Dining & Drink

A Hidden Delight

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(Staff Photo: Richard Davis) Columbiamex, 2155 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fayetteville, is a combined grocery store and restaurant.

Columbiamex: Cafe, Grocery Store, Carniceria

2155 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Fayetteville
479-527-9577

By Rachel Birdsell

TFW Contributing Writer

Preamble Ramble

A loyal and most awesome Eat It reader recommended the restaurant this week, which happened to be one I’d never heard of before. Columbiamex is on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in between the unemployment office and a beauty school. Probably not a location you’d think of to look for a place to eat. In fact, it sounds a lot where you’d expect Hell to be located. Columbiamex is a grocery store with a café in the back of it and also has an on-site butcher. It’s unique.

Food For Thought

It took awhile for me to decide what to try, but I finally chose the fish tacos, which came with a side of Spanish rice. After I picked up my tacos, I stopped at the condiment table where I had my choice of the following: four different sauces, jalepenos, grilled onions, raw onions, grated cheese, fresh cilantro and lime wedges.
I must give the sauces their due, because they’re worth it:
Salsa verde: This one was my favorite and was just the right amount of heat for me.
Creamy salsa verde: I’m not sure what made this creamy, but it was a lot tarter than the other green sauce and had no heat at all.
Pico de gallo: It was most definitely made fresh and was also most definitely darn tasty.
Super Hot Molten Lava Hot Sauce That’s Hotter than El Diablo’s Really Hot Breath: I’m pretty sure that’s not the actual name of the sauce, but it should be. The stuff was so hot that it made me say words I’m certain my editor would delete (Editor’s Note: Nope, I wouldn’t, potty mouth) should I actually share them with you. It’s really, really good sauce, though, and if you like eating glowing embers, you’ll love it!
Now back to the fish tacos. They were tilapia filets that had been coated with magic dust, fried until crispy, then placed delicately between two corn tortillas (which I’m pretty sure were handmade) and topped with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. With a healthy spoonful of the salsa verde, a sprinkling of cilantro and a squeeze or two of lime, they were perfect.
Since I don’t like Spanish rice, I only took one bite of it. It tasted just like Spanish rice.

The Sporkcast

(1-5 sporks)

Atmosphere: 3 aluminum sporks with a television remote on the handle
The atmosphere is exactly what you’d expect from a café that’s in the back of a grocery store that’s in a strip mall between a government agency and a beauty school.
Food: 4.8 hand-forged iron sporks.
Columbiamex serves up the most authentic Mexican food I’ve had in the area. It’s not smothered in cheese as most Americanized Mexican food is. It’s fresh, clean and filling without being heavy. If you’re so inclined and want to fully experience authentic Mexican food, you can have a beef’s tongue or tripe (beef intestine) taco. Just so you know, I will never be so inclined.
Staff: 3.75 Spanish speaking sporks (I’ll bet you didn’t know that sporks could talk, did you?)
The staff didn’t speak much English but were very friendly and seemed to be pretty happy people.
Dollars spent: My tally was around $10 for my tacos and a bottle of Mexican cola (made with real sugar cane and in a glass bottle). At the low end of the price range, you can get a taco for a buck and at the opposite end, the seafood dishes will set you back $8.50.
Chance of Returning: With fantastic food at great prices, there will be many happy returns.
A hugely huge thank you to the reader who let me know about Columbiamex.  I will forever be
grateful for her suggestion of such a great place to eat. Happy Holidays to all of you. May you be surrounded by love, good food and an abundance of laughter.
If you know of a great eating place, drop me a line at rabirdsell@gmail.com. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.

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