Dining Out: Los Jarritos

When I was 12, my best friend’s mom returned me home from a sleepover with a request to my parents to please feed me a bit more before they sent me over. Rather than being offended, my mom said something along the lines of “I completely understand.” To be fair, I had just eaten more pancakes than my friend Theo, his little brother, father and mother—combined.

I was reminded of this the other day after my girlfriend Joy made a point of feeding her nearly 13 year old son before delivering him to a sleepover. We had just come from a swim meet where he’d swum five races, winning two. Even on a regular day, he eats more than me, despite a rapidly-diminishing 40 pound weight advantage on my part.

So where do you go to feed a ravenous preteen in a hurry? You could do a lot worse than Los Jarritos. On that recent Saturday, we fed four people for less than $25, with a bit of leftovers.

Still a pretty big eater myself, despite weighing in around 160, I always go for one of the big plates. Big here doesn’t mean more than I can eat in a sitting, but probably more than I should. I’m pretty fond of the chicken mole ($7.99), which is listed as a special, but one of those special that seems to be listed on the counter week after week. Mole is a sauce made with unsweetened chocolate, deep and spicy.

I’ve had mole deep in Mexico, and the version here seems pretty authentic. So authentic in fact, that I think the caffeine in the chocolate kept me awake the last time I had it. So this time I opted for the garlic shrimp ($7.99). Like the mole, it’s served with the traditional rice, refried beans and flour tortillas on the side. It was also quite good, with huge hunks of garlic in it.

The much cheaper burritos ($4.39) are also pretty filling. The tostadas—basically little salads laid out on a corn tortilla are also a favorite.  

Los Jarritos also has a nice selection of some of the lesser known Mexican fare. This includes a variety of baked goods. Mexican pastries can be a little strange for those who aren’t familiar. They tend to be pretty dry by American standards, but also sweet and strongly flavored with cinnamon or sugar.

And then there is the item by which I judge most Mexican restaurants: horchata ($2 for a large). In fact, I judge most Mexican restaurants pretty harshly, because they don’t have it. Nothing is better after a hot day than this concoction of rice milk, sugar, cinnamon and other spices. It’s even pretty good after an unseasonably cold June day when I wasn’t even exercising.

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