Local Flavor Tuesday | Confessions of a Stay-At-Home Mom

June 30, 2009

Local Flavor Tuesday

As a child, I had little variety in the meals served to me. We were pretty mundane: chicken, meatloaf, spaghetti and roasts. It was not until High School that I tried Chinese Food for the first time, when one of my friends brought some with her while we studied for our dreaded mid-term exams. Not long after, I was introduced to the Taco: a hard corn shell filled with spicy ground beef, tomatoes, lettuce and cheese. How had I survived this long in life without trying these foods??

I can only plead ignorance. And that my parents were not terribly adventurous when it came to food. Or anything else.

While it took some getting used to, I slowly warmed up to these foreign dishes. I even eventually chose them of my own volition, craving their international flare. I went on to marry a man who loved Food. Period. He grew up having tried so many different things. I felt so...sheltered.

We have come to love the Epicurean journey, and he is constantly challenging me to try new things. As my hubby and I venture forth to conquer new nations of cuisine, we still have our tested, tried and true home bases of Good Food. These places are familiar, comforting, and have stood the test of time and taste.

These places are WORTH checking out. They have the Seal of Approval.

Today I share with you a local favorite that, hands down, has obliterated the competition in Local Mexican Fare.

907 High Street, West Chester, PA

Any passerby could probably guess that the structure housing this Mexican Delight was previously a Pizza Hut. My husband has fond high school memories of going to said Pizza Hut on half days to take advantage of their Lunch Buffet. When it closed, we were all a little heartbroken. Had we known that La Tolteca would be the phoenix resurrecting the run-down pizzeria, our tears would have quickly been overcome with joy.

We did not yet know our culinary lives were only about to BEGIN.

Step in the front door, and you are taken to a world that could not possibly be West Chester. The vibrant yellow walls and festive music invite me to believe that, even if for just one meal, I am on vacation. Seated in my booth (by a wonderfully friendly server), I can almost feel a salty breeze touching my face. I close my eyes momentarily, engaging the vision of a white sandy beach stretching out before me to an impossibly blue ocean. Tender guitar chords serenade my ears, and a margarita is weighing down my right hand.

Reality sets in as I am asked for my order. Taking cue from my active imagination, I order a margarita. La Tolteca is BYOB, so we often pick up a bottle of Tequila on the way. For roughly $2, you can purchase a glass filled with margarita mix to pair with your BYOT (Bring Your Own Tequila). After the order is placed, patrons are welcomed by a basket of warm tortilla chips and a homemade salsa that is to die for. Seriously. To die for. Often, I find myself craving La Tolteca's chips and salsa. I'm not sure what they put into that salsa, but it is scandalous.

And it's free.

Yep, it's a gift from La Tolteca to tide you over until your meal arrives. So amazing.

Now, it's obvious that my husband and I love the food at La Tolteca. But we didn't want to ignorantly pledge our allegiance until we put other local spots to the test. So, in order to have an unbiased opinion, we spent time trying out other local Mexican establishments. To make it a fair competition, we ordered the same meal at each place. My litmus test: Chicken Tacos. My husband's litmus test: Enchiladas.

While some came close, La Tolteca took them at the end. In the Chicken Tacos division, they edged out the competition in 2 ways: cheese and juiciness. Many of the other local eateries use shredded cheddar cheese atop their Chicken Tacos. This is sacrilegious. In a genuinely Mexican throw back, La Tolteca uses only Queso Fresco. And the juiciness of their tacos is impossible to describe: somehow dripping with flavor without making the taco shell soggy.


The only logical explanation: magic.

Or authentic Mexican goodness.

Lastly, the best thing about La Tolteca is the price. We always end our meal with overly full tummies and being pleasantly surprised at the total bill. You can't beat great food at a good price. My husband and I can easily eat dinner at LT for under $25. If we forgo the 'rita's, our bill easily comes in under $20.


I highly recommend coming to try out not only the cuisine at La Tolteca, but the atmosphere as well. You won't be disappointed!

Have you dined at La Tolteca? Leave a comment or email me with your experience!


  1. I haven't yet, but after the recommendation I plan to try it out. Tex-Mex is the favorite food of my family hands-down. Too bad my husband doesn't care for it.

  2. My husband and I have eaten there and we loved it! I grew up really close to there and totally remember going to Pizza Hut!

    What is your take on Senora's Gay Street?

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