We almost didn't eat at El Fuego. When we got there I was honestly a little hangry. I spent the greater part of 7 hours out at the pool, my Budlight Chelada buzz had worn off , I had changed into my evening flight clothes in a public restroom and was just a few hours away from solo girl time (We spent a little too much one on one time together for 7 days) When we arrived we went to the host stand to request a table. We didn't realize the establishment was slight upscale and they must have looked at us like we didn't belong. It was like when you're on vacay in some place like New York City and you feel the urge to walk into a Louis Vuitton or Coach store because it looks cool but then you see the security guards and your second thought is "They probably know I can't afford any of this stuff, it's practically a museum in there". That is a tiny bit of what I felt. It wasn't the Russian Tea Room but it wasn't KFC either. There were plenty of empty table and the lack luster host guy told me it would be a 15 minute wait. I said fine and gave him my name while we walked to an out of the way area. THERE WERE PLENTY OF EMPTY TABLES! While we were waiting we saw 2 other couples go to the hostess stand, ask for tables and get seated immediately. I started to get steamed. I thought I was going to have a Betty Hunt moment. After 20 mins I marched over to the hostess stand and said slightly heatedly, "Any chance our table is ready" and we were seated immediately.
My only regret is when they asked if we had a seat preference I said "surprise us" and so they sat us right at a table directly in front of the stage where the local jazz band was about to start. We were so close to the band I could see the lead guys nose hairs (okay, maybe not that close). We couldn't talk for most of the meal because it was so loud. Luckily the food made up for everything. One of my favorite side dishes we had were chipotle cheddar mashed sweet potatoes. I rarely make sweet potatoes at home but was inspired to make these when I got home. I altered them slightly, left out the cheddar and added a bit of maple syrup. I love to buy chipotle peppers in adobe sauce but I don't like chopping up the peppers, it's messy and time consuming. Instead when I open a can I immediately stick it in a mason jar and pulverize it with my stick blender. I use that paste in EVERYTHING. It's smoky and spicy and goes great on tacos, marinades, mixed with ranch dressing, added to jam chicken (that's another post) and so many more things I haven't even tried yet. Mexican flavor power house.
Chipotle maple smashed taters
2 sweet taters
1 tbsp chipotle pepper paste
1 tbsp VT gold aka Maple syrup
1 tbsp butter
I'm lazy sometimes and just stab the taters to death with a fork and zap them in the microwave for 7 minutes. Cook then however you like, roasted, boiled, steamed, etc. Mash and add the rest of ingredients. Gobble up. Would probably be a great side for Thanksgiving too!