. And, I'm happy to report, I don't feel as if I am rushed to leave.

One thing I've noticed is that it's really difficult to leave the table when there are still chips and salsa waiting to be eaten. Just the other day, when I picked up a to-go order, I saw a couple standing up to leave. As the woman walked to the door, the man stood at the table and ate another chip. As she urged him to leave, we exchanged a knowing glance and he left a happy man.

The bill arrives, clocking in at $10.74, and I leave as a satisfied, well-fed man.

All in all, it's a very enjoyable dining experience, alone or with company. I also saw several families there with children and noticed a very affordable kids' menu. It would be nice to have Mi Zarape downtown, but it's a great piece of a terrific little plaza out at one of the busier intersections in the area.

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