Beef Burrito
_I found another hidden treasure of BF Homes earlier this month when, on impulse, I decided to eat at Mexan one evening I felt too lazy to cook.  This little restaurant is tucked away on the side of The Pergola Mall facing the Ruins bazaar, a side I rarely go to, and would've slipped beneath my radar if not for the placard they'd put at the mall's front entrance.

First impressions on entering: the place will only sit about a dozen or so people at a time, but the interior is very tastefully done in bright pueblo colors; there's Spanish guitar music on, and the only occupied table (it was early for dinner) was occupied by an expat.  He looked happy with his burrito, so I got one too.  Surprise!  My Burger Burrito had a good proportion of meat to rice, wrapped in a nice fresh tortilla, and the flavors were bright and right.  The cook, whoever he or she was, knew enough not to hold back on the cumin and other spices, so the burrito's contents had a really nice aroma.  This was served with a side of sour cream for dipping and some fresh onion and tomato salsa.  I had to take Cathy here!  I also got to meet one of the proprietors, Dia Velazquez, so we scheduled a shoot with her.
Chili Con Carne
_On our third visit, owners Dia Velazquez, Joanne Sta. Maria and Tess Vinluan were there to greet us and give us a sampling of their bestsellers.  We got to try the Chili con Carne, Beef Burrito, and Buffalo Wings.  The burrito was a known quantity - I'd had it before, and I knew I'd always have one when I eat here.  It's flavorful and filling, but my personal favorite remains the Burger Burrito -- also beef, but maybe the ground meat or the way they cook it makes it taste even meatier.  The Chili con Carne was exactly that -- hot!  Just the way I like it!  Again, I liked the fact that they didn't stint with the spices, and again, the proportion of meat to beans was just right.  And did I say it was hot? 

The best dish of the lot for both Cat and me, however, was the Buffalo Wings.  It's the kind of dish you dig into with your fingers, gnaw on the bones for as long as you can still get some flavor from them, then lick your fingers afterward.  Crunchy even when we ate it a little cold (in between the interview) and served with a sour-cream dip instead of the usual blue cheese or Cajun sauce, the wings had just the right blend of sweetness, a mild heat, with the tanginess of the sour cream rounding out the flavors.   It will keep you coming back for more.

I had to buy a take-home pack for my dad -- it made a good excuse to have a few more!  Also, the order is quite big; while on the menu it's describes as five pieces, Joanne says this is based on the number of wings that go into each order.  Since they halve each wing, an order comes to ten pieces -- if you're having this as appetizer, it's good for a group of three or four.  We had our food with iced tea, but for those who want it, there's also good old San Mig beer, Corona beer from Mexico, sodas, margaritas, zombies, and of course, tequila shots available.
Buffalo Wings
_There are no Mexicans, or even Texans, involved in this restaurant at all.  Instead, Mexan is the brainchild of Dia and Joanne -- credit for the name goes to Dia’s son Migs -- who, along with Tess, share the responsibilities of running the restaurant, developing recipes and taste-testing, with one another.  Although they only opened at The Pergola Mall last April, they've been doing Mexican food for six years, with a food stall in La Salle Zobel.  "We were a hit with the kids, because the way we cook is we're always thinking we're doing this for our own families," says Joanne.  "We developed our recipes together, researching recipes then testing and combining until we got what we wanted. Being moms, we knew what kids wanted." 

The buffalo wings got added to the Mexican lineup, Dia says, when they were talking to the mall management.  Taking the suggestion of combining the concepts instead of getting a separate stall for the wings, they quickly found the wings to be a bestseller too, along with their burritos, and soft tacos.  The popularity of the latter two has led to additional sizes, junior burritos and large tacos.

Perhaps the best validation for Mexan's taste is the number of expats who've been coming back as repeat customers.  "There was this American who ate here one day and he kept whispering to his Filipina wife.  It turned out he was a Texan, and he liked the food so much he wanted to order another!" 

Perhaps, we have The Pergola Mall to thank for for offering them a bigger space than their initial plan for a just a food stall.  It's given the entrepreneurial moms the creative space to come up with their culinary best.
Tess Vinluan, Dia Velasquez, Joanne Sta. Maria