Casa Mexico 

The Treasure Valley offers a plethora of restaurants that serve Mexican fare, but only a few of those establishments' service is worthy of honorable mention. Ranking at the top of my list of authentic Mexican cuisine and impressive price-to-portion ratio is Casa Mexico. With four Boise locations, one Eagle location and one Middleton location, consider your search for a new favorite Mexican restaurant over.

Upon entering the Casa Mexico on Overland, my party was cheerfully welcomed and promptly seated before our saliva glands could catch up with our sense of smell. I had never been to this specific location, and I was immediately impressed with its hip decor and friendly wait staff. With our menus came a basket of hot, fresh tortilla chips and delicious red salsa. An entire meal could have been made from the chips and salsa alone.

We thoroughly examined the menu and I decided to start off with a bowl of chicken tortilla soup. The the combination of shredded chicken and savory Mexican spices, topped with avocados and shredded cheese, makes it the best tortilla soup I have ever had, hands down.

Before we could bat an eye, our main dishes were served, piping hot plate and all. The first of the four dishes was an order of their critically acclaimed spinach enchiladas. If in fact the spinach enchiladas have never been critically acclaimed, then they are now. They are rich and creamy, stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and garlic, and handsomely covered in a blanket of cheesy white sauce. If there were ever a spinach enchilada olympics, Casa Mexico would take home the gold.

The expresso burrito is a feast in itself. Judging by its size, it could be mistaken as a loaf of bread. A giant tortilla filled with beans, rice and choice of meat topped with cheese, special sauce, guacamole and sour cream, this is clearly a dish created to serve a hungry individual. It's a good thing I came equipped with hungry bears posing as my friends.

The enchilada verde is flavorful, and it felt as if we were committing a sin as we consumed it. We ordered it with chicken and requested to have it prepared with a corn tortilla instead of the traditional flour tortilla. The green sauce that accompanies it is rich, but only mildly spicy. It reminds me of a similar dish that my grandmother used to make when I was a child. Everything at Casa Mexico has a very authentic flavor, so it's no wonder that it often reminds me of food I ate when I was little.

The Pollo a la Diabla ("Chicken of the Devil") is described on the menu as "great for a hangover," and though none of us were afflicted with such a condition, the name alone intrigued us enough to order it. The dish consists of juicy chunks of chicken marinated in hot sauce with sautéed onions and spices, served with rice and beans. Our conclusion was that if the Devil did in fact eat that lavishly, then hell couldn't be all that bad.

To-go boxes were presented to us because we seemed to have stuffed ourselves long before the meal was over. For dessert, we considered ordering a round of their strawberry margaritas, but were all certain that consuming anything more at that point may have been a hazard to our health. We paid the bill, clicked our heels in the air to show how pleased we were that such amazing food was so amazingly priced, and we all headed home to take naps.

For anyone who appreciates authentic Mexican cuisine and a smile on both their bellies and their wallets, Casa Mexico is one of the best things to happen to the Treasure Valley.

--Lauren Tweedy is convinced that eating should be considered a sport.

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