I don’t know why – maybe it’s the years I spent in the Southwest prior to moving to Orlando – but I crave Mexican or Tex-Mex food this time of year. So I figured I’d indulge myself by visiting La Campana Mexican Restaurant, which opened on Lee Road a year and a half ago.
And it all would have been first rate if not for the chicharrones in guacamole. But I’ll come back to that in a moment.
LC has a lot of intriguing items on its menu and it makes no claim to being authentically Mexican – a note at the top of its online menu says it is “inspired by Mexican food.” So am I!
Using the online ordering form, which isn’t immediately easy to find (but intuitive once you get there), I chose chiles rellenos, the aforementioned guacamole con chicharron, and a combination platter of tamales with rice and beans. Unfortunately, the ordering form did not allow me to select a pickup time other than right away, and when it came to the checkout page, the only payment option listed was cash.
However, when I arrived at the restaurant where my order was waiting at the bar – I got there as soon as I could – the woman who greeted me gladly took my credit card.
Despite only the tamale platter specifying that it came with rice and beans, apparently so did the chiles rellenos, though they were packaged in the same box with the rellenos and separately for the tamales.
And for the record, both the rice and beans were delicious. Especially the rice. I’ve often lamented how most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants give short shrift to the rice. La Campana’s was moist and well spiced with a tangy bit of heat.
And the chiles rellenos was excellent, too. Cheesy in the mild pepper and cheesy on top. Just the way I like it.
The tamales – one beef and one chicken, though that isn't detailed on the menu – were fine. I especially liked them with the creamy hot sauce, pico de gallo and guacamole that was provided.
And let me also specify that the guacamole is well done, chunky with just the right amount of cilantro.
Which brings us to the guacamole con chiccharron that I ordered as an appetizer.
I ordered it based on the photo above, which I found on La Campana’s Facebook page.
But what I received was what is pictured here (with more chips served separately). Instead of the style known as chicharrones with laman, which has some meat still attached to the pork skin, I got pork rind chips. Definitely not the same thing. If I hadn’t seen the other picture I might not have been disappointed. Though the chicharrones with laman would have been worth the $8.99 fee, the pork rinds with dip were not, even with the generous sprinkling of cotija cheese.
But I won’t let that spoil what was otherwise a delicious meal that satisfied a seasonal crave.
La Campana Mexican Restaurant is at 820 Lee Road, Orlando (map). It is open for lunch and dinner daily. The phone number is 407-951-7413.