Foodie tests out new Sol de Luna restaurant

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THE BACKGROUND

Great food is always made better by great service.

Sol de Luna had big shoes to fill replacing Red Cactus, whose lease expired in the spring. Just two days in, I’d say they have already succeeded.

For owner Frank Sigala, it’s been a grueling process to renovate the restaurant, create the menu, and become a Mexican food innovator.

“It’s ended up better than what I had in mind,” Sigala said.

Sigala said he attempted to join the Red Cactus ownership team, but when that fell through, he took over the lease and began his vision of Sol de Luna.

Inspired by Red Cactus, the menu includes some traditional items like tacos and quesadillas but ventures to unique territory with items like beef or chicken empanadas and tostones.

Sigala said the menu has noticeable Venezuelan influences, which distinguish Sol de Luna from most other Mexican restaurants in the area.

Sigala said feedback about both food and new décor has been very positive. Junior studio art major Will Jenkins raved about his food.

“The chicken quesadilla will be the go-to item on the menu for me,” Jenkins said. “It was delicious.”

THE FOOD

I tried out a variety of items from the menu and was quite satisfied and very impressed with the flavors I encountered.

Chips and salsa: Very straightforward item was set apart by the freshness of the salsa. I love being able to taste the freshness of the ingredients. This provided a nice break from generic tasting salsas that are rampant in Tex-Mex.

Beef Empanada: Anyone familiar with the English classic pastry will enjoy the taste of this. The difference between the two is the delicious breading that encases the meat. Inside, a traditional blend of potatoes, carrots and meat gave a nice flavor to a traditional dish.

Tostones: Sigala said this is one of his most popular dishes so far, and I think this is an amazing signature dish. It’s something you can’t find anywhere else, and it’s worth every penny. For those who don’t know, tostones are fried plantains (banana-esque fruits) that are crushed and fried again. It comes with your choice of sauce, one of which is bacon flavored and delicious. This a must try for the adventurous type.

Pepito: A special sandwich filled with pork, onions and fresh tomatoes. Sol de Luna takes two days to make the pork, letting it cook slowly and marinate so that each sandwich tastes equally as fresh and delicious as the next. For those who want a hearty lunch, this sandwich will do it for you.

What sold me was the massive glass-bottled Mexican Coke served ice cold to wash down the scrumptious grub. Give it a try. Grab some food, enjoy some smiles. I might even see you there!

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