In the kitchen at Amigo Mexican Restaurant, it all goes back to the tortilla. After wrapping itself tightly around marinated and sautéed beef, chicken, or shrimp, the humble breadstuff reconfigures itself into myriad dishes from a menu of both traditional and inventive Mexican cuisine. Large tortillas bursting with beans and veggies welcome dollops of sour cream and cheese, whereas their smaller counterparts submerge themselves in enchilada sauce or embrace the buddy system as part of more than 30 combo platters. House specialties do occasionally veer away from the famous flatbread; the Guakimaki burger combines Angus steak with a healthy spoonful of the kitchen’s signature made-from-scratch guacamole. That same guac also enhances the flavor of traditional platters of golden chimichangas and flame-kissed fajitas. In addition to listing out prospective feasts, the menu also denotes low-carb options, which helps diners keep track of their nutritional intake while still eating like royalty.
The chefs at Poblanos Mexican Cuisine set their Mexican dishes apart through their use of fresh ingredients. For ceviche, they combine shrimp and tilapia with avocado and lemon juice, preparing the seafood without heating it to give it vibrant flavor. For tamales, the chefs keep the preparation traditional by wrapping the corn masa and seasoned steak or chicken in real cornhusks, then slow-cooking them until they are tender. Poblano-chili slices add kick to the entrees, and mango pico de gallo helps tongues cool down. Diners can end meals with a seasonal dessert or by quaffing beers chosen from the line of bottles on the bar or the pyramid of bottles balanced on the bartender's forehead. On Wednesday and Friday evenings, live jazz bands can also entertain guests with toe-tapping melodies.
El Charro Mexican Restaurant, a family restaurant since 1982, has been voted the city's best Mexican eatery for four consecutive years in the Metro Pulse Best of Knoxville readers’ poll. The spot's perennial popularity is due to dishes such as carnitas pork tips in salsa verde and taco salad with chicken tenders and grilled red and yellow bell peppers. Cooks fill burritos with hefty portions of vegetables or beef tips, causing their tortillas to bulge like a burlap sack packed with a thousand burritos. Cold Mexican and domestic beers wash it all down.
Led by the husband and wife team of James and Beverly Black, JB's Ribs & More's barbecue masters slow cook pork, ribs, and poultry before plating the meat with hearty sides of comfort fare. As described in a feature from the Daily Times, the Blacks' culinary career began in James' mother's backyard, where he learned to whip up succulent chicken and ribs by barbecuing on the weekends. The barbecue pros soon outgrew their home-based business' finite supply of wet wipes and opened a full-time restaurant that could sate Maryville's hunger for soul food such as five-cheese macaroni and pulled-pork slow cooked for 14 hours. Patrons can lick their fingers while browsing the eatery's free WiFi, or carry out one of JB's family-size meals and feed all their novelty cookie jars some much-needed protein.
Rick Verastegui is a jack-of-all-trades. As a kid, Rick could be spotted marching around his yard holding a trashcan above his head, imitating either bodybuilder Charles Atlas or the neighborhood's most muscular garbage man. Although he eventually set the trashcan down, Rick never lost his passion for health. He carried that into adolescence and adulthood, earning a black belt in karate, playing football, and becoming a certified personal trainer.
In between all of that, Rick found time to earn his master's degree in business, plus degrees in Spanish, government, and economics—all of which he taught at some point. Still, fitness remained an integral part of his life. Rick expanded on his already lengthy resumé by becoming a nationally certified massage therapist, a skill he practices extensively at Unearth the Power. Rick also provides weight-training, stretching, and bodywork services, all while using his diverse background to connect with clients.