Hass avocados, cilantro, and fresh lime juice are just a few ingredients diners might recognize as a chef whips up guacamole right before their eyes at Poblano's Mexican Bar & Grill. From the restaurant's grill come specialty dishes including the alambre mixto, a dish typically found in Mexico City that combines grilled steak, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo with grilled peppers, pineapples, and melted cheese. The taqueria offers up five suggestions for specialty tacos that include carne asada, pork carnitas, shrimp, sliced pork, and grilled fish. Poblano's also delivers fresh flavors via catering for special events such as luncheons, parties, or the day fifth graders win their citizenship by reciting the preamble to the Constitution.
Before becoming the proprietors of Villa Del Mar Mexican Grill, Marcos and Mary Medina traveled all over Mexico to find recipes that would supplement their old-fashioned family culinary traditions. One of their two children might deliver the chips and salsa or hand-smashed guacamole that precede signature dishes such as the mole poblano: chicken in a housemade sauce with seven types of chilies and seven types of spices. Diners use their hands or a rope-and-pulley system made out of straw sleeves and napkin holders to lift bites of silverware-free fare including fried corn sope with chorizo, pausing only to sip limonada made with freshly squeezed lime juice and pure-cane sugar.
The bright-orange and yellow walls hold a plethora of Mexican-style art and old photographs. They have been painted to appear as though patches of brick are peeking through, giving the space a welcoming, rustic feel.
The chefs at Flying Burrito cultivate a spicy menu of mouth-watering Southwestern cuisine. The freighter of rolled cuisine, known as the flying burrito, swoops onto tables with a cargo-load of hand-pulled beef, pinto beans, salsa, melted cheese, sour cream, green onions, lettuce, and tomato ($7). Juan's avocado ensalada leads leafy compatriots to victory with fresh ahi tuna or shrimp, and avocado, red peppers, tomato, green onions, queso fresco, and mixed greens served in a flour tortilla shell with lemon-cilantro vinaigrette or jalapeño ranch dressing ($9). The crispy fried-fish tacos accommodate two flour or corn tortillas slathered in yucatan slaw, habanero mayo, lettuce, and tomato ($7), and the Azteca enchiladas sing a vegetarian ballad of broccoli, zucchini, squash, carrots, melted cheese, black beans, mashed sweet potatoes, and a choice of red mole or spicy vegetarian green chili ($8). Stodgy palates receive a wakeup call when confronted with the sweet burrito⎯-a fried, cheesecake-filled tortilla topped with cinnamon, sugar, chocolate syrup, and two scoops of vanilla ice cream ($5).
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
K Panchos Mexican Restaurant offers hearty south-of-America fare in a cozily homey atmosphere. Head in on a lunch break to try one of many lunch specials, such as the Speedy Gonzales, which places one taco and one enchilada on a flavorful foodbed of either spanish rice or fried beans ($4.99). Steak or chicken fajitas seamlessly synthesize tender meats and freshly fired veggies ($10.50), and 27 combination dinners provide an endless matrix of subtly spiced suppers. Vegetarian options, such as two salsa-topped bean burritos with cheese dip ($7.25), abound for meat-avoiding plantavores, and K Panchos’ friendly, helpful staff can also help you decide on an entree, name for your dog, or high-altitude wedding venue.