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Whole Enchilada Deserves a New Times Honorable Mention

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It's almost unfair to say that the Whole Enchilada is the second-best burrito joint around, because in most towns, the place would be far above competitors. But just down the road is Zona Fresca, which has won five awards in our Best Of Broward-Palm Beach edition over the years, including Best Mexican Restaurant this year.

Whole Enchilada? Nada.

We passed them over again this year, but Whole Enchilada is one of those places that, with a couple of fixes, could land in our Best Of issue next year. As John Linn pointed out in this blog post, the ingredients sometimes lack enough seasoning, and the salsa bar just doesn't compare to the burrito purveyor just a few blocks away. Fix those two things, TWE, and you'll be sure to be in next year's Best Of issue.

Even if they don't make those fine adjustments to an already great menu, one thing the Whole Enchilada beats anybody on is the Tex-Mex salad. They've got two of them on the menu, and both are better than ensaladas served at any other burrito joint.

The best of the two is the tostada salad ($7.49), pictured above, which is

served in the customary tortilla shell. But this deep-fried salad bowl

is simply perfect -- so crispy it crunches apart with little force and

as flaky as pastry.

The ingredients also sing, especially the huge mound of guacamole and seasoned rice found deep down near the beans.

Yeah, no doubt the tostada salad isn't exactly eating healthy. But

across the table here, my wife had the chili-chicken salad ($6.99).

It's

sprinkled with tortilla strips and cotija cheese, that almost feta-like

Mexican cheese that just goes perfect in a salad. The chili-lime

dressing here also towers over the similar ensalada at Zona Fresca.

As Linn wrote, the chicken is a bit oversold with that chili label, because it's not very spiced. But it's still perfectly cooked, jucy and tender and not at all like the rubbery stuff you get at the chain burrito joints.

The downside to the chili-chicken salad, of course, is the lack of a deep-fried bowl, which, by the end, will look like it was attacked by el chucacabra.


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