A longtime lover and supporter of local food and restaurants, our next chef to review is Sara Watson. Sara has spent many years in the industry wearing many hats. Along with her spouse, Eric Watson, she started Mosaic Foods Catering in 2003. They also started restaurant concepts, Mezzaluna and Rustica Eatery & Tavern, which they have since sold. She was most recently co-owner and Chef at Blackboard, a restaurant located in Vergas, MN. With the changing of the season and the desire to be closer to home, she has now transitioned to the position of a personal chef for a group of clients in the FM area.
“I worked in a variety of restaurants in Minneapolis in the 1990s while attending the University of Minnesota. After graduating with an Art History degree, I realized my passion for a career was actually in a kitchen. I took off to Colorado to attend culinary school, which is where I met Eric. We moved back to the area in 2003 to raise our family. My other passions include attending my four kids’ sports and music events and taking care of my family.”
Sticking to lakes country, Sara headed to Taqueria Chaves, located in Pelican Rapids, MN. She chose the Birria Tacos and Chicken Quesadilla dishes. She also asked the owner, Adrian Chavez, what his favorite dish or most popular dish was. He presented her with the Shrimp & Chicken dish.
Every plate was out of this world full of flavor. The Chicken Quesadilla is a common order for most Mexican establishments around here, which is why I thought I’d give a basic menu item a try. It was plum full of delicious, perfectly seasoned chicken, peppers and onions—not too cheesy, just perfect— and served with a big helping of beans and rice that are house-made, not from a package. Delicious. The second was the Birria Tacos which have recently become a craze everywhere. Again, house slow-roasted beef, braised in a chile-infused broth. Not too spicy. These were mouthwatering and the side of dipping sauce makes me feel like Mexican cuisine’s answer to a French Dip Sandwich. The owner picked the Shrimp & Chicken for us to try. I honestly probably wouldn’t have picked it and now I think I’m sold! The plate was beautiful. An over-the-top generous helping of sauteed jumbo shrimp, chicken mixed with sweet peppers and onions. A little perk at Taqueria Chavez is the wonderfully spicy grilled Serrano pepper that comes on the side. Be careful, it packs heat. All of the dishes come with traditional fresh cilantro, onions and pickled radish. Adrian also makes his own hot sauces, red and green. Ask for both and mix it up a little. Next time you find yourself in Pelican Rapids check this place out. It is really the most authentic Mexican food in a 100-mile radius, in my opinion.