I am a fan of all things Mexican and consider myself somewhat of an aficionado when it comes to Mexican food (despite having never actually been to Mexico).
In recent years, Brisbane has seen a bevy of fast food Mexican joints burst onto the scene, and it has changed the way we view Mexican cuisine. I was initially dubious of these new establishments as I am of all fast food, but being a foodie, I tried them all anyway. Some are not worth mentioning here, but I'll give a special mention to Tuckeria in Fortitude Valley, which had been my favourite until I visited Guzman y Gomez.
Nestled amidst the finer dining establishments of Fortitude Valleys Emporium, Guzman has an open, almost school cafeteria vibe with scattered tables and bench seats. There was a line up at the counter, but it moved quickly and I was served within a few short minutes. Just enough time to browse the menu and make my selection - 3 vegetarian quesadillas ($10.50) and a vegetarian nachos ($10.50) with a side of sour cream. The view into the open kitchen was reminiscent of some sort of chain gang production line but I didn't let that deter me.
The food arrived within minutes and it did not disappoint. The nachos chips were crisp and light, the vegetable toppings were aplenty, the guacamole delicious and overall, the dish was so good we ordered another serving for our table, and then another one! My quesadillas were soft and fluffy and the fillings hot and tasty.
My friends who ordered meat dishes were equally pleased with the food. One friend had a burrito stuffed to the brim with tasty fresh ingredients. And here I believe is the key to Guzman's success - the freshness of the food.
It may be fast food, but it's fresh, delicious and relatively nutritious (nutritional content provided on menu for those interested). There is a kids menu, imported beers and of course, frozen margaritas. The idea that fast food can actually be relatively healthy is a difficult one for me to grasp, but the days of overpriced, heavy, cheese laden dishes made famous by the Montezuma's and Pepe's franchises are over for me. While some people may still prefer that style, I feel a lot better splurging and treating myself to fast food after leaving Guzman y Gomez than I ever did leaving Montezumas.