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Simply Food: Plaza Morena, Mexican Restaurant & Bar

November 10, 2009
By Wendy Monro

I could eat Mexican food for every meal. I'd start with huevos rancheros for breakfast, maybe a light taco salad for lunch and finish off my day with shrimp fajitas.

This would be my idea of heaven. I love the combination of pinto beans and Spanish rice. I am in love with hot peppers, chili sauce and salsas.

Who doesn't find irresistible grilled vegetables in fajitas? Also, I can never get enough cilantro. I won't even get into all of the accompaniments: sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa verde, and enchilada sauce (okay, so I did).

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Submitted photo

This is the sign at Plaza Morena, Mexican Restaurant & Bar in Madelia.

Maybe it is because I grew up in Southern California and my close proximity to Mexico made tasty Mexican food so accessible.

Or, maybe Mexican food is just fantastic no matter where you grew up.

Sometimes you cannot explain love; you just have to let it happen. Imagine my delight when I discovered a Mexican restaurant in Madelia.

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Wendy's easy fresh salsa recipe

1 glass margarita for each person

3 medium tomatoes, diced

1 small onion

3 Tbsp. cilantro leaves

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Take a sip of your margarita. Pour all of these ingredients into a food processor and hit pulse three times (Claud swears by this three pulses rule). Serve with tortilla chips. Enjoy! For more Mexican recipes, please visit my blog at

Imagine my elation when I tasted the food and it was beyond delicious.

To make my meal more spectacular, the restaurant is spotlessly clean and the service is impeccable.

You may sit in comfy large white booths. You might have your water and pop delivered by an adorable little boy; but, don't let his stature fool you, he too has manners and class.

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I think he is being primed to take over his father's restaurant empire one day.

The restaurant is called Plaza Morena, Mexican Restaurant & Bar. Javier Reyes has worked here since it opened in late May 2009.

He sat with me and my family to shed a little light on the background of the restaurant.

Javier told me that the two partners, Jose Herrera and Jose Carlos Salazar, knew each other in Mexico.

They own several restaurants together. They brought many employees from their Owatonna restaurant to Plaza Morena.

So, there is no feeling of this being a new restaurant with a learning curve for the staff. They are seasoned employees and it shows in the service.

They serve delectable margaritas, which come blended or on the rocks and with a choice of strawberry, lime, raspberry, or mango.

Every Thursday, the margaritas are half price.

All of the Mexican dishes are made fresh on site.

Be sure to ask for the spicier salsa if you prefer it to the regular. I know I do.

The beans are made in the restaurant. The steaks are marinated fresh every day and freshly cooked to order.

They make their own desserts on site and I highly recommend the churro. You get three homemade churros with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. It is not the fried stick you are used to from the vendors at fairs.

This churro is incredible. They also make and serve mud pie and flan.

Plaza Morena offers a special every day. Here are a few examples: Monday is the Vallartas Especial (grilled shrimp, steak, chicken, peppers and onions over a bed of rice with lettuce, pico de gallo, cheese dip, guacamole and tortillas), Thursday is the Mexican Sampler (beef nachos, beef and chicken flautas, chicken quesadillas, served with fixings and, of course, the half priced margaritas), and Friday is the fajita super burrito (10" flour tortilla stuffed with rice, beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheese, topped with cheese sauce, served with rice and beans).

If you celebrate your birthday at Plaza Morena, you will be treated to a song and a complimentary fried ice cream with a candle for your wish.

For those of you who prefer American food, Plaza Morena is prepared to serve your needs as well.

They have an "American Way" portion of the menu which offers ribeye steak topped with grilled mushrooms, onions and spinach, served with red potatoes refried beans, sour cream and cheese.

They have a steak sandwich and a grilled cheese sandwich.

Come to Plaza Morena on a Tuesday and the special is a cheeseburger or hamburger and they will add bacon at no extra charge.

However, to my astonishment, I witnessed a miracle at Plaza Morena!

My son, Jack, who only eats cheeseburgers and hot dogs, ordered a cheese enchilada ate it all and loved it. This was a first.

So, who knows, once you get there and see the variety of dishes, you may opt for the Mexican over the American.

For a lighter meal, you are given the choice of six different salads including, seafood salad, chicken salad and a fajita taco salad.

The average entree at Plaza Morena will cost you about $10. If your experience is anything like mine, you will leave the restaurant happily full. They offer take out and catering services.

Furthermore, they serve "Fast Lunch" between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday Friday. During these times, you can get Mexican dishes, egg dishes, salads and sandwiches at incredible prices.

Plaza Morena's hours of operation: Sunday Tuesday: 11 a.m 9 p.m.

Wednesday and Thursday: 11 a.m. 10 p.m.

Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. 11 p.m.

For further information, call: 507-642-8624.



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