It was a bone-chilling Friday night. I’d like to say my cupboard was bare, but it was just unappealing — pasta and tuna fish and a lot of cans of dog food.

So it didn’t take much convincing to decide it was a very good evening indeed to dip into the “fun money” for dinner at Karmadillos.

While many love to bask on Karmadillos’ deck in the summer, sipping beer or wine and drinking in the view of the Gulch and the South Hills, the restaurant is often forgotten in fall and winter.

But this is a particularly good time to enjoy its cozy confines.

Tucked into Reeder’s Alley, the restaurant’s Southwestern décor can transport you for an hour or so to Arizona, or perhaps over the border. Suddenly you are in a cafe in Merida or a few steps away from a beach in Playa del Carmen.

Of course, the rock ’n’ roll behind the counter does jar one’s mind back to Helena before it runs too wild.

Shortly after we sit down, a welcome basket of warm, golden tortilla chips arrives at the table accompanied by a dish of Karmadillos’ own zesty salsa.

And much as I told myself while walking there that I was going to try something new — perhaps the rellenos — I soon succumb to the familiar allure of the enchiladas.

Will it be the beef? Or the pulled pork? Or perhaps the camarones?

A few minutes later my two enchiladas arrive on a festive orange platter.

The tender, mildly spiced meat is wrapped in warm corn tortillas, and enveloped in a layer of melted cheese, with a drizzling of delicately flavored crème sauces — avocado, or chipotle peach or cumin — over the top.

The very satisfying meal comes with a side of creamy, mildly spiced black beans and Mexican rice with an attitude.

Yes, the enchiladas were the perfect decision!

Karmadillos is open for Saturday breakfast. Also lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Call 442-2595 or visit www.karmadillos.com.

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