Street Food


Ah, probably one of my favorite places to dine is at a taco truck. Depending where you are in the country, or even in Mexico, you may find traditional delicacies at an actual taco truck, a taco bus, a taco stand, a taco cart, etc.

Essentially, there really are no rules as to what you have to serve good food out of. It’s all about the pleasing the palate, whether the location pleases the eye or not. I lovingly refer to these types of usually hole-in-the-wall places as street food.

Street food holds a special place in my heart, as well as many of my closet friends and family. It’s actually pretty amazing the fond memories that can develop over street food.

Interestingly enough, the street food craze has truly swept across the United States. You will find food trucks and food stands all over many American cities.

Food trucks are practically a developing culture now, as are the people that frequent those places. You can find all types of food as well, from Mexican (or more commonly Tex-Mex), to Chinese, to grits and southern cooking, to cupcakes, to lobster, and everything in between.

The food trucks and stands are becoming social media icons in and of themselves. I would dare say that a good social media presence is almost required to be in this industry.

Like artists or street performers, this businesses have to have a “pull” or something that makes them special.

Some have crazily decorated trucks, while other may have signature menus items with crazy names or ingredients.

I have even seen some have their very own mascots. Talk about some cool marketing!

And with this growing craze, you are seeing people from many different industries coming and trying out the street food business angle.

Corporate attorneys? Yep.

Former professional contractors with successful window installation companies? Sure.

How about high school teachers and college professors? Definitely.

Nurses and other healthcare professionals? Absolutely.

Why is that? Well, several reasons. But I will reserve that post for another day.

For now, just go out and support your local street food scene. Don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment a little.

Maybe even consider a date night at a local food truck event. You may be pleasantly surprised at some of these guys excellent quality food!


Feliz año nuevo!


Feliz año nuevo everyone!

That’s Happy New Year for you that may not be so Spanish inclined!

I don’t know about you, but I am super excited about 2016. I believe that this year will bring about so many amazing things for my life and lives of my family.

I’m thankful for last year, despite some occasional difficulties and hardships. But I look upon these with pride because of all of the growth I had from these experiences.

I know that I grew so much over the last twelve months. Even deciding to launch a blog and put some of my ideas and thoughts out onto the open web.

But this new year? WOW.

That’s really all I know to say. Because I KNOW that this will be an incredible year.

So, what are my priorities in the new year? I’ll briefly share.

Family: I want to make this a year that I am able to spend more quality time with my family. I was very busy this past year with projects that sometimes took me away from my family, and I want this to be a year of great memories and experiences.

Health: Yes, the same old saying. I want to improve my health this year. But, truth be told, I am very active. I just want to get back to my old regimen before my projects disrupted my mojo!

Finances: This year will definitely be an improvement in my financial well-being (and size of my bank account!). I will be taking the leap this year with some business projects that are very exciting.

Spiritual: I want to rekindle my relationship with the Man upstairs. Not that I have completely lost touch, just that my priorities weren’t always where they should be this past year. Read again: things that took me away from where I should be spending more time.

So there you have it! A little brief plan for this year.

I’m excited about 2016. Are you?!

The Mexican Bloody Maria!


Today’s topic: the Michalada. A favorite among us who love a drink with some spice!

So what the heck is this drink? I’m glad you asked.

This drink is basically a concoction of beer, lime, usually tomato juice, and various spices. Interesting, right?

Some say (and I don’t mean me when I say this) that a Michalada is an excellent hangover remedy. Some of my closest friends actually swear by it.

Me? No thanks. I prefer not to play with the “hair of the dog that bit me”.

Now back to where we were.

These drinks can come in a multitude of varieties. Just think…everything from tomato juice, lime, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, Maggi seasoning, and so on and so forth.

See what I mean?

I have often wondered who in the world managed to come up with this. My personal thoughts is that maybe one of my ancestors had worked in the fields all day, came home to drink his cerveza and maybe spilled some hot sauce in his beer while spicing up his dinner.

Ok, maybe not. What probably actually happened is the fella was probably already a little tipsy and thought what the heck as he made a man man mixture of whatever he could find stuffed in his cabinets.

And what do you know? It actually turned out ok!

Where were we? Ah, the recipe. Ok.

So this is just ONE variation. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of recipes for the Michalada.

So, you need (at minimum):

One beer (Mexican of course, and I recommend Dos Equis or perhaps a Corona depending on your taste)

Either a lime or lime juice

Course salt (for the rim)

Clamato juice (this is a must for the Mexican variety!)

And add any “dash” of hot sauce, Worcestershire, soy sauce, black pepper, etc.

Directions? Easy.

Take a cold mug and wet the lip, then dip it in a small amount of salt (salting the rim). Pour in your beer, leaving some space for additional ingredients. Pour in the clamato juice to change the color of the beer (or to your flavoring). Give a shot of lime juice into the mug. Then simply add in any dash of the before mentioned ingredients.

It’s simple! And I encourage you to be adventurous with this Mexican cocktail.

Experiment! There really is no one right or wrong way to do it. It is all in how you like the flavor and the amount of spice you like. Don’t be shy to try several ingredients!

Or if you are too lazy, I’m sure you can Google a few easy hundred recipes to try.

I hope you enjoy your new drink. Salute!

It’s all about the hardwood, chico.



Here is a little secret I want to share with you.

You cannot impress very many people unless you have some serious wood. Period.

And I don’t mean just any kind of serious wood. I mean that stuff that is so big and so sexy you can spot it when you walk in the front door, amigo.

You know what I am saying? Of course you don’t. You are thinking, “Great, Jose has got into the tequila bottle again”.

Wrong! I am making a point. And I bet I have your attention, right?!

Good. I planned it that way!

I’m not being dirty here. I am talking about the one thing that every good Mexican grill should have. A huge bar made of the most beautiful wood that a man (or woman, more important in my opinion!) has ever laid their eyes on.

It should be the very showpiece of the restaurant (coupled with artistic interior paint by the best painters you can afford!).

Some restaurants have the circular style bars. I’m sure you have seen these around.

I like this bar style in that the bartender is in the center and able to work in a circular pattern and that it allows for some increased interaction among the patrons as they can often see to the other side of the bar.

The downside to this style though is that if you only have one bartender working, they can quickly become overloaded and may miss several requests, especially from those on the other side of the bar that are not as easily seen. And I certainly don’t want my Corona and Cuervo chugging compadres to be left with an empty glass that is not of their choosing!

Other bar designs do exist as well. You may see some that jut out from a wall, creating a three sided bar. This style is perhaps my favorites as long as the sides do not extend too far into the restaurant as it can take up valuable table room and can also create a similar situation to the above style circular bar – the bartender can miss orders and requests from patrons.

Either way, with whatever style you prefer, I cannot stress to you enough that it should be a wooden style bar. I personally prefer one with lots of grain and of a darker style, with a smooth finish and almost glasslike appearance.

Those other materials – metals, marble, composite, etc. – simply do not create the warmth and charming character that a bar should have. Frankly, I would almost prefer no bar at all to a clunky, ugly, cold piece of furniture in which you choose to slide drinks down!

So in closing, the take home is make sure you have a nice bar in your restaurant. Keep the design clean and functional so that you can take the best care of your patrons and not overwhelm your bar staff.

And lastly, avoid garbage materials that do not invite your customers back.

Keep it wooded – and impressively big, warm, and clean. Now those are words to live by!

Hasta luego!


Mas TVs or no mas TVs? Really?!


For some unknown reason, there has always been this back and forth and back and forth about whether restaurant should have televisions inside of them.

Some say, “No way, Jose. There is no way I am letting lined walls of TVs ruin my beautiful restaurant”. And who could blame them? It would ruin the $3,000 dollar artwork they had hand painted on the walls from found memories of there hometowns back in Mexico…right?

Mexican restaurant no tvs

Or maybe on the other side of the argument, if you are going to have the TVs, how many do you have? How many is the perfect number? Do we put them throughout the restaurant on the walls? Just in the booths? Just over the bar?

I say you are thinking too much homie!

For the most part, TVs are perfect for business. Why, you may ask?

I’m glad you asked.

TVs have become a mainstay for most culture, especially in the United States. If there isn’t at least a couple of flat screens somewhere in a restaurant, people feel as if they are being robbed.

But, here is a little something. A tidbit I discovered years ago from a very successful owner of several bars and restaurants.

TVs have a very specific role. What is it?

They provide a diversion for the customer.

Sports bar with tvs

Boom! Ok, so maybe it isn’t the bombshell you had hoped for, but you are learning a very serious lesson here today with Jose.

A flat screen provides an opportunity for the customer to forget, or at least be momentarily distracted from the operations of the restaurant. Because c’mon, things don’t ALWAYS run as smoothly as we may like.

The waiter/waitress gets swamped with orders or doesn’t communicate well with the hostess.

The order takes forever to get to the kitchen. Or, the order gets lost in the tangled web 10, 20, 40 other orders also being placed.

Maybe the cook staff are too slow for the day. Perhaps they started on the Cuervo on their lunch break and now they are seeing double (hey, it happens ok?).

This is when the owner should be thanking the Man upstairs for the decision to add those sexy flat screens to the walls.

Now, there is also a second argument for those big 40+ inchers…the draw from the sporting crowd.

Men, and also many women, love sports. And just about the only thing better than watching the event live, is getting to sit in your favorite restaurant, sip on your favorite cold snack, and enjoy yourself while staring at that big beautiful HD eye catcher.

It’s true. And it doesn’t even really matter the event. Most of us guys will make an excuse to go to see anything.

MMA cage match? Yep.

Football? Of course.

Boxing? You bet your left hook.

Basketball? We are in.

Baseball? Sure, why not.

Soccer? Ay, now we are talking!

There is just something about it. It’s something in the atmosphere. Almost palpable, really. (By the way, palpable means you can feel it…I’ll try to keep the big words to a minimum hehe.)

Ok, so there you have it. The argument for (my choice) and against (yeah, I really didn’t even try to present a good case there) for why we should maintain the HD domination in the restaurants.

And if it really hurts your feelings, we can turn the channel to Telemundo or Univision to help you reminisce of Mexican days gone by.

Adios muchachos!

Taco Talk


It has come to this. We need to have the talk.

The taco talk that is. All tacos are NOT created equal, amigo.

And let’s clear something up. Taco Bell is NOT the taco king. Those are not REAL tacos. They are like the equivalent of tiny burger places (read: Krystal) little gut bombs. A disaster waiting to happen!

So for the real conversation.

Actual tacos are very different from what most people know here in the United States. Everyone thinks that tacos are the white flour tortillas usually in the range of about 6 inches in diameter. Additionally, the majority of “tacos” sold in U.S. locations are those with only beef.

Ay, but what you have been missing, my friend!

Mexican tacos are traditionally made with corn tortillas and are quite a bit smaller. Think in the realm of about 3 inches in diameter. And many times these will be seen double stacked, i.e. two tiny tortillas with toppings (not pictured by the way, these appear to only be a single tortilla).

 Mexican Food

And the meats? Oh, the number of delicious meats. Let us quickly run through a few, shall we?

  • Tacos al carbon – this basically translates to “cooking over coal” (roughly). With this, you would expect grilled meats inside the tortilla. Often, this will be grilled cuts of beef, and most (probably) commonly you would expect to see skirt steak, similar to the meet found in fajitas.
  • Tacos al pastor – a fantastic taco with succulent marinated pork meat cuts. Sometimes you will see the meat with a somewhat spicy marinade and the meat may have a reddish-orange hue. Next to tacos al carbon, this is one of my most recommended. If you ever have time, do a little light reading on the history of tacos al pastor. It may surprise you!
  • Tacos de pollo – the tried and true chicken taco. Hard to screw this one up. And a sure fire safe favorite for our gringo friends that are a little shy when venturing into Mexican food.
  • Tacos de camaron – do you love seafood? If so, then you will love these shrimp filled tacos. You can use any size shrimp you like, but I recommend something on the smaller size in order to fully enjoy the other toppings, and vibrant flavoring, on the taco.
  • Tacos de chorizo – ah, the delectable pork sausage. My mouth begins to water as I speak of it. Another highly recommended choice. Many times you will find the Mexican style which is fresh, although it is not uncommon to find the more Spanish version that is traditionally of the smoked variety.
  • Tacos de barbacoa – this can stem from several different types of meat selections, but think of this as a barbecue taco (sort of). The meat is cooked, then pulled (like pulled pork, again similar to barbecue), and then tossed in a marinade or other spiced flavoring mixture.

Ok, so have you had enough yet?

Perhaps you have already gathered that there are several types of tacos, and others that we didn’t even begin to mention. But this list will cover the most commonly seen varieties.

Alright, so now that you have had a nice introduction to real tacos, I invite you to go out and try a few. I can promise you that you won’t be disappointed.

You know, maybe instead of opening a restaurant, I should consider starting a taqueria (a taco stand).

Now, who is ready for tacos?!

Stay hungry amigos!

Welcome to Patron Bar and Grill!


Hola everyone! Welcome to Patron Bar and Grill. I created this site or blog or whatever you want to call this to become my roadmap for my future.

Let me explain a little more of what I am saying. My name is Jose and I am a budding entrepreneur. Well, a restrepreneur to be exact. I want to own my own Mexican restaurant someday.

I would consider a taco truck…but a beautiful restaurant is my dream.

So, I am creating this site to be my future guide. My roadmap. My blueprint, chica!

Here, I will be posting thoughts regarding my future restaurant plans. Different themes perhaps.

Maybe I will even post up some recipe ideas.

Tequila reviews perhaps! Ahyayayaya!

Other times I may post funny thoughts or stories from my years in the restaurant industry.

I believe that if I put many of my thoughts on paper (or screen so to say), that I can refer back to all of these when I am ready to open and it will make the process smoother.

Well, that’s the thought anyway. We will see exactly how all of this works out.

Until next time, adios muchachos!.