By Mary Crafts-Homer
Lots of folks call themselves “foodies” nowadays, and Utah Valley is no exception to the national wave of elevated food tastes. However, there is a difference between the weekend “foodie” and those of us who live and breathe food everyday.
When I meet another lifetime “foodie,” I recognize them right away — not by any physical appearance but by the light and passion they radiate as they talk about food.
I felt that way about the Oteo family from the first time I reviewed their Tortilla Bar restaurant in Orem. At their new Oteo location in Lindon, they have a few more seats and nicer space, but the passion for their heritage Mexican cuisine remains the same.
Oteo is not your typical Mexican restaurant with chips and salsa, rice and beans, burritos, etc.
Here is how I eat at Oteo:
1) Choose a protein.
2) Choose how I want it served.
3) Always order an appetizer.
4) Remember that salads are their best offerings.
5) Save room for churros.
The Oteo owners are after my own heart with a strong commitment to sourcing local ingredients, selecting quality, and preparing simply so the quality ingredients shine.
For a complete tasting of their menu, I gathered all my children and headed off for lunch. If you can pass the test of a whole gang of Crafts, you can bet you are doing well! Our favorites were the Beef Molote with fried masa dumpling and black bean puree, and the Chicken Sope with grilled corn cake and cabbage slaw.
I usually order the Apple and Manchego salad, but this time I tried the Kale, Jicama and Pineapple salad. Wow, that salad will make a kale lover out of anyone!
We all agreed the best things we put in our mouths were the Queso Fundido appetizer and the Plantains with Almond Butter and Coconut Milk. The fundido is the perfect melt of cheese and chipotle served with fresh tortillas (with all calories thrown to the wind!) and the plantains were a study in unique flavors and textures. Delicious.
Mosi Oteo, his brother David, and his father, Sam, are my soul foodies. They get the reason we are passionate about food. It’s not just the flavor; it’s not just the preparation or presentation; it’s the experience that food brings as people break bread (or tortillas) together. And that’s what it’s all about.
Thunderous applause to a genuine success story of the Oteo family.
Until next time, remember to fill your life with scrumptious food and joy.