Does your local Mexican/TexMex restaurant serve a "Steven('s) Special"?
September 28, 2017 1:44 PM   Subscribe

Does your local Mexican/TexMex restaurant serve a "Steven('s) Special"? I'm deliberately not describing the dish because I want to know if it appears on your local menu under that specific name. If so, where are you?

Ideally & ultimately I'm trying to determine the origin of the dish's name, first narrowing down a geographic area for instances of this nomenclature may be useful in my search.
posted by radiosilents to Food & Drink (73 answers total)
 
No, for such restaurants in greater Tampa in the 80s, Chapel Hill/Durham in the 90s, Denton TX in the 00s, and greater Buffalo in the 2010s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:48 PM on September 28


I've never seen a dish with that name in any Mexican restaurant. Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Southern California.

Looking at the description of the dish (don't click on the link if you want to participate in the poll) I've never seen a dish similar to this on a West Coast USA Mexican restaurant menu.
posted by blob at 1:49 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Not here in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.
posted by Janta at 1:50 PM on September 28


I've never heard of it, having been to many Tex Mex restaurants in Northern (Bay Area) California and (mostly northern) New England.
posted by brainmouse at 1:54 PM on September 28


I lived in Arkansas for awhile as a kid and this was A Thing there. I never saw it anywhere else in the South where we lived (North and South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida) nor in the west coast.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 1:54 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


No in Wisconsin or Illinois or Montana. Never heard of it.
posted by AFABulous at 1:55 PM on September 28


Not in South-Central Texas (roughly from Austin to Corpus Christi and west to Houston) or Western PA.

Peeking at the link, there is a component of that dish that I have never seen in any form on any dish in any style of Mexican restaurant I've ever been to. But I grant that I've never been to the state where this blogger lives.
posted by muddgirl at 1:56 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Yahoo answers claims it's regional to Arkansas and Oklahoma.
posted by blob at 1:57 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I have not seen this in any Mexican restaurant in Alabama that I have tried.
posted by ndfine at 1:57 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Not in Massachusetts or New Hampshire that I've seen,
posted by clone boulevard at 1:58 PM on September 28


Reporting from San Francisco's most taqueria-heavy neighborhood: Never heard of it, never seen it on a menu.
posted by rtha at 1:58 PM on September 28


Not seen it here in the San Francisco Bay Area, or Houston and Dallas, or Kansas City.
posted by shoesietart at 1:59 PM on September 28


Not in East Texas 70s-80s, North Texas 90s-2011, San Diego or Los Angeles since then. We don't get a lot of Tex-Mex here anyway.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:00 PM on September 28


And having looked at the recipe, that starch format is not a thing I have ever seen, because I would have eaten the hell out of that.
posted by Lyn Never at 2:01 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Nope, not in Omaha, and not in San Jose.
posted by Ipsifendus at 2:07 PM on September 28


Nope, not in Ohio, Kentucky, DC area, or Houston area
posted by mkuhnell at 2:08 PM on September 28


I didn't see that anywhere in southern CT / RI, 2000-2010.
posted by batter_my_heart at 2:09 PM on September 28


Never seen it in many parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, upstate New York, Indiana, Kentucky, or Michigan.
posted by cooker girl at 2:09 PM on September 28


Never heard of it in eastern Iowa, Maryland, or western North Dakota.
posted by epj at 2:10 PM on September 28


No in Maine
posted by unreasonable at 2:15 PM on September 28


I’ve been to Mexican restaurants throughout California and one or two in Western Nevada; never heard of it.
posted by notyou at 2:15 PM on September 28


I live in New York City (the Bronx) and I have never seen it in my local Mexican restaurant, nor anywhere else in the city or suburbs, Mexican or Tex-Mex. I lived in Chicago for five years, and I don't recall ever seeing it there.
posted by zorseshoes at 2:35 PM on September 28


No in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 2:35 PM on September 28


Not in Ohio.
posted by ceramicblue at 2:36 PM on September 28


No from Colorado
posted by LKWorking at 2:38 PM on September 28


Not in Alabama.
posted by gregr at 2:48 PM on September 28


SoCal reporting in with a big nope.
posted by vignettist at 2:49 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


not in any of the several Mexican (and "Mexican") restaurants in my central Iowa town with a large Hispanic population.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 2:51 PM on September 28


Rick Bayless country checking in. Nope.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:52 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


No from central or West NC the last 20 years.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 2:53 PM on September 28


I live in Phoenix, AZ so have eaten at many, many, MANY Mexican restaurants. I've never seen this.
posted by TurquoiseZebra at 2:53 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


I attended college in Oklahoma City and don't recall seeing it there ever.
posted by tacodave at 2:54 PM on September 28


Nope in Seattle.
posted by lois1950 at 2:58 PM on September 28


Not seen it here in Northern Indiana.
posted by wwax at 3:11 PM on September 28


As TurquoiseZebra says, I've never seen a dish of that name on the menu in Sonoran restaurants in Tucson, Arizona.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:17 PM on September 28 [2 favorites]


that starch format is not a thing I have ever seen

I've seen arroz con pollo, and there's a Mexico City restaurant here that does some yummy things with chicken and a white cotija-like cheese, but no Steven involved.
posted by Squeak Attack at 3:22 PM on September 28


Never heard of it in MA, never heard of it in NOLA.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 3:23 PM on September 28


not in la....but the key component isn't usually on Mexican restaurants there.
posted by brujita at 3:27 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Never heard of it anywhere I've lived (MA, OR, MD, CA).
posted by suelac at 3:28 PM on September 28


Not in San Francisco, not in Oakland, not in Atlanta. (I've also lived in Philadelphia and Boston but didn't eat much Mexican food back then.)
posted by madcaptenor at 3:33 PM on September 28


No in the Denver/Boulder area. Plus one restaurant in Santa Fe, but that was 40 years ago.
posted by Bruce H. at 3:33 PM on September 28


My partner, from Southwest Arkansas, says that they don't call it that where she's from but that Velveeta and Rotel are definitely an Arkansas thing. It might have caught on at the University of Arkansas.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:36 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Oddly, I have zero recollection of this despite having lived in Arkansas (the part with Mexican restaurants on every corner) and Oklahoma for most of my life. I used to eat a lot of Mexican food, too. Strange, though it could be a thing in the southern parts of the two states since I rarely went much south of Fort Smith (at least not when I'd be eating out someplace that takes longer than Sonic), aside from occasional trips to Pine Bluff.

(Post link clicking) I have seen dishes that include elements of the linked dish, but never together under that name, for what it's worth. The thing that is described as the unique part isn't uncommon IME.
posted by wierdo at 3:36 PM on September 28


The Velveeta-and-Rotel cheese dip is Arkansan enough to have an entry in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas. There's even a cheese dip trail.
posted by madcaptenor at 3:39 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


Not in Virginia, DC, or Boston.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 3:45 PM on September 28


Colorado's covered as a no, so I'll add Kansas as a no to the list.
posted by rewil at 4:27 PM on September 28


Not in SoCal.
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:02 PM on September 28


Not in Oklahoma City, Central Florida, or the Denver area.
posted by ThatSomething at 5:56 PM on September 28


Not in OR, AZ, FL or MD.
posted by OrangeDisk at 6:16 PM on September 28


The Velveeta-and-Rotel cheese dip is Arkansan enough to have an entry in the Encyclopedia of Arkansas.

(The cheese dip that Arkansas lays claim to dates back to the 1930s. Ro-tel was started in the 1940s, and was only available in Texas until 1956, when it expanded to other areas like Arkansas.)

Oh, and the Steven Special is unheard of in El Paso.
posted by 23skidoo at 6:48 PM on September 28


Not in Texas, not in western or central Washington State.
posted by halogen at 6:54 PM on September 28


Velveeta and Rotel is ubiquitous throughout Texas. But I’ve never seen it used as in this dish or seen a dish by that name anywhere in Texas, from Corpus to Houston to Dallas and back to Corpus. Haven’t seen it in Chicago or DC, either.
posted by devinemissk at 6:55 PM on September 28


No in Chicago or Los Angeles. Then I looked at the picture and I have never seen anything like that in a Mexican restaurant by any name in those areas.
posted by davejay at 7:01 PM on September 28


3rding, not in Alabama where I live, or NW Florida where I frequently travel.
posted by randomkeystrike at 7:03 PM on September 28


Nope. In Austin & San Antonio, all the Mexican restaurants that have a “Someone’s Special,” it’s generally named for its creator, usually an owner, or cook at the establishment.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:15 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Not in SF Bay Area or Southeast Louisiana.
posted by radioamy at 8:26 PM on September 28


Not in Western New York, Central New York, Georgia, or Tennessee.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:29 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


No from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin.
posted by augustimagination at 8:59 PM on September 28


No from Arizona, New Mexico, Northern California or for god's sake Minnesota.
posted by padraigin at 9:45 PM on September 28


Nope from Central California, Seattle, Chicago, Long Island, Upstate NY.
Am now *dying* to click the descriptor link!
posted by jrobin276 at 12:03 AM on September 29


No mention of a "Steven/Stephen" special in the cookbook/history The Tex-Mex Cookbook.

I've never heard of this special in Texas or in Georgia.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:47 AM on September 29


I live in Arkansas (and was in Missouri) and have never heard of a "Steven's Special" after going to quite a few Mexican restaurants (not Big Chains, but smaller ones that all seem to have the same decor and same printed menu).

Then I clicked on the blog link that included a description of the meal and immediately said "Oh yeah! That's everywhere around here!" (not as pretty as the blog presents it though!).

So, didn't recognize it by name but definitely by sight.
posted by MultiFaceted at 3:35 AM on September 29


Velveeta and Rotel aka "queso" is a modern Tex Mex classic, but the way it's served in Stevens Special is definitely a unique twist.
posted by muddgirl at 4:09 AM on September 29


No for Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio in TX. No for Maryland and upstate NY. I've never seen it anywhere in CA, NV or NYC, but I suppose there are mexican restaurants in those places that I haven't been to.
posted by ubiquity at 6:23 AM on September 29


No, and I've eaten at various Mexican places in every place I've lived (and visited, but those would be too many to remember/mention): Philadelphia, Delaware, Chicago, DC and No. VA, Boston.
posted by Pax at 7:18 AM on September 29


No in San Francisco, Oakland, Berkeley, Fresno and St. Paul/Minneapolis through this year. No for Juneau, Ketchikan, Sitka and Anchorage through '94-96. Travels through the years include the states of Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, and Wyoming. I have not encountered it in any of Mexican restaurants in my international travels. But I have not tried all the restaurants in the area.
posted by jadepearl at 7:47 AM on September 29


Not in NJ, NY, or PA area. Not in Phoenix/AZ area. But sure as hell something that I want to put in my mouth. You bet your ass I'm gonna try and make queso rice this weekend.
posted by rachaelfaith at 8:43 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


What the hell? No, never seen it. I've lived in Houston 23 years, and I doubt anywhere here would make that for you even if you asked. ;)

(Also not found in MS or AL, where I lived before.)
posted by uberchet at 10:19 AM on September 29


Never in Boston, Philadelphia, NYC
posted by rmless at 11:04 AM on September 29


I worked in a Mexican restaurant in Michigan in the '90s. If someone had asked for Steven's Special, I would have assumed they wanted cocaine.
posted by klangklangston at 9:28 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


no from VA/MD/PA/NY/VT/MA/NM/northern cali at any point from the mid 80s through til this very moment
but now i'm going to look it up for sure.
posted by halation at 9:23 AM on September 30


It looks like it might be a University of Arkansas thing. See this comment from late afternoon dreaming hotel on an askme thread a couple weeks later.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:58 PM on October 16


I have never seen this dish by any name in VA. But this thread and Blob's link did inspire me to make Steven's Chicken for dinner tonight. Delicious!
posted by JennyJupiter at 3:24 PM on October 21


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