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Escamilla Amigos—real flavors of Mexico

Guerrero, Mexico family brings authentic cuisine, tastes to community

July 31, 2013 - Groveland Twp.- Tomas Escamilla knows what Mexico tastes like.

Escamilla grew up in Guerrero, Mexico—about 1,200 miles south of the Texas border on the western shore of the Pacific Ocean. The Escamilla family, which included a mother and father along with five boys and two girls, were farmers in some of the rugged central region of the country.

"Guerrero is a very poor (state)," he said. "We all struggled growing up—raising corn and other crops to support a family of seven is very difficult. By the sea is Acapulco Bay (a city in Guerrero) a tourist location, but inland is farm country."

It's from the heartland of Mexico that Tomas, who moved to the United States in 1985, brings the unique flavors of his native country.

"We make our dishes from scratch—very authentic Mexican food, it's not like much of the Tex-Mex served in this area," said Escamilla, who honed his cooking skills at Mesquite Creek in Clarkston from 1992-2005. "From Tacos Barbacoa to Tacos al Pastor to Carne Asada, the detailed tastes of Mexico are available on our menu. For example, the traditional Mole Sauce, which contains chocolate and chiles, is a unique taste we prepare right here."

"In Mexican cooking there are a lot more ingredients, more sauces and it's often more spicy," he said. "The cheeses are much different, too, including Queso fresco (fresh cheese traditionally made from raw cow milk or a combination of cow and goat milk) or Cotija (strong-flavored cheese is sold aged, making it a bit dry, salty, and almost granular in texture). There are lots of soups and stews, too—my tamales and chips are all made from scratch using the fresh ingredients."

Tomas, along with his brother Rosondo, who assists with the cooking duties, have put a new look into the Escamilla Amigos Restaurant.

"In addition to Mexican entrees there are some unique breakfast dishes also," he said. "Soon we'll have a liquor license, which include some awesome Mexican beers. Our restaurant, which is mostly family members, is a dream come true for us. We've worked hard to bring the true tastes of Mexico here. We came to the United States for a future and open a little restaurant that's a family business. Come give us a try."

Escamilla Amigos Restaurant, 39 Ortonville Road, Ortonville. Open Monday-Sunday 7 a.m.-9 p.m. 248-627-7070.

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