by: Photo By Susan Matheny - La Hacienda Chef and co-owner Gonzalo Vazquez-Nunez

   Authentic Mexican food at economy prices is the specialty of La Hacienda, which opened April 3, in Madras.
   Owners Gonzalo Vazquez-Nunez of Redmond and Jubenal Castaneda of Bend chose to open in Madras because there was no other place serving their style of Mexican cooking. Chef Vazquez-Nunez has been cooking for 12 years, created the menu for Cheerleaders in Bend and helped Madalina's Grill and Steakhouse in Redmond get started.
   "I was always opening successful restaurants for other people and finally I decided to open one myself," he said.
   Prior to being a chef, Vazquez-Nunez worked picking grapes and pears, as a logging choke setter, and in construction. He has been in Central Oregon since 1987.
   He is buying a house in Redmond, but said if business is good at La Hacienda, he plans to move to Madras.
   Menu specialties include Mar y Tierra, a rib eye steak with prawns, which he said is "a huge plate, one of our best." In the seafood category, La Hacienda Camarones is a dish of prawns cooked with butter, garlic and mushrooms, and the seafood Chimichanga is another favorite. The Delux Burrito and Chilie Relleno Burrito are guaranteed to fill the hungriest diner, and other items include Chicken en Mole, and numerous combination plates.
   Sample everything from the daily lunch menu which has all the same items, but in smaller portions with reduced prices.
   Call ahead to have your take-out meal waiting when you arrive to pick it up.
   La Hacienda is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday (closed Monday), at 35 SE D Street, near the ballet studio. The business phone is 475-0351.
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