Madres Restaurant's new location matches the charm of the original Friendswood eatery, dishing out the same elegant takes on lime-marinated ceviche, sizzling fajitas, and sauce-slathered enchiladas. After finishing off the last bacon-wrapped shrimp brochette, patrons can request that a chef wrap bacon around other Madres offerings, such as buffalo wings or glasses of red wine.
Skillets of fajitas sizzle on their way to the dining room's deep booths. Chords from a Spanish guitar spill from the bar as laughs roll out from one of three banquet rooms. On the patio, some 40 tables share their brick-paved pen with a mechanical bull that snarls at passersby and inflatable moonwalks filled with playful children.
Such is a typical evening at Las Rosas Mexican Restaurant, where an unmistakable energy charges the entire facility. The current begins in the kitchen, where each day chefs follow family recipes to churn out handmade tamales, tortillas, and red and green sauces. The vibe then pulses through the dining room, where a white stone fireplace anchors an open space flanked by booths and 13 60-inch TVs that broadcast games and events. The patio hosts alfresco dining and amusements for the young and young-at-heart who aren't afraid to tumble off a carnival ride in public.
The portable snack, originally crafted back in 1960 in a 2,000-square-foot building in Houston, is the popular pick among discriminating Texans, including Mayor Annise Parker and Governor Rick Perry. Alamo tamales also make a mouthwatering gift for anyone who enjoys the sensation of brushing his or her teeth but would rather use shredded chicken instead of toothpaste.
Known for its award-winning margaritas, Don Julio’s also wins guests over at several Texas locations with a variety of Mexican specialties, including guacamole made tableside. The chefs take pride in using fresh chicken, housemade chipotle sauce, seafood bought fresh at local Kemah markets, and a hearty amount of beans and avocado to flavor dishes. Entrees take their names from various Mexican cities, such as the Puerto Vallarta—a combination of enchiladas, tacos, tamales, and puffed chili con queso.
Mex Sea Co. Bar & Grill owner Ram Aguilera grew up amid the spicy aromas of Tex-Mex cuisine in Corpus Christi. Even as a child, he noted the myriad ways in which Texan chefs paid homage to their Mexican counterparts by blending the two regions' recipes together. Today, he continues the tradition with fresh, local seafood caught along the Texan coast.
Aguilera's recipes are as delicious as they are surprising. Take his fish tacos—a perennial fan favorite packed into housemade corn tortillas—or his arroz con pollo, which he dry-roasts and rubs with ancho peppers. Aguilera and his kitchen staff don't overlook dessert, dusting fried tortillas with cinnamon before serving them alongside a four-piece mariachi band.
Above all else, comfort food should taste familiar. Taqueria Taco-Riendo seems to embrace this philosophy wholeheartedly, filling the menu with faithful recreations of Mexican cuisine's best-known staples. However, familiarity doesn't make the flavors of chorizo, cilantro, and flour and corn tortillas any less hearty or more likely to share secrets. These ingredients appear throughout the menu, from tacos and tortas to fajitas and quesadillas. The taqueria presents diners with a selection of horchata, lemonade, and other drinks with which to wash down meals.