A Taste of Mexico, Falun Style

Pipestone Flyer

    Just west of the hamlet of Falun, approximately thirty-six (36) kilometers west of Wetaskiwin, is a collection of buildings on the north side of Highway 13 displaying signs advertising ‘authentic’ Mexican cuisine.  At a quick glance, the site doesn’t appear to be anything special but none-the-less the signs and colorful yellow buildings entice cars to leave the highway and have many curious people checking it out. This family owned and operated restaurant brags their food is, “as authentic Mexican as North Americans will accept”, referring to peppery hot sauces which are served as a side dish.

    A visit to the  La Casa De Maria restaurant is an interesting dining experience.  Head chef, Maria Gustafson is originally from Mexico where she began her cooking career. Brady Gustafson, her husband, explains. “Maria used to have a BBQ in Mexico and each day she and the kids would take their little cart 2 kilometers down to the local market to sell Mexican food. They would do this all day and be lucky if they made 6 dollars before hauling everything home again.”

    Maria, seeking an improved lifestyle for her and her daughters, Karina and Alejandra, came to Canada, met and  married Brady and has found exactly what she was looking for.  Brady explains. “The objective with our restaurant is to earn enough money to put our kids through college. The youngest Alejandra is in Christian College in Three Hills and plans to go into journalism. The older daughter is registered in Red Deer College with the goal of entering medical studies.” 

    “When we got married we had a residence in Ma-Me-O Beach across the street from the park. When all the restaurants closed there, I went on the internet and found one of those New York style hot dog carts and ordered one.  When the weather was nice the girls and I would load the cart up and the girls started selling Mexican food and playing music. People loved it and it became a hit.”

    As the business expanded, Maria started “Marvelous Mexican Monday” in the upstairs floor of the restaurant across the street from the park and overlooking Pigeon Lake. We eventually bought the property we are now on and moved the liquor store here from next to the Falun Co-op, and began the remodelling and building process.” Brady operates a liquor store adjacent to the restaurant. Maria  told this reporter that she needs to go to Edmonton to get authentic Mexican ingredients. 

    Maria has a vision for the seasonal restaurant that opened in the middle of July of 2012 and in April of 2013; providing 100% authentic food that is 100% fresh. “People expect that of us. Also every Friday and Saturday night I try to do something special or different from the regular items on the menu.”  The special on July 12, 2013 featured meatballs filled with cream cheese with tomato and chipotle sauce, Mexican rice, Mexican fried beans (3 cheese) and for dessert, Mexican Flan, a cheese cake with caramel…and all for $10.

    “With my food I never make it hot as many are unacustomed to the hot spices.  I make it flavorful but nothing hot.  In Mexico we love to do hot but here we have the hot sauce on the side.  It’s the spices I cook with that make the food very flavorful.” Maria makes her own special hot sauce using, “the hottest pepper in Mexico, the Habanero”.   

    Maria, her two daughters and other staff are intent on providing guests with authentic Mexican style smiles and attentive service. “Absolutely authentic food. We do serve American food such as hamburgers and hot dogs but our focus is on authentic Mexican food.”

Some highlights to watch for on a visit to La Casa De Maria

    Enjoy a summer afternoon or evening on the 650 square foot patio equipped with mosquito netting and a large mosquito machine. Maria’s special homemade hot sauce (a must for the very brave). Maria’s special desserts (leave room for these).Watch for the Friday and Saturday specials that are not on the regular menu. Panchos – tortilla chips, melted cheddar cheese, Jalapenos, chicken/pork or beef, salsa, guacamole and beans (just the correct amount of each ingredient).

    Encourage Brady to tell his story about the ups and downs as a professional musician that took him across North America and finally landing in Falun (but allow enough time as Brady has packed many more years of living into his present age than most people in a lifetime).

Just Posted

Heat warning issued for Wetaskiwin region May 22

Could be 29 degrees or higher, some relief Friday

Wetaskiwin B&E suspect charged with seven counts of violating probation

Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to a break and enter and suspicious vehicle

Millet association raising funds for all-terrain fire vehicle

Millet Veteran Firefighters Association estimates $35,000 cost

Trial for man accused of 2006 Eckville murder “unreasonably delayed”

Lacombe’s Shayne Gulka is awaiting trial for the 2006 murder of Bradley Webber

New Wetaskiwin area UCP association created May 17

Bill Moore elected president of Maskwacis Wetaskiwin UCP Association

VIDEO: Canadians rise for early-morning Royal wedding celebrations

Canadians gathered for early-morning broadcast of marriage between Meghan Markle, Prince Harry

Pipeline more important than premiers meeting: Notley

“Canada has to work for all Canadians, that’s why we’re fighting for the pipeline”

Canadian government spending tens of millions on Facebook ads

From January 2016 to March 2018, feds spent more than $24.4 million on Facebook and Instagram ads

B.C. sues Alberta over bill that could ‘turn oil taps off’

Lawsuit is the latest move in the two provinces’ ongoing feud over the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Liberal government introduces measures to update Canada’s family laws

Justice officials say there have not been substantial updates to federal family laws in 20 years

Teen must repay $37M for starting Oregon wildfire

A teenager who started a major wildfire in Oregon has been ordered to pay restitution

Canada’s G7 goal on development: luring private capital to poor nations

G7 finance and international development ministers convene in British Columbia next week

Congressional leaders to review information on Russia probe

Trump said he will “demand” that the Justice Department open an investigation into whether the FBI infiltrated his presidential campaign

Canadians stranded in Cuba after plane crash returning home

Montreal-based travel agency says hundreds of Canadians who were stuck in Cuba since a plane crash last week are returning home

Most Read