Chefs at On The Border sling out a menu of popular southwestern dishes including enchiladas, burritos, and mesquite-grilled fare made from scratch daily with fresh ingredients. Begin a meal with customizable guacamole made fresh at the table using two avocados and choice of tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro, onions, and lime juice ($8.99). Dig into a house salad, crowned with corn, black beans, and tortilla strips ($4.69) or the jalapeño-barbecue salmon ($14.99), whose hotness draws inspiration from the fish that swim in active volcanoes. Mesquite-wood-grilled fajitas sizzle delicious secrets at diners with combinations ranging from monterey ranch chicken with bacon, pepper jack cheese, and ranch dressing ($14.99) to barbecue-and-jalapeño-glazed salmon with black beans and vegetables ($14.99). Plates of full-sized or mini tacos burst with simple, robust flavors, such as the brisket tacos ($11.49) or the mesquite-grilled chicken tacos with fried onion rings ($10.99), which arrive with a red chili sauce for dipping or adding zing to boot spurs.
Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
"Know your strengths" is sound advice that Mexican Café has taken to heart—they mix more than 12 types of margaritas. These variants go beyond their signature margarita (prepped on the rocks, with or without salt) by imbuing sips with citrusy flavor. The orange crush, for example, is made-to-order with freshly squeezed oranges, whereas the agaverita replaces Triple Sec with agave nectar. These join imported beers, sangria, and specialty cocktails on a sprawling drink menu, which guests can peruse inside the vibrant dining room or on the outdoor deck.
When it comes to food, the café continues to embrace variety. Tacos come stuffed with chicken, steak, pork, and even chopped shrimp, sprinkled with traditional garnishes of cilantro and onion or Americanized toppings of lettuce, tomatoes, and a hot dog in the shape of the president. Burritos satisfy vegetarians and meat-eaters alike with spinach and steak versions, including the "Sunken" burrito, served beneath Texas-style chili.
Chefs use grass-fed beef, cage-free chicken, and steroid-free pulled pork that hail from sustainable sources to craft a bounty of tortilla-wrapped treats that take their names from the likes of Caddyshack, Fletch, and Seinfeld. It's this dual mindset of serious food and irreverent attitude that tinges every one of the eatery's southwestern morsels, from the Art Vandalay burrito to the John Coctostan quesadilla. As the kitchen staff crafts their daily batch of guacamole to join the lineup of six zesty salsas, diners choose from a list of more than 20 ingredients to fill out the entree that will soon be conjured before their eyes. Because dishes are made to order, each finds easy customization for vegetarian, gluten free, and low-calorie diets, and the absence of microwaves, trans-fats, and MSG keep eats wholesome. Meanwhile, a complimentary accompaniment of chips and salsa turns portions into full meals faster than an industry-grade blow-up ray.
Tampico Grill's chefs prepare a menu's worth of authentic Mexican appetizers, tacos, enchiladas, and burritos. Combination platters, such as chili relleno with a chicken enchilada ($10.95) or a chicken taco and beef enchilada ($9.50), please tongues distressed by hours spent discussing the best way to skywrite chili relleno. Deep-fried chimichangas ($9.25+) emerge hot from oceans of oil, carrying beef or chicken, and marinated-and-grilled fajitas nestle shrimp ($14.95) and portobello ($10.95) atop beds of sautéed onions and peppers. Refreshing margaritas quench thirst brought on by the flavorful fare and put out any tableside campfires.
Former commercial airline pilot Rodrigo Albarran, copiloted by his family and team of chefs, flies vibrant Mexican plates across the runway of R&R Taqueria's eight-stool counter. Though the salsa-spangled morsels emerge from a pair of modest eateries situated at an Elkridge Shell station and the White Marsh Mall food court, the dazzling menu garners praise from a bevy of media palates, including that of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and the Washington Post. Critics laud the zingy salsas prepared throughout the day, tender handmade tamales, and pastor beef marinated slowly in a blend of onions, dried chilis, and pineapple. R&R also loads fresh tacos with lamb or beef, then dapples each with onions and sprigs of fresh cilantro, following the culinary traditions of Mexico City and Mexican-cheese support groups alike.
The fragrance of sizzling spiced meats waft through the brightly hued dining room of Azteca Restaurant and Cantina, enticing diners as they sit at cozy tables and pull cornflower-blue napkins into their laps. Helmed by owners James Burick and Mario Orellana, Azteca Restaurant and Cantina titillates taste buds with generous portions of unusual yet authentic Tex-Mex eats. Diners can rev up their eating engines with the tamales de elote filled with creamy sweet corn before moving on to a beef chimichanga, a roundup of beef, beans, guacamole, and cheese in a tortilla big enough to blanket a replica of the Aztec pyramids. A sizzling plate of lobster-tail fajitas comes with chicken and beef, whereas the enchiladas monterrey provide a meat-free option resplendent with cheese and ranchero sauce.