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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, Dec. 19, 2014

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In Sports

Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo tries out new Mexican restaurants often. (PHOTO: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers Photos)

In Sports

Brewers pitcher Marco Estrada has been surprised at the quality of Mexican fare in Milwaukee. (PHOTO: Scott Paulus/Milwaukee Brewers Photos)

Gallardo's, Estrada's picks for Milwaukee's best Mexican fare

Bienvenidos a Mexican Dining Week on This week, in honor of Cinco de Mayo, we're spicing things up with daily articles about Mexican restaurants, foods, drinks, sweets and more. Enjoy a week of sizzling stories that will leave you craving Milwaukee's Latin offerings. Olé!

A little over two years ago, Marco Estrada was called up to the Milwaukee Brewers from Class AAA Nashville, appearing in just seven games. A "cup of coffee," if you will. A taste of Milwaukee, and a bit of flavoring on the four games he pitched for the Washington Nationals the year before.

Last year, Estrada spent the entire season with the Brewers, becoming more familiar not only with Major League Baseball, but with the Milwaukee dining scene.

Coffee may be a nice pick-me-up, but sometimes you want to experience a full menu.

Fortunately for Estrada, he joined Yovani Gallardo as the only two players of Mexican descent on the Brewers, and the pair has made an effort to get out and about to experience what kind of native fare Milwaukee has to offer.

The breadth of options has been a refreshing discovery for the pair.

If Gallardo had to pick one place he frequents more than others, it's Botanas, while Estrada is fond of the enchiladas at Conejito's Place and enjoyed Mi Cocina in Brookfield.

Both players also cited the atmosphere at the Mexican restaurants they visit, noting how if they are recognized, patrons and employees are respectful of their space and personal time.

"I was very surprised," said Estrada, who was born in Sonora, Mexico. "Honestly, I never expected to find a Mexican restaurant up here. And if I were to find one, I was expecting ground beef and hard shell tacos, like Taco Bell. So when we went to those places I was like man, this is pretty good. There is some good food out here."

To that end, they keep an ear out for new places and make an effort to try them all. Neither could pinpoint a favorite, instead deferring to their appetites on a given day.

"I'm still finding new places," said Gallardo, a native of Michoacan, Mexico. "It seems like they're all pretty good and it's just a matter of choosing where you want to go. All of those places have pretty good food. It's just a matter of where you're at and how hungry you are."

Added Estrada: "I'm in the same boat. I like to try everything and I'll make a decision after that. Every place is different. If I like a certain food and some place has it, I'm going to go there. I like to try it all. Some places will have good tortilla, some places have a good carne asada. It's different. It's whatever I'm in the mood for, I guess."

Despite having a wide array of options to choose from, however, Gallardo couldn't quite put a finger on what he would recommend.

"I'd say ... tacos," he said with a smile. "To be honest, you can never go wrong with that. That, or enchiladas. It's one of those things that those places are pretty good (at)."

Estrada on the other hand, knows what he hasn't found – yet.

"I like everything, but I think if I wanted one thing that I had to eat for the rest of my life, I'd probably go with tortas," he said. "Big fan of tortas, especially the one my grandma makes. I miss those. It's hard to find. Grandma's cooking – there's only one."


EatWisconsin | May 4, 2012 at 3:58 p.m. (report)

Estrada likes tortas? Send him to JC Kings at 13th and Oklahoma. They have the most amazing selection of tortas I have seen and they are incredible!

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danno | May 3, 2012 at 5:15 p.m. (report)

Senor Tomas in Hartland is one of my favorite for more traditional.

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