December 1, 2018

"Outside The Loop" - In Search of Retro Tex-Mex - Monterey House - Beaumont

I have been on a mission. A mission to discover / re-discover classic 60's era Tex-Mex. That is, the kind of Tex-Mex that my family and I enjoyed at least twice a week when I was growing up. I knew that there had to be restaurants around the Houston area that have not changed their recipes in the past 40-50 years. And, I have come across some wonderful places in my search. And I have come across some clunkers that I decline to report on. 

One of the best (and a thanks and tip of the hat to friend, Bob Frasier) is the fabulous Monterey House in Beaumont, Texas.  Monterey House was a very successful chain out of Houston/Pasadena when I was growing up and continues as the Little Monterey's restaurants that one sees in this area. But this particular location bought the original recipes when the Houston commissary closed down in the 60's and now makes that classic Tex-Mex in-house. And they do a darn fine job of it. 

Our waitress, Sandra, and the owner, Bob made us feel so welcome; like regulars. I am already looking forward to going back.

A time warp. I was transported back 50 years. Some of the original chairs remain, as do the booths and tables. Many of the lighting fixtures are original. 

The queso is delicious. It is full of green chiles and is thinner (in a good way) than the cheeses that show up for the enchiladas. There was only one recipe that seemed to vary from what I remember. I remember the original ground beef filling for the Monterey House tacos to have a bit of gravy mixed in with the ground beef.

Angela and I just had to order the biggest combo plate each (doggie bagging as needed). 

It was a wonderful experience.

1 comment:

  1. Thank Heaven, you found a true Monterey House. I loved this restaurant and missed it when we left the Houston area. Was later in grief when I found out that the company closed. Was so sad, until this day when I got frustrated and wishing again that the restaurant was still around and now you report it is. Whee! No if I can get some idea on what kind of tortillas they use for enchiladas, then maybe I can create my own Enchilada dinner that I remember so well...too well because no Tex/Mex restaurant comes close to what the Monterey House produced, at least not in central Florida. I will be contacting the restaurant owner and hopefully he will oblige me with the recipe or resource in which I can place an order for a batch of them. They made all the difference in producing a regal enchilada dinner for me.