Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

A Tasty Twist On Authentic Cuisine

Pineapples actually have a little history behind them and symbolize warm welcomes, friendship and hospitality.  The legend began with sea captains returning home with fruits, spices and rum. To let friends know of their safe return, and to invite them into his home, the sea captain would place a pineapple outside his house. Friends would gather for food and drink and tales of his voyage.

The pineapple, being a native of South America, makes for a great symbol for the Pineapple Café and Mexican Grill, located at 7864 South Howell Avenue in Oak Creek. According to the owner, Pineapple Café and Mexican Grill brings new flavors to food with a tasty twist on fresh, authentic Mexican cuisine.

It was myself, Neil and his special lady, Margie who dined here the other night. Margie and I started our night off right with some Margaritas. Happy hour is from 3-6 Monday through Friday, but I chose one that was not because it sounded so good and tasted even better.

I had the Strawberry Shortcake Margarita which comes blended. The flavor was all there and I appreciated the cherry on top. It was like drinking a melted strawberry shortcake popsicle that you would get from the ice cream truck when you were little. It was very sweet, and the cream liquor is what gave it that ice cream flavor, while the strawberry taste was kicking you right in the face – in a good way. I would highly recommend this drink to anyone who likes a sweet margarita, and perhaps even as a dessert.

Margie enjoyed two margaritas this evening. The first one being a mix of raspberry and mango. The appearance brought to mind an alcoholic cheesecake. It was served in a frosted mug with a sugar rim and a lime wedge. The flavor was both fresh and sweet. This was followed by the pineapple flavor. It was evident they used real pineapple as the flavor, although retaining the freshness of the first margarita, was not as sweet. Perhaps the pineapple was not fully ripe.

I chose a nice cup of their organic coffee. It features a smooth and balanced flavor profile. It is coffee house coffee served in a Mexican restaurant.

As most Mexican restaurants do, they served us chips and salsa, two salsas actually. One was not spicy, and one was and both were smooth, not so chunky at all. I really enjoyed the freshness of both, and could easily taste the herbs they used. The spicier one was hot, but not overpowering. The spiciness definitely lingers after you’re done crunching on the thick, seasoned corn chips. I prefer the thicker chips, like they serve, because it ensures the chip won’t break when dipping in to a chunky salsa or guacamole.

I decided to go with the Wet Burrito, which consisted of lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese and your choice of meat. I tried the beef barbacoa meat option because I’ve never had it before. What made this burrito “wet” was the sauce you chose that’s ladled on top. I chose the salsa Verde because it was the spiciest of the options.

The potion size was huge, and served with rice, beans, guacamole and sour cream. The burrito was stuffed to the brim with the beef barbacoa, which is bang for buck. It was just a little hard to cut in to, but once I did, the flour tortilla kept it all together on my fork. The barbacoa was juicy and tender. I could tell that this meat was slow cooked. It reminded me immediately of moms slow cooked roast beef and gravy. Unfortunately, the lettuce, tomato and cheese got lost in the mix (that’s how much meat was in there).

The Verde sauce was nice, but not spicy at all. Because of this and the fact of the reminder of mom’s roast beef, I would highly recommend you try the barbacoa with the suiza sauce, which is Pineapple Cafes form of gravy – probably created for this meat. I tried a little of my barbacoa with a sample size of suiza sauce that I asked for and it was superb, a perfect pairing.

As a meal Margie ordered Pedro’s Tacos. Although it was unclear who Pedro was or how he came to have this dish named after him, one thing was certain is that he had a great recipe. They start with what they describe as “Fluffy deep-friend corn tortillas”. This had the three of us pondering how an item could be both fluffy and deep-fried. It turned out to be just that. Strong enough to contain all the ingredients placed within yet still light and airy. These amazing shells were filled with your choice of meat. Today that was chicken and barbacoa. The chicken was white meat that was well seasoned. Often chicken tends to be dry and lacking flavor but not at Pineapple Café. The barbacoa was moist and had just the right amount of spice. On top of this meat they add lettuce, tomato and queso fresco. The entre comes with a side of refried beans which had a wonderful texture and an even better flavor. There was also a side of Mexican rice. This had a good flavor but was hard to enjoy as the consistency was very dry.

As my entre I chose the Puerco in Salsa Verde. If you have even the minimal amount of knowledge of the Spanish language learned from years of staring at menus, you understand this is pork served in a green sauce. If you do not have such specialized knowledge, you now know it too. Officially described as tender chunks of pork simmered in spicy green chile sauce, this dish was delicious. The pork was indeed tender. I did not really employ the use of my knife as the large pieces of pork were easily broken apart with my fork. I was offered to have a mix of both corn and flour tortillas on the side. I like the flavor of corn but prefer the durability of flour. If you go to Pineapple Café you can rest assured their corn tortillas are moist and strong enough to contain even this juicy and tender pork. I chose the side of black beans which had a great flavor. They were both hearty and had a mild spice. I should have chosen to double my portion of beans as I also found my rice too dry to consume.

I also ordered a barbacoa tostada on the side. The tortilla was not greasy and stayed solid and firm until I had finished eating. Another menu item I would highly recommend.

Along with Neil, Margie and I also ordered a side item. I ordered a Tamale which came with chicken. I’ve only had tameles once before and the corn husy was still on it. The tamale I received at Pineapple Café was even better because it didn’t have the husk and I could simply enjoy my tamale without having to squeeze the heart out of it. The cornmeal was great and the chicken flavor was there. I absolutely loved the amount of sauce and cheese that was drenched on top of it. A great side item, I must say.

Margie also ordered an a la carte sope. A sope, or picadita, is a traditional Mexican dish served on a antojito which resembles a very thick tortilla. This was crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside, cooked to perfection. It was topped with lengua, lettuce and tomato. The lengua was also just a little on the dry side compared to other places we have tried but had an incredible flavor. This was a nice add on that everyone should consider.


Written By: Amanda Maniscalco and Neil Panosian

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