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Special family owned Mexican restaurant in Mesa, AZ in a sea of chains: Matta's

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I was recently in a part of Mesa, AZ that's chock-a-block full of chain restaurants. I'm of the belief that if I want everything to taste just like it does at home . . . I'd stay at home. You might live in a part of the world that doesn't have lots of chain restaurants, for reasons of zoning, tight economic development and planning, etc. You might not know a restaurant is part of a behemoth chain! That's why it's good to ask your hotel concierge what are the indie restaurants in the area. I did and got fantastic results.

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That's why I want to point out a very special, family-owned Mexican restaurant that's been making people happy since 1953: Matta's. I was recently sharing a snack there with my friend and fantastic colleague, (Chicago) World Travel Examiner, Carol Stigger. As I sometimes joke to her, Carol once bought me a gelato in Italy and I was her friend forevermore!

Matta's makes everything from scratch and considers themselves "West Texas-style Mexican" cuisine. Our very sweet server kept us stocked with complimentary tortilla chips, hot sauces and a chunky pico de gallo: bright with fresh cilantro, scallions, chopped good red tomatoes. Hey, we didn't get them just because we're so great -- you'll get them too!

I have a particular weakness for good, homemade soups. They have two! Albondiga soup sounded good, with meatballs, broth and veggies, but it's like something I make at home on a regular basis. Again, I was traveling, so I wanted something different. Spanish soup has potatoes, onions, tomatoes and roasted green chile in a seasoned veggie broth. It was hearty, flavorful, a huge portion and packed with vegetables.

Carol and I shared some Relleno Bites: little lightly breaded chile rellenos, chopped into bite sizes. Chile rellenos tend to go in one of two directions: awesome or awful. These were most certainly awesome: fresh, crisp fried (and drained), with a blend of cheese and meat -- which was unfamiliar to me -- and a light egg batter. Nothing goopy or greasy about it. Perfect food to share!

If you like reading my foodie adventures, please click on the "subscribe" button above. You'll get future articles in your inbox for FREE! Of course, I have over 1,900 articles here, so poke around and "find something tasty™"!

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