F amished Foodies Fed Fantastically
R esplandor De Mango es superbo
I maginative Dishes Prepared Here
D elicias to the Max
A rrachera Nortena is Muy Magnifioso

Together with my Frieda ("Fran"), we entered the compact Frida on Beverly Drive  in Beverly Hills for dinner. Vicente, our most amiable host, found a table inside with a lovely view of outside: just right to dine and watch the passing parade.

Chips and three different salsas were offered seconds after being seated, the water poured six seconds after that. So far, so good!  Both help to take the edge off while peering through their most extensive menu. All the usual Mexican fare is there, complimented by an array of extra special salsas, a ceviche bar, six tortas y wraps, and a dozen, "Especialidades De La Casa: – all price in the late teens or early twenties. Most thoughtful for Beverly Hills, my friends!

We began with their appetizer combo, consisting of cheese quesadillas, miniature chicken and shrimp tacos, a nice portion of fresh guacamole and fresh ahi tuna on a chip. All these have more correct Spanish names but I'm telling it to you in English. And, in even simpler English, all I can say is "ole!" to each different dish, for they were mucho delicioso.

Next on our agenda was to split a serving of their Tortilla soup. They describe it as a "soup which combines flavors and textures of tortilla strips garnished with avocado, cheese and cream.  You will love it!" I'm happy to report that their description is truth in advertising. It's a huge serving of this hot, spicy, tomatoey broth, with a side plate of pork rinds, additional cheese and peppers should you wish to add further heat. We chose not!

For our main courses we went our separate ways: Fran chose the Salmon Aqua which translates to grilled salmon with white wine and butter sauce, served with an array of grilled vegetables. She asked for the wine sauce on the side and when she was presented with the sauce already on the plate, it had to be sent back. Its replacement arrived a few minutes later and was received with delight for its taste earned two thumbs up. My Arrechera Nortena consisted of a tender marinated skirt steak, served over a chicken/cheese enchilada with guacamole, rice and grilled onions on the side of this enormous plate. The steak was done a tad too well, but all the accompaniments were truly heaven-sent. Both our twenty dollar plates were each quite enough to be shared, for we took half of each home. They feed you well at Frida.

Though the dessert tray creates a vision for the eyes, our stomachs required we decline this part of the meal. Pacing oneself properly is  an art we now understand when we return to Frida. And we shall return for this sort of elegant Mexican meal is a welcome addition to my culinary experiences.  Of course, when you get there, make sure to tell 'em Jose sent you!

Frida Mexican Cuisine, 236 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, Tel. 310-278-7666 www.fridarestaurant .com