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.
When Andrés Cárdenas Guitrón emigrated to the United States from Mexico, he landed his first job as a dishwasher. He worked his way up the ranks to a food preparer, a cook’s assistant, and a chef before finally opening up his own restaurant. At Mazatlan, he dishes out family recipes that include grilled chimichangas, crab enchiladas, and steak picado christened in a Spanish sauce.
At the PADI-certified Bubbles Below center, instructors help to illuminate the art of breathing under water for divers of all skill levels. Beginners can drop in for discover scuba lessons, which familiarize students with the fundamentals of safe diving. Certification programs prep more experienced practitioners for unassisted open-water plunges, and local dives invite advanced explorers to stop by, strap on some flippers, and get some practice for their next underwater board meeting.
Radiant blue light glows through towering tequila bottles lining the bar at Blue Tequila as servers unveil an array of authentic Mexican dishes. Copiloted feast flights take off with appetizers such as beef bits or deluxe nachos piled high with fresh guacamole, sliced tomatoes, melted cheese, and a meaty base of chicken, beef, or picadillo. Tablemates then strap in for substantially portioned entrees, ranging from steaming steak fajitas to the vegetarian-friendly black bean quesadilla. After forks and knives clink victoriously against empty plates, diners qualify for one shareable serving of deep-fried ice cream, banana wraps, or Paradise chimichangas, providing sweetness only previously attainable by wrestling a pixy stick to the ground.
Gallo de Oro's chefs know that not everyone can make a pilgrimage south of the border, but there’s no reason why they can’t eat like a local anyway. That’s why the chefs take such care with their sprawling menu of traditional Mexican cuisine. Marinated and grilled chicken, strips of top sirloin, or prawns with mushrooms mingle with green peppers and onions and are ready to be rolled into fajitas. The chefs’ other specialties include braised pork loin, arroz con pollo, and burritos stuffed with chicken, beef, veggies, and pork. In addition to daily meals, Gallo de Oro also hosts dancing and karaoke nights every Friday and Saturday, as customers gather and belt out their favorite renditions of the keyboard solo from “White Wedding.”