Aparicio’s Restaurant, McKinney – Taco Traveler

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There’s not much that can compare to a cold beer and some good Mexican food at the end of a tough day. We headed out to Aparicio’s for dinner tonight. It’s located just off the main square, on Virginia Street in McKinney. The downtown area overall has been revitalized by the new streetscaping that went in. Almost all the shops are full and everything looks fresh and inviting. Aparicio’s is not new to town though. The chain, started in Plano in 1986, has had a home in McKinney for several years.

The restaurant and sports bar wins awards for things like – best margarita in McKinney and “Best Afterwork Atmosphere.” After tonight’s dinner, I can see why. Aparicio’s delivers good, quick food, friendly service and goes beyond the nacho, quesadillas and bean burritos so many Mexican restaurants serve. Sure, there were quesadillas on the menu – at least four varieties. But there were also homemade tamales, several fish options and empanadas.

The bar offers around 6 beers on tap and about 40 bottled varieties. I went for a Ziegenbock – which arrived in a very large margarita glass and Mr. Taco Traveler opted for Negra Modelo in a bottle.

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The obligatory chips and salsa were good, though nothing to write home about. The chips were nice and salty and thick, which I enjoy and the salsa was homemade and relatively mild. The taste was good and it was easy to eat plenty since there was no heat behind it.

I decided on a taco combination platter with three tacos – one al Pastor, one tinga and one carnitas. The al Pastor is a blend of seasoned pork and pineapple and comes with cilantro and onions on the side. It is sweet and juicy and Aparicio’s definitely got it right. The tinga was shredded chicken in chipotle sauce. It was definitely spicy, but then, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to spice. Had I not scarfed the whole thing down, Mr. Taco Traveler, who likes spicy things, could’ve weighed in on it all. Carnitas is the seasoned pork which is marinated with orange peel and spices. It was really tasty, if a little dry.

Mr. Taco Traveler chose chicken enchiladas with green sauce.

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I could tell you how delicious it was, except for the fact that he ate it all without sharing a single, solitary nibble with me. I guess that means it was pretty good!

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I also had a small side of guacamole which was good, but not excellent. I’m a bit of a guacamole snob ever since I learned how to make it at home though.

For dinner time on Thursday the restaurant seemed relatively quiet, but there was a poker tournament going on in the basement and I could hear people upstairs in the sports bar as well. It’s hard to describe the decor of the place. It was almost an Old World Tuscan style with plaster over brick walls, some exposed brick, big, old looking pillars and heavy antique pieces around. It looked like it had some cantina roots but maybe it had outgrown them and moved on to a more sophisticated style. I was completely at ease being there in jeans and a polo shirt though, so don’t think it’s an uppity kinda place.

Mr. Taco Traveler and I agreed, it was a solid 3 out of 5 tacos for our dinner. Next time we’ll start with some margaritas and get the score higher!

Photos by Robert Clark

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