Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Quesadilla Paradise

The best tacos Bill and I have ever had are at a place called Margarita Paradise (they have pretty good margaritas, too). Affectionately known as the MP, they have a couple traditional locations and a counter inside the Milwaukee Public Market. Bill can easily inhale six or more tacos in a sitting because they're just that good.

What I love about the MP is the mix-and-match menu. You choose your meat, choose your tortilla, and choose your "style." The style options include anything from gringo (lettuce, tomato, cheese) to raza (onion, cilantro, lime). We can't get enough of the raza ... that onion, cilantro, lime combo is delicious on everything! So when I looked at my leftover steak from last night's dinner today, guess what I thought would be the perfect accompaniment?

Instead of doing tacos, however, I thought quesadillas sounded like a good idea! After all, I just made steak tacos a couple weeks ago, and I felt like something different. So steak quesadillas raza style it was! Bill wasn't home (funny, he missed my last Mexican dish, too), so keep in mind that the recipe below serves just one. (BTW, I googled "raza" like crazy and couldn't come up with the origin of the word or the "style." But I did learn that "la raza" means "the race" in Spanish.)

Steak Quesadillas Raza Style
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Pinch salt
1/2 cup Jack cheese, shredded
3 corn tortillas
2 oz. cooked steak, sliced thin

In a small bowl, combine onions and cilantro. Squeeze lime juice into over mixture and spinkle with salt. Toss to combine and set aside.

Heat a grill pan over medium heat. Spray one tortilla with cooking spray and place greased side down in pan. Sprinkle the entire tortilla with a little cheese, then top half of the tortilla with some of the steak. As cheese begins to melt, use a spatula to fold the tortilla in half.

At this point, you want to press the quesadilla to completely toast the tortilla (giving you that yummy, crispy exterior, and gooey, cheesy interior). My grill pan came with a press that you can place directly on top of the food you're grilling, but you can use another heavy pan or just press with your spatula. Press for about 1 minute per side, or until cheese is nice and melty and tortilla is nice and crispy. Repeat process with remaining two tortillas. Serve with onion-cilantro "raza" mixture.

It's such a shame that Bill misses out on some of my best meals. These quesadillas were probably just as good as those tacos with mango salsa. They toasted so perfectly in the grill pan that I ended up with deliciously crispy cheese seeping out of the edges of the tortillas. Yum!


  1. The melted, toasted cheese is doing me in! Too bad you had to dine alone, and that Bill missed this. His loss, big time :p

  2. This looks great! I agree the tacos at Margarita Paradise are great. That place is a little gem that's often overlooked in the market!

  3. Stephen, now you've got me craving Margarita Paradise! Wish I lived closer to downtown so I could pop in whenever the mood hit. In a pinch, we often go to Jose's Blue Sombrero out here off of Barker in Brookfield. Not the same, but still surprisingly good.