The windows of the tiny, tucked-away Lucy’s Tamale Factory remain perpetually fogged. Inside, Lucy and her staff of cooks dart from stovetop to stovetop, steaming massive pots of traditional Mexican tamales—fluffy, authentic cornmeal street fare filled with chicken, pork, or jalapeño. The cooks mix masa and shred meats to craft the treats, winners of numerous awards across the U.S., which emulate the tamales Lucy’s family has made for generations in Durango, Mexico. Their hard work has paid off; their classic handheld delights with no preservatives have earned accolades from festivals and fares across the US. Patrons bustle in and out of their shop to order the tamales individually or by the dozen for special events such as large parties or events where people are required to construct their own hats out of cornhusks.
Plaza Garibaldi Restaurant was named for the renowned plaza in Mexico, where droves of bright color-clad mariachis gather to belt out soulful ballads and serenade passersby. A nod to its namesake, the cheerful Mexican eatery features live mariachi performances every weekend—boisterous affairs complete with music, margaritas, and authentic Mexican dishes. A live mariachi show entertains diners Thursday through Sunday evenings beneath the vivid murals and Mexican artwork that decorate the walls. Bartenders stay just as busy behind the cherry wood bar, doling out sips from their selection of more than 100 tequilas and blending spices, lime juice, and clamato into massive micheladas.
While these festivities transpire in the dining room, chefs are hard at work in the kitchen. They fold handmade tortillas and housemade sauces into a sweeping variety of Mexican specialties, from creamy enchiladas rancheras to tender steak fajitas. They extend their culinary expertise toward an array of authentic seafood dishes, including a mixed seafood parrillada that serves four to five adults or one baby that hasn’t learned to share yet. For dessert, the chefs whip up warm pastries and sweet housemade flan.
For more than 50 years, the cooks at Guadalajara Market & Bakery have been wrapping carne asada, rice, and beans in soft tortillas for their signature jumbo burritos and spreading tangy guacamole over crisp chicken flautas. Beneath red tile eaves and graceful archways designed to mimic the atmosphere of a Mexican village square, they plate tostadas de ceviche and sizzling fajitas with beef, chicken, and shrimp. From the full bar, servers tote margaritas and micheladas alongside domestic and imported brews, which go well with tortilla chips and cheese, just as a crime-fighting dog joins the one human who can understand him.
It's been featured on the Travel Channel. It's 18 inches long—longer than most human newborns. It weighs in at a little more than five pounds. It's a burrito.
This monster, which goes by the name Burritozilla, is the signature dish at Iguanas. Chefs fill every square inch of the three tortillas required to contain it with hearty scoops of meat, salsa, sour cream, cheese, rice. beans, and guacamole. Many have stepped up to conquer the dish, from terrified local university students to Man v. Food's Adam Richman. But, with the understanding that not everyone would be able to defeat this oversized burrito, the Iguanas menu also holds creative interpretations of more manageably portioned Mexican classics.
Seven hand-trimmed meats—including grilled Angus-beef carne asada, tomatillo-braised pork, shredded chicken in spicy chipotle sauce, and carnitas—stuff tacos, tortas, and quesadillas. They also lounge atop nachos and even nacho fries. All this cheesy, juicy decadence aside, Iguanas’ menu is also big enough to include light, crisp taco salads and bitsy Baby Burritos and Tiny Tacos, the perfect size for kids or anyone who wants to make the Burritozilla look that much bigger.