By Doug Deal
Macon Community News
Living in Macon and Middle Georgia, there are many options for Mexican food that run the gamut of both quality and variety. At our paper, we do not obsess over “authenticity” since that is for the native chefs of the regions represented to debate. We just appreciate good food, regardless of its pedigree.
Recently La Bella Morelia moved its restaurant from the corner of Poplar and MLK to Mulberry Street. We thought it would be a great time to stop by and see if the excellent quality moved with them. We were not disappointed.
I love their enchiladas with both the green and the red sauce and have written about them before, but I wanted to try something different. Luckily, the move brought some new items to their menu, and the one I chose was “Camarones a la Diabla” for $11.99. The dish, literally devilled shrimp, is sauteed shrimp in diabla sauce with rice or beans and a small salad. When ordering, you will be warned about how hot it is, probably twice. This is for your protection because it is one of the spiciest dishes that I have ever had in a restaurant.
Still, the strong flavor of the seasonings and spices cut through the heat. Although I was swimming in sweat from my own forehead and my brain was telling me that I was on fire, I could not put my fork down because it was that delicious. If you like hot food, this is an exceptional dish, but remember to pace yourself or ask for some sour cream. I cannot wait to get it again.
My wife, Lauren, had the taquitos fritos, literally fried, rolled tacos for $9.99. These are also a new menu item. Her short description of them was “really awesome.”
The taquitos fritos are meat cigars made from rolled corn tortillas with your choice of filling. Lauren chose steak. This is served with the usual companions of lettuce, sour cream, pico, and avocado.
Taquitos or flautas (usually the flour tortilla version of taquitos, and a fun word to say) have been some of my favorite dishes for years, and La Bella Morelia does them superbly. Their taquitos fritos were crunchy on the outside but tender and juicy on the inside. They were not spicy and could be an excellent option for someone who doesn’t want heat in their entree.
Our daughter, Isobel, is not very adventurous when it comes to food, so she just got a plain hotdog. Although that is not something most people would get from a Mexican restaurant, I wholeheartedly recommend the “Mexican hot dog,” which comes with mayonnaise, ketchup, pico, and jalapenos. It will change your perspective on what a hotdog can be. All for only $2.99.
Our son, who is a little more accommodating to new experiences not only loved the steak tacos, he even tried some of the spicy red sauce and loved it. Although he added too much, he loved it so much he continued to eat it until only a bite or two remained. He quickly learned how soothing sour cream could be to a scorched tongue.
The menu is loaded with other traditional Mexican favorites, such as tacos with your choice of steak, sausage (chorizo), chicken, pork and cactus. There are also sandwiches (tortas), tamales, and soups as well as many other entrees. Check their Facebook page at “facebook.com/labellamorelia10.”
Overall, the experience was excellent, and the service was friendly and prompt. The prices are reasonable for the quality of the experience and food, but be warned that there is no fountain drink dispenser as of our visit. That did not seem to bother most people, as they have canned and bottled drinks, many with the Mexican real sugar versions, which many argue taste much better.
For dessert, two of my favorites are on the menu in the form of flan and tres leches cake, as well as churros, sopapilla, and ice cream.
La Bella Morelia is located at 524 Mulberry Street in downtown Macon. The phone number is (478) 703-5025. The atmosphere is casual, and plenty of table seating is available.