Thursday, August 16, 2012


1020 Howard Street
Open Tues - Sat, lunch from 11:30am and dinner from 4pm
$1.99 Margs on Tues and Thurs, Happy Hour 4-6 Fri and Sat
Trini's on Urbanspoon

Enchilada de Jocoque (single lunch serving, $6.50):
Chicken in a sour cream sauce with monterey jack cheese,
and a side of "refritos" and rice.

Whether or not you choose to like Trini's shouldn't depend on its mainstream location, or the claim by fans that it's "pretty authentic." I would bus to the end of the Earth (West O) for Trini's, if I happened to be in the mood for supremely honk-ified Mexican-ish cuisine. There's nothing unique about this place, except maybe for the fact that it shares a wall with one of the most expensive restaurants in town. Despite this -- can I just sound like an upper middle class homemaker for a moment? -- the bathrooms, located a hallway and some stairs outside of the restaurant, were atrocious. On the other hand, if you're wandering around the Old Market and want to do something illegal, this is the bathroom for you.

One blackened tilapia fish taco in a deep-fried "puffy" taco shell ($6.95):
In case you're wondering, yes, I felt puffy afterwards.

The Spread

There was something nostalgic about the food in that this is the Mexican I ate as a child. I couldn't quite tell if the chips were made in-house, or whether the mild cilantro salsa was doctored up from out of a jar, but who cares. On the fish taco, the "house chipotle sauce" seeped into the "puffy" taco shell nicely, but didn't offer much of a chipotle flavor. Luckily, the "specially prepared greens" kept things light (kidding). I was impressed by the simple black beans and white rice, which they managed to turn into a rich, buttery treat. Ditto for the Enchilada de Jocoque and the accompanying refried beans. I imagined Julia Child's ghost in the kitchen, whispering, "If you're afraid of butter, use creeeeeeeeeam."

Trini's is great for indulging on standard Midwestmex, especially if you're looking for a nice, secluded restroom where TP isn't necessary.

Soft shell beef taco ($3.35):
Get your Taco Bell without all the late night drive thru hullabaloo.
(I'm looking at you, 38th and Dodge.)

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