A tortilla makes a handy mouse pad, an acceptable patch for stiff denim jeans, and, if you draw a face on it, an ideal companion on fishing trips. But there are many other uses for it, as today's Groupon proves: for $20, you get $40 worth of creative cocktails and contemporary Mexican cuisine at Barrio’s elegant Capitol Hill and Bellevue eateries.
It's not every day that an aroma can pose a question. Upon stepping into Plaza Garcia Family Mexican Restaurant, the smell of baking tortillas instantly compels diners to ask themselves: do I want to fill those steamy flour blankets with char-grilled beef, marinated chicken, or lime-infused shrimp? Wood-carved booths and colorful murals of adobe villages create an ideal backdrop for mulling over this important decision as diners snack on homemade chips and chunky pico de gallo. Once their gaze tapers off the lively décor and settles onto the menu, an overwhelming choice of enchiladas, fajitas, and other traditional entrees springs forth to lend a choice of beef, chicken, or seafood centerpieces. Meanwhile, margaritas splashed with racy tequilas mingle with other libations to give customers the courage to croon tortilla-themed love ballads during karaoke, which occurs every Saturday night at the Woodinville location.
The recipes at Chilitos Mexican Restaurant chart a trail from Guadalajara, Mexico, to chef Carlos Padilla’s kitchen. Chef Padilla infuses these recipes with 25 years of culinary experience, stuffing Anaheim chili peppers with cheese and dipping them in egg batter before topping their crisp shells in homemade sauce. Over the grill, the chef and his team flame-broil steaks and pork loin topped with a green sauce of tomatillos, peppers, and onions, while mixologists pour classic Sauza margaritas as well as strawberry- and banana-flavored cocktails at the bar. Once a month, a band of mariachis perform, serenading couples with romantic ballads and practical tips for joint-filing tax returns.
For more than a quarter century, the Arias family has served a menu of classic Mexican cuisine at El Farol Mexican Restaurant. Plates full of enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos add their own colors to a space where bold and bright oranges, greens, and blues are splashed across the walls. A spicy shrimp dish, camarones a la diabla, leads a list of more upscale dinner feasts, including sirloin steak infused with cayenne pepper, and burgers, chimichangas, and tacos head the lunch menu. Patrons can quench their thirst with the usual suspects, such as beer, Jarritos, horchata, or a fire hydrant.
At La Luna, chef Luis Castro transports tongues across the border with enchiladas, slow-roasted short ribs, and housemade mole sauce. Inside or on an outdoor patio, guests bite into burritos and grilled chicken garnished with locally sourced ingredients, served alongside glasses of agave-distilled spirits such as mescal and more than 60 types of tequila. La Luna's mixologists blend 100% agave tequila with fresh seasonal fruits, creating margaritas as powerful as a tractor outfitted with a jet engine.