By Matt Larsen
You might mistake it for a home as you’re driving past 927 South 18th St., but that’s perfectly fine with Maria Hernandes.
She will probably take it as a compliment.
No double glass doors. No 25-foot blinking sign complete with marquee. Instead, two garage doors adjoin the wooden front door and betray the dining room’s previous use.
But the name says it all.
While Hernandes and her husband claim solely Hispanic roots, the knack for creating Asian dishes that her husband acquired during the 20 years he cooked in a Chinese restaurant could not be left off the menu of their family business. Thus, the pair set out three years ago to provide a rare combination of Mexican and Chinese cuisine under the same roof.
Turning the doorknob and setting foot on the wooden floors, you might as well be walking into a living room lined with booths rather than sofas and stuffed with tables and chairs rather than plush recliners and ottomans.
Any remaining traces of unfamiliarity melt away behind smiles of Hernandes and her daughter Adriana, who trails a safe two steps behind her mother as Mix Delicias’ soft-spoken owner, waitress, cashier and assistant chef offers drinks along with chips and salsa.
The salsa, available for breakfast or lunch (they open at 8 a.m. and close at 3 p.m.), does not come complimentary. The $1.50 you spend, however, will not be missed.
Composed of a rich blend of spices that seem to dig deeper into a history of Hispanic cooking than most Mexican restaurants this side of the border, the salsa keeps the fingers reaching rhythmically for more chips and frequent sips of water.
If you’re not careful, you may also find yourself spooning salsa onto your nearly-foot-long breakfast burrito ($2.75) overflowing with eggs and cheese and bundled up with foil like a cross between a sleeping bag and a neatly wrapped present on Christmas morning.
If hefty burritos aren’t your style, tacos can come your way for $1 apiece.
The price stays the same for the lunch tacos while you can add a dollar to have your burrito bursting with rice and beans rather than eggs and cheese.
While Mexican dishes make up roughly two-thirds of the menu and the breakfast options don’t include any Chinese dishes, those Chinese plates are worth the lunch-break trip.
Much like the salsa, the sauces coating your rice, veggies and meat of choice come packed with a blend of spices that bring a multi-pronged assault to your taste buds. These spices may make your water temporarily more valuable than the person sitting across from you but will keep you coming back until you’re soaking up the remaining sauce with your complimentary egg roll.
The only casualty of this time-tested blend of spices: a runny nose.
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