Enchiladas make a great Lenten alternative to fish

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Enchilada plate at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in St. Paul.

What's not to like about Lenten dietary restrictions? Can you really qualify all-you-can-eat fried fish, homemade mac 'n cheese and various potato and bean products as restrictions anyway? Well, the "restrictions" are even looser with enchiladas from St. Paul's Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in the picture.

There are only four Fridays left this Lent to try the church's economical and filling $6 enchilada lunch plate, which includes one cheese and onion enchilada, refried beans, rice, a drink and a choice of desserts. Add $2.50 and you can get three enchiladas instead of one.

Take a seat at one of the church hall's long tables and wait to be waited on. While you tuck in to the tableside chips and fresh, spicy red salsa, someone will bring you your plate. People pushing carts come around, dim sum style, with beverages and desserts on a rolling basis.

The enchilada is greasy, each bite heavy with cheese, rolled in the vague sweet chewiness of a good corn tortilla: aka perfecto! The beans and rice are a tad bland, but a little salt brings them up to speed. All together, they give that satisfying stomach thud.

For dessert, do not forego the terrifically moist mango cake, which is laden with a sweet, fruity, almost marmalade-like, topping. The bread pudding is also good, kind of like French toast, with the interesting addition of peanuts and a dollop of whipped cream.

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Our Lady of Guadalupe's bread pudding.

Sure you can get luncheladas like these at most Mexican places, but the minor thrill of getting something that's only temporarily available (not unlike the Shamrock shake) makes the experience feel exclusive plus it's just nice to lunch off the beaten path now and then.

Where: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church
401 Concord St.
St. Paul, MN
When: Fridays (thru 4/10) from 11:30 a - 6 p
Call: 651.228.0506 x16 (for takeout orders)

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