Friday, September 14, 2012

Frugal Floozie Friday - Chela's

I'd heard so many wonderful things about Chela's from friends and readers that when Craig - making his debut here on ye olde blog as "the new guy," a nice Jewish boy (with emphasis on the nice, since he seems to think I'm more Jewish than he is!) - was craving Mexican food, I thought this would be the perfect place to go for a Frugal Floozie Friday post. I'd been told that the prices definitely met my $5 per person mandatory budget, so we went off on an adventure.

The campechana taco pictured above - made with a combination of chorizo and carne asada on a corn tortilla - cost a ridiculously measly $1.85 ... I'm serious! And yet, there was no skimping on the filling, which was very flavorful and tender. Accompanied by horchata - a creamy, sweet rice-almond drink - that cost a whopping $1 for the equivalent of, say, an average medium-sized drink, this would make a great light lunch or substantial snack. (Those who quibble about my portion sizing could order a second taco and still come in at under $5. I might order a second taco too, just 'cause it was really good.)

We also ordered a pork tamale, yet another treat for a mere $1.85, simply because I love tamales. I've always wanted to go to a tamale-making party, and have yet to receive an invitation; I was so jealous when my blogging buddy Jenn, of Jenn's Food Journey, wrote about her own opportunity to do so! I order them whenever I can, and was impressed again at the generosity of the serving and the filling at Chela's.

Complementary accompaniments to the dishes are offered at the counter: sour cream, a mild green sauce, and a vibrantly spicy orange hot sauce.

Craig had not only been dreaming of Mexican food, but specifically of a burrito. So he ordered the black bean variety, also stuffed with rice, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, and hot sauce; this is a great value at $6, even if it's just out of our mandatory price range for one person. It was a nice, fat, happy, round offering that could satisfy one hearty appetite, or two hungry people for only $3 each.

Our final dish to sample was the cheese and vegetable quesadilla for exactly $5. It would be a lot of food for one person to finish, in all honesty, but would be great to share along with other inexpensive dishes. Filed with bright, colorful zucchini and peppers, this was far more than a mere serving of a tortilla and some cheese.

There are many varieties of each dish, as well as salads; and virtually everything on the menu comes in at under $5 period, not just per person. Desserts - cookies, rice pudding, and flan - are also available. And vegetarians can eat happily with lots of options. Brunch is served on weekends, and Huevos Rancheros as well as chilaquiles and a breakfast burrito all meet our budgetary requirement, too.

So, go try Chela's, a welcome addition to town!

I'm hosting an amazing giveaway: you could win 2 tickets to CRUSH Birmingham on Saturday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m., to be held at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, Michigan. A fabulous party featuring food, wine, area chefs, and master sommeliers, it's a benefit for The Children's Leukemia Foundation of Michigan. But you - yes, you! - might be able to win 2 tickets. Click here for more information.

683 S. Maple Rd.
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Monday - Saturday: 10:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. - 8 p.m.

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Chela's on Urbanspoon


Cranberry Morning said...

Love that phrase, 'nice Jewish boy.' I can just hear that spoken. :-)

And $1.85? You can't get anything for $1.85 anymore. This IS a paltry price.

Have a nice weekend, Mary.

Debra Hawkins said...

WOW! What a price! That is awesome!

Candace said...

Of all the places I've dreamed of dining with you at, this is at the top of the list. Tacos, tacos tacos! My favorite. Dressed so simply with the onions and cilantro. Be still my heart. It even has the perfect accompaniment....a squeeze of fresh lime. Yum!

Robin said...

There was a sweetness to your writing style that hasn't been here for a long time. It had nothing to do with the food (which was lovely) and everything to do with "the nice Jewish boy" methinks. Sigh.

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