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[whitespace] Cheap Eats

By Sarah Quelland

Andalé Mexican Restaurant
21 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos 408.395.8997
Mon-Sat 11am-10pm, Sun 11am-9pm; weekend Mexican breakfast Sat-Sun 9am-2pm

Other Locations:
6 N. Santa Cruz Ave., Los Gatos 408.395.4244
209 University Ave., Palo Alto 650.323.2939
2150 Chestnut St., San Francisco 415.749.0506

I'M NOT KNOCKING your standard taqueria. Monster veggie burritos have become a staple in my diet. But sometimes a girl needs a meal that doesn't come wrapped in tin foil. That's where Andalé comes to the rescue. Not only fast, cheap and easy (that is, if you're lucky enough to find an open table), Andalé prepares healthy Mexican food with no lard or preservatives--and nothing frozen or out of a can.

Andalé has the atmosphere of a real restaurant, and living plants give it the ambience of an atrium. Its menu covers all the basics (appetizers, burritos, tacos, tortas, etc.) and has several vegetarian options. One of Andalé's specialties is its mesquite-roasted chicken marinated in a special achiotes sauce. Diners can buy a quarter, half or whole chicken ($6.25/$7.95/$12.95). Some of Andalé's more unusual dishes include the popular mesquite chicken salad with tomato, avocado and goat cheese ($6.95); Tamal, a port or chicken dish with mole sauce and sour cream ($6.95); the Baja-style fish burrito with red snapper coated in beer batter, roasted tomato, salsa, cabbage, black beans and poblano rice ($7.25); and, if you really want to splurge, the camarones al ajillo dinner, a dish of shrimp cooked in garlic butter and laid on a bed of guacamole, rice, beans and tortillas ($8.95). There's even a lowfat burrito with fresh vegetables, black beans and poblano rice wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla ($5.75).

Nicely proportioned, Andalé's no-frills meals are satisfying without requiring a siesta afterward. Don't miss the outdoor patio in the back. Surrounded by bougainvillea and other pretty plants, whether beating the heat with the fountain and umbrellas or fighting the chill with the fireplace and heat lamps, it's the perfect spot for a leisurely lunch. Throw in a cold Corona, sangria, margarita, or one of Andalé's aguas frescas, and it's a great escape. They also have daily specials like gazpacho and chalupas and offer takeout for the luncher on the go.

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From the July 18-24, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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