Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Paco’s: An Orlando citizen’s pilgrimage

Pacos has been around before Orlando started having I-4 traffic problems. Yes, it hails from a time when the city still felt like a Southern town. Some of the servers at Paco’s, a rarity in itself, have been there for close to 30 years. It seems when a restaurant attains a sacred age, you have to visit it just to say you’ve been there… almost, like a pilgrimage.

So, for this evening’s homage, we had a Chili Relleno for $4.95, a Giant Chili Chimi for $9.95, and a three-taco option for $8.75.

Complimentary chips and salsa break up the food waiting time. A standard salsa accompanies a basket of tortilla chips that’s good enough for a person to have as an appetizer. The Chili Relleno at Paco’s is very different from other establishments.
True, it is baked; but the layered strips of UNbattered Poblano peppers that are separated by generous amounts of shredded cheese make this an experience very unique to this establishment. Other restaurants may cry fowl- but the tenure of Paco’s overrules.

The Giant Chili Chimi is not gigantic visually. There are many layers to it, however. The burrito itself is stuffed with your choice of chicken or beef (or even a mixture of the two), fried, and THEN topped with homemade chili. To round things off, sour cream, guacamole, onions, and sliced pickled jalapenos finish the dish.
The taste of this mixture is exactly what it sounds like- soft exterior, tough burrito shell, meaty interior. It may look small, but the Giant Chili Chimi is more than satisfying. It sticks to your stomach for filling meal.

The three-taco option was perfectly portion sized. At Paco’s you can even mix things up by ordering hard and a soft-shell tacos.
You also get a choice of Chicken, Beef, or Guacamole, and they all come with lettuce, tomato, and cheese. Their refried beans are nothing extraordinary but their rice packs a good tomato flavor with a soft, sticky consistency.

IN A NUTSHELL: Paco’s is a modest location on Fairbanks- but anyone who has lived in Orlando for a while uses it as a landmark. An interesting fact about this place is that if you buy one of their T-shirts, you also get 10% off your check. For foodies and aspiring chefs, the Marj Myers Scholoarship Fund has been started at Valencia’s Culinary Program (Marj was the owner of Paco’s for over 28 years). The workers have been around longer than some of us, so show you admire their dedication. Paco’s hours of operation are not consistent through the week- be sure to call ahead. For a piece of local history that fills your belly at modest price, Paco’s is definitely worth a trip.
Paco's on Urbanspoon

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