‘Tis the season to appreciate the small joys in life.
On a recent visit to Las Brisas Mexican restaurant in Edmonds, this fact rang true before I had even had the chance to order my lunch. When I asked for a side of pico de gallo — a chunky salsa — the waiter informed me it would be no problem, and that they don’t charge extra for the order.
A small joy, yes, but on a budget like mine, when I’d regularly pay up to two dollars for my favorite cilantro and jalapeno-laced side, it was a joy nonetheless.
After polishing off my free side of pico de gallo along with a few warm tortilla chips, my entree arrived still sizzling from the grill.
I had ordered my favorite Mexican dish — a marinated flank steak called carne azada with the usual rice, beans and tortillas.
The flavor of the steak was full and not too spicy, and grilled to perfection. It easily cut with a fork, and melted in my mouth.
The tortillas, served hot in a plastic warmer, were fresh and delicious dipped in the sour cream and guacamole that also came with the meal.
And even though I had ordered from the lunch menu, which offers a wide range of options for under $8, there was plenty of food to box up for later, and I definitely did not leave hungry.
One of the people who accompanied me on my lunch break also was very pleased with his meal. Having ordered his favorite Mexican dish — chili releno, an egg-battered, cheese-filled chili served alongside rice and beans — he was pleasantly surprised that the dish was made from an authentic poblano chili, unlike the canned ones often used at other restaurants.
“It’s my test of a good Mexican restaurant,” he said.
The service at Las Brisas also was a joy. Consistent but never intrusive, my diet Coke always seemed to be full and more napkins and another (free!) side of pico de gallo wasn’t more than a minute away.
Now one of my favorite restaurants, Las Brisas is sure to stay on the top of the list for quite a while … especially if they continue offering free pico de gallo.