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Restaurant Reviews (by Kim Gentes)

Over the years I have eaten at a lot of different resaurants.  Many are local to the Phoenix area, since I have lived there for 21 years.  Some are in various cities that I have visited or travelled to with work.

Pueblo Real Restaurant (Franklin, Tennessee)

Finding great food is always a task. But finding great food that is not native to the area is even harder. The last 22 years my family and I have lived in Arizona. Moving to Tennessee just 6 months ago, we didn't realize that we would essentially be leaving a cultural and culinary oasis for great Mexican food.  Hundreds of mom & pop Taco stands and grills that ranged from authentic to American neo-Sonoran dishes local to the southwest are left back in the Valley of the Sun.

In our search for strong Mexican food establishments here in the Nashville area, we tried the standards such as Pancho's and other local chains. Not much luck there. We also tried some off-the-path locations like Taco Lopez in Franklin, and La Hacienda in Nashville (on Nolensville Pike) and others. Taco Lopez is a very authentic small town eatery, but not very clean or comfortable to eat at. La Hacienda is good, large room atmosphere and relatively good food. Neither were stellar, but decent. 

One distinct change from the Sonoran southwest is that Mexican food here in the South relies much more on white, cheeze sauces than red /pepper sauces. Folks from the Southwest will find this odd, as the food will seem drier with less tomato and pepper laden dishes.

That said, this last week I have done twice with my sons to a restaurant in Franklin called "Pueblo Real".  We have finally found a taste of exceptional Mexican food!  

It starts off with two hits in our family- great chips and salsa and large sized cups of well-prepared Horchata. The salsa is the strong tomato ingredient on the menu, and it is done very well. Thin, but with a good amount of ingredients of dipping. The chips were warm on arrival, plentiful, and refilled regularly.  The horchata is huge and overall quite nice (it could use a touch more cinnamon in my mind, but it was still very smooth as is).

My son Jared enjoyed the Carne Asada plate and ate up every bite. I had a Pollo Verde dish which was exception in its use of various silantro and other green spice/peppers. The absolutely fresh avocado and nice white cheeze melted across the chicken braise was perfect. Included where 3 tortillas that were good and fresh. This all came with rice and beans as well, both of which were done nicely. My dish was 8.75 and worth every penny. Jordan, my oldest son, enjoyed the Chori Pollo and allowed me to taste it as well. Amazing! Of the five dishes I have sampled from this restaurant, it was easily the best. If you like pefect spicing, have a penchant for onions and enjoy chicken- this dish is a must try!

Cody, our youngest son, had a 3 item combination for just 6.75 - a burrito, taco and tamale. They were not the tiny sized editions you'd expect for a small priced combo special. They were large, full and tasty. I tried the ground beef and seasoning he had left from the burrito and it was very good.

If you have been trying to a good Mexican food experience in the Nashville area, I encourage you to try out Pueblo Real.  It is a step up from the decor of the mom & pop store/eateries, and the food is top notch. Finally, the service was excellent! Both times I was there, the waiters were fast, attentive and warm to us. Two of my sons are learning Spanish and the waiters were encouraging and patient to accommodate them trying to order in their learning.

Finally, when it was time to leave, I asked for a box. By the time I loaded up all the food that was left over from my meal (and put it into a box), it looked like I had ordered a take-out meal! They even threw in 2 orders of tortillas to complete the take-home portions we had yet to eat! Beautiful!

The best Mexican food place I have found yet in Tennessee!

Pueblo Real Restaurant
1340 West Main Street
Franklin, TN 37064
Ph: (615) 794-3232

Good eating!

Kim Gentes

Mi Bandeja Paisa Restaurant (Orlando, Florida)

My son, Jordan, and I went to this restaurant really only by chance. We found it in a local mall near where our convention was. It was a great experience. The meals we chose were attempts by us novices to taste some authentic Colombian dishes. I had the meal which is the namesake of the restaurant, called Bandeja Paisa. It was very good.

Bandeja Paisa had the following each cooked and placed on a wooden tray bedded with banana leaves

  • Skirt steak, thin slices and tender
  • Corn cake/biscuit
  • Rice 
  • One over easy egg
  • Pork belly sausage
  • Cooked plantains
  • Thick sliced pork back bacon
  • Half sliced avacado
  • Bowl of beans (soup)

I know this dish sounds like strange collection of breakfast / dinner foods, but it really was delightful. Everything was cooked hot but not overcooked. The sweet plantains made a nice contrast to the salty steak. The rice was perfectly done and salted. 

Others had some talapia (dish) and a dish with a type of steak strips in a sautee of vegetables and some kind of french fries.

The staff was great, giving lots of tips and being kind with every request.

Desert was the coupe de grace-- a marvelous flan dish was a great combination of caramel and gelatin.

But, even after this great dinner, the absolute best, most amazing thing I had was the strawberries and creme desert. Homemade creme, fresh cut strawberries and served in large portions with a cinnamon stick. The creme was not too sweet to make you feel overloaded.  It was perfect balance of sweet opulance. If you are in Orland, Florida and can make it to this side of town, you have to try the strawberries and creme.

You won't be disappointed. Try this place!


Mi Bandeja Paisa
Fine Colombian Cuisine 
(407) 704-7888‎

12701 S John Young Pkwy
Orlando, FL 32837

Good eating!

Kim Gentes


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