A few months ago I read about, El Topo, a small Mexican restaurant, located in Fenton Michigan, with a big secret.
El Topo has a pretty nifty mural painted on its outer wall, other than that the restaurant looks pretty unassuming and typical of a small Mexican restaurant. I was unable to get a photo of the inside but El Topo is small, like really small, and for good reason.
Before exploring El Topo’s secret my family and I decided to have dinner.
We decided to start things off with an order of chips and salsa. The chips were pretty typical of house-made tortilla chips. The salsa was a fresh salsa which I did not particularly care for, I’m not a huge fan of fresh salsas in general. As far as fresh salsas go this one was pretty good, the only thing that struck me as odd is that it had absolutely no heat.
For dinner I had the Torta Cubana, a sandwich consisting of Carnitas, ham, chorizo, Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickled jalapenos and cilantro-lime mayo on a bolillo roll. The sandwich was definitely the highlight of this culinary adventure. The cilantro-lime mayo and slightly sweet mild heat of the pickled jalapenos complimented the mix of well-seasoned meats very well. The bolillo roll was also pretty great, I’m a big fan of baguettes and for those of you who may not know bolillo rolls are simply a variation of the baguette. It might be hard to tell, with nothing in the picture for reference, but this sandwich was very large. All in all, I think this excellent sandwich is well worth it’s $10 price tag and I would definitely order it again if I ever go back to El Topo.
To finish up dinner we ordered churros. The churros were too soft and doughy for my liking, they were also a bit bland. I was also not a fan of the chocolate sauce that came with the churros. If you were to eat here I’d pass on the churros.
The pringles machine that lies along El Topo’s back wall is actually a hidden doorway to, The Relief & Resource Co., a cozy neighborhood speakeasy.
The speakeasy had a cozy little vibe, it was pretty small but didn’t feel cramped at all. I was actually surprised at just how spacious it was, looking at the building from the outside you would never guess that the building could house two full restaurants. Another thing that surprised me was that The Relief & Resource Co. is a full-blown restaurant that serves food. Wanting to try the food but also having just eaten I decided to simply get an order of their house-made potato chips to go along with my sober cocktail.
I feel a bit like a jerk going to a decently upscale restaurant and complaining about their potato chips, but here we are. I really didn’t like the chips at all, they had this weird almost burnt caramel taste to them. The aioli was pretty bland and trying it only once on a single chip was enough for me.
I don’t drink so I had the wicked stepmother sober cocktail, it is green apple, ginger, honey, nutmeg, and Topo Chico. The flavor itself was pretty good, not too sweet or overpowering, but I think the price of $7 for a cocktail with no alcohol is pretty steep.
I definitely think visiting both El Topo and The Relief & Resource Co. is worthwhile, the whole experience is very unique. Being always eager to try new things if I ever wind up in Fenton again I might just skip El Topo all together and just check out The Relief & Resource Co.’s food selection instead.
Traveler. Hipster. Visionary.