Like a tortilla-chip-tipped compass rose, Carlito's Burritos' menu guides you through authentic New Mexican fare. Go green or stop at red when selecting your chile for a stuffed sopapilla—fried bread caulked full your choice of meat and smothered in chile ($5.95/$6.95 with steak)—or a signature Carlito's burrito heartily wrapped with your choice of meat plus cheese and chile ($5.95/$6.95 steak). Regulars rarely leave a plate lonely; they pair it with a sopapilla dulce served sweet with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar ($2 each).
Zaba's Mexican Grill caters to south-of-the-border buffs with a blend of Mexican, South-Western, and Tex-Mex flavors. The friendly cooks prepare all menu items with fresh ingredients, including the made-from-scratch salsas, sauces, beans, and guacamole. The illustrious burrito swaddles meat, veggies or shrimp, along with sour cream, pinto or black beans, salsa, cheese, and lettuce with a cushiony whole-wheat or flour shell ($6.79 chicken; $6.99 steak/beef, $7.99 for grilled shrimp or fish) and the fish taco dishes out a taste of the Gulf, minus the essence of discarded five-irons, with lightly battered cod, fresh pico de gallo, homemade chipotle-ranch sauce, cabbage, and limes ($2.89 single). Most signature dishes have meatless siblings, including the vegetarian burrito ($5.99) and vegetarian salad ($6.29). Sweet potatoes, brown rice, and whole-wheat tortillas add to the healthy goodness.
Chefs at Abuela's Tacos pair made-to-order tortillas with eight styles of meats to craft satisfyingly simple, authentic Mexican dishes. Abuela’s versatile tortillas transform into tacos (starting at $2.50), burritos (starting at $5.50), quesadillas ($4.50), or chips and salsa ($1.75). Any of Abuela's protein-based meal anchors can find respite in the restful wrap of a soft tortilla or the firm embrace of its toasted cousin. Abuela's tenderly grills its asada with perfectly measured seasoning to produce succulent, seasoned juices. Cooked for 3.5 hours, barbacoa challenges the world's best boyfriends with its tender disposition, smoldering charm, and unusually long primping time. Customers who color inside the lines can order grilled chicken or venture beyond the border with Abuela's popular lengua (cow tongue). The al pastor marinates in sweet spices and imparts its tender taste to saccharin-savoring teeth. Top-selling chicharron verde simmers on the stovetop for an hour before being swaddled in a tortilla, garnished with chili verde and plated. Breaded and fried fish or shrimp can festoon each of the three entree choices ($.99 extra on tacos or burritos). Bowls ($5.50) can substitute for tortillas where carbohydrates are not welcome.
Tequila trains and lifeguard whistles herald a menu of Mexicali cuisine at Coconuts Beach Bar & Mexican Grill, where bartenders mix more than 100 specialty cocktails and milkshakes amid festive, tropical-themed surroundings. Ocean-fresh shrimp, scallops, and mahi-mahi swim in the ceviche’s fragrant lochs of citrus and tomato juice, priming palates alongside pots of guacamole mashed with avocadoes raised in California by a pack of wild tortillas. Tacos and burritos deck themselves in fresh cuts of chicken, fish, and asada accompanied by cabo sauce, fire-roasted salsa, and baja slaw. After marinating for 48 hours, the 12-ounce skirt steak careens across tongues on the kaleidoscopic waves of mojitos, martinis, and one of 20 house margaritas. Coconut vodka and banana rum anchor a slew of adult-rated milkshakes, providing a fruity alternative to the rubber cement that thickens the shakes of more old-fashioned ice-cream shops.
La Salsa Cantina's menu brims with Mexican fare such as soft tacos, creamy guacamole, and burritos bursting at the flour-seams. Chefs mash avocados before mixing in tomatoes and herbs for a seasoned guacamole dip, which travels safely from plate to mouth via tortilla-chip freight carrier. Dining pairs can attack a grande burrito—an agglomeration of mexican rice, black beans, cheese, and a choice of meat—or nosh on meat-free fare, such as a fajita salad with roasted red, green, and poblano peppers. In the enchiladas rojas dish, a pair of red-sauce drizzled corn tortillas blot out the sun with sizable portions of jack and cheddar cheese, and combination platters rent out space to culinary roommates, including a baja fish taco and shrimp enchilada. The La Salsa "Real" margarita cools off overworked jaws with house gold tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and a house-made sweet and sour mix, served frozen or on the rocks.