The Cactus Flower

Here is a California-style Mexican restaurant that I wouldn't mind eating at every week.  I've driven past the Cactus Flower a number of times but never really thought to stop by.   When I checked it out for the first time, I drove clear by it.  The owner of the strip mall apparently did an entire face lift.  The outside of the restaurant is now much more appealing than the run down appearance before.  I love the bright green umbrella and benches.  If it wasn't in the high 90s, I would have opted to sit outside.

Mango Shrimp
Like at all Mexican restaurants, the Cactus Flower does serve chips and salsa as soon as the customers sits down.  There's nothing really special here. Although, the salsa does taste fresh.

I ordered the mango shrimp as an appetizer. For $8.95, I thought it was a little high but it was delicious.  The shrimp are served in this pockets of what seems like fried tortilla.  There some mashed up avocado at the bottom, a boiled shrimp, then pico and mango sauce..  The shrimp tasted nice and fresh, although a little bland. The avocado gave it richness and the mango sauce a bit of sweetness.  I really liked the shell too.  It gave everything texture.  My friend, Quy, and I both added a little salt and pepper for it to suit our taste a bit more.  I would love this as a lettuce cup. Actually, I think I am going to try to duplicate the sauce for that very reason.

Pork Tenderloin Wrap
Quy ordered the Pork Tenderloin Wrap.  It's served with your choice of pinto or black beans and rice.  This was a real winner.  There is an abundance of pork inside with some cheeses.  If I were to hazard a guess, the pork has been slowed roasted then pulled apart.  It taste a lot like the pulled pork you would get at a BBQ joint without the tangy/sweet BBQ sauce.  The sides were nice too. The black beans were nicely seasoned, however the rice was a little dry.

Santa Fe Enchiladas
 I had the Santa Fe Enchiladas. On the menu, it's described as a traditional rolled and baked enchiladas, served with a special "mole" sauce with your choice of meat and three cheeses.  It wasn't quite what I expected because I was thinking there would be some actual mole in the dish.  There wasn't.  It was the CF own version of a mole.  Although good, it could use a bit more filling in the enchiladas..  I shared with Quy and gave her half an enchilada.  She says in her half she didn't see any beef at all.  In my portion, the beef was a little sparse. On top there is some melted cheeses but you can see some green olives too.  Each time you take a bite with an olive, you get a little burst of flavor that's just really different and welcomed.

I had a really good first time experience at the Cactus Flower.  I would definitely consider coming back.  The service is kinda slow the day I went though.  It was around 1:30 and it took a minute for our waitress to initially come to the table.  Afterwards, the food was brought out in a timely manner.  You can tell this is a local place with lots of regulars.  Some of the people who came and went were addressed by their names by the staff.  Definitely good signs of a great place to eat.

Cactus Flower Cafe on UrbanspoonThe Cactus Flower has pretty good website with locations and menus.  To check it out click here.


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