Tantalizing scents have been drifting down Alvarado Street for nearly 30 years now, scents that will lead you straight to a Mexican restaurant on the corner of Alvarado and Vine called La Caseta.
The structure was built in 1919 and has been a restaurant since 1983. However, Delos Eyer, the congenial proprietor of this Fallbrook landmark, has owned the establishment since 1991.
Delos graduated from Fallbrook High in 1980 and then attended chef school in San Diego. Now he works on recipe development as well as a bit of cooking.
“It’s in my blood – I just love it – it’s all I really wanted to do,” he commented.
There is no substitute for excellence, and La Caseta proves that point with their entrée selections. The menu is extensive with burritos, chimichangas, and tacos, but specialty dishes are also available.
One of those specialty dishes is the delectable Shrimp Diablo that was honored as “Best Taste of Fallbrook” in 2008. The anchor for this dish is jumbo shrimp marinated in a concoction of white wine, red chili powder, garlic, onion and sea salt, plus… some secret ingredients. If that’s not enough to get your taste buds going, the shrimp are then charbroiled, which gives them a smoky, outdoorsy flavor. The shrimp are also sautéed with onions, tomatoes and cilantro, then bathed in a white wine cream sauce. A fresh pico de gallo garnish ties it all together. A lot of fuss for one entrée, but that is one of the secrets to its marvelous flavor.
Don’t let the word “Diablo” fool you – this dish is not too hot, just bold and oh so flavorful. The cream sauce softens the heat generated by chili powder. That same cream sauce saturates the rice giving it a rich flavor. (Shrimp Diablo is found on the dinner menu, but is also available for lunch by special request.)
Golden Fried Avocado Wedges, made with Fallbrook avocados, are an appetizer that could also double as an entrée. The avocados are smooth, soft, and coated with a light batter. A squeeze of lemon enhances the flavor, but the wedges are also good dipped slightly in ranch dressing.
La Caseta puts a twist on traditional flan each holiday season with their Pumpkin Flan. This light Mexican dessert is mixed with pumpkin spice purée, then drenched with caramelized sugar, topped with whipped cream, then drenched once again with caramelized sugar. This dessert is so decadent that you will feel the need to scrape the plate clean. I promise.
What else besides the food makes a restaurant a success? Menu Specials (Taco Tuesday – all you can eat tacos – from 4 to 7:30 p.m.) Colorful décor. (A mural of the Baja coast, by Brett Stokes, brightens the dining room.) An attentive and courteous wait staff. (The smiling server never let my drink run dry and made sure that we had all the chips and salsa we wanted!)
La Caseta Fine Mexican Food is located at 111 North Vine Street in Fallbrook. The telephone is (760) 728-9737 and the website is: www.lacasetafinemexicanfood.com.