Cheap Eats: Tere's Mexican Grill

If I had to eat the same thing every night it would include melted cheese, beans, sour cream, and guacamole, and if one wasn't enough then I'd have two.

Since I gorge myself on these ingredients on a regular basis, some would call me a culo gordo (Spanish for "fat ass.") I am proud of my love for authentic Mexican food. From arracheras to zacahuil, a Mexican meal always incites me to unbutton my jeans and make room for more.

When my friend Amanda and I went out on my usual venture looking for cheap tasty eateries, my stomach was grumbling for some Mexican flavors. Unfortunately I only had eight dollars on me and questioned where on earth I could get a full meal for my pittance that didn't include pulling up to a speaker box and ordering a "Number One." My friend, who has a love-hate relationship with Mexican food (she loves it, her stomach hates it,) reluctantly  told me about Tere's Mexican Grill.

Although she was hesitant to take this venture with me, I was craving something new and cheesy, and I bribed her with an offering of post-traumatic ice-cream in return for her company. This deal obviously worked in my favor because I love ice cream.

As we walked down Melrose Avenue towards Tere's I noticed that the restaurant was mostly occupied by hipsters looking for a hang out to call their own. Since I was the new kid on the block, I yearned for inclusion and the excitement of discovery with the same marvel as they held for the restaurant.

Immediately I noticed the large selection of menu items that offered anything for anybody from early risers to night owls, including tortas appropriate for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Tere's Mexican Grill provides decent prices for their large portions that range from $4 to $11. I paid about $7 for a plate of two huge enchiladas, which was conveniently below my eight dollar limit (leaving leftover change for dessert.) Since I was hankering for a simple cheese, rice and bean dish, the double enchiladas de queso roja delivered. As I took my first bite the hot beans and melted cheese burnt my tongue, but it was well worth it.

Looking into the kitchen I saw a cook stuffing a burrito with brilliantly colored, grilled vegetables. Their array of multicolored peppers looked even fresher than those at the renowned Baja Fresh. I wasn't the only one who noticed the quality of Tere's ingredients; customers around me were vocally salivating as well.

Angie Hayes, a customer dining next to me, ordered a tostada grande with grilled chicken.

"I live all the way out in Santa Monica but drive to Tere's Grill because they serve the juiciest chicken I've ever eaten at any Mexican joint," Hayes admiringly explained to me.

Even though I was already full from the two cheesy enchiladas, Hayes' suggestion made me hungry for more, and I'd do those prized tostadas a disservice by mentioning them at any small length here because they deserve an entire column for themselves.

The grill also supplies a buffet of traditional all-you-can-eat salsas which lets the customer feel right at home with the comfort of knowing that there's always more when you're ready.

With my stomach and wallet both satiated, my friend and I reminisced about our meal over ice cream. Not only had I just eaten my favorite Mexican dish, but Tere's Mexican Grill provided a relaxing backdrop against which I could just unwind and eat. My only complaint is that they haven't got billboards overlooking the 405—I wish I discovered this place sooner.

With inexpensive prices, great atmosphere, and more-than-you-can-handle portions, Tere's Mexican Grill has claimed a new regular in me.