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Brite's Bites: Fake, offensive, and delicious

Fake Mexican food solves your hungover munchies

 by Tara Brite
 published on Thursday, September 14, 2006


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In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 to Oct. 15), this week's restaurant review is dedicated to some self-proclaimed "authentic" Mexican food: Pancho's Mexican Buffet.

I ate at Pancho's (1356 W. Southern Ave., Mesa) one particularly hot Monday afternoon with my roommate, Kim Weidner. We had just spent a few hours basking in the sun at Sunsplash (a Mesa water park), when Kim got the craving for cheap Mexican food. But since "authentic" restaurants like Filibertos and Taco Bell were too far of a drive, we landed at Pancho's.

Pancho's is a buffet-style restaurant where you can get anything from cheese and Tex-Mex enchiladas to Spanish rice and chiles rellenos.

But don't let the restaurant's Web site confuse you when it states, "Our classic Mexican dishes are prepared with the finest quality and freshest ingredients available." Pancho's food has to be the fakest Mexican food I've ever eaten. It's almost offensive to the Mexican culture.

But boy, is it amazing.

Let me explain. Take, for example, the sour cream enchilada. This enchilada is stuffed with what I can only describe as a sort of compounded cheese and is topped with sour cream and what tastes like Campbell's tomato soup. It sounds disgusting, I know. But with a Dos Equis in one hand and my bathing suit still dripping wet, it just felt right.

Kim might have explained the phenomenon when she said, "This is the perfect hangover food," as she took a bite of her greasy chimichanga (a fried burrito, if you will) and a chug of her Bud Light.

And the most amusing part of dining at Pancho's awaits you when you sit down at the table. If you want more food or a drink refill, you raise a small Mexican flag on your table, and your waiter or waitress comes to your aid.

This flag is particularly useful when you want some sopapillas for dessert - the best part of the meal. With a little honey, this traditional Mexican fried-dough dish is a sweet piece of goodness.

A meal at Pancho's, complete with all-you-can-eat buffet, drink and dessert, will never cost you more than $10. So when you're short on cash, hungover and hungry for a little Mexican comida, head on down to Pancho's Mexican Buffet.

Reach the reporter at Tara.Brite@asu.edu.



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