Amid the vibrant décor of Vega Mexican Cuisine, chefs treat patrons to a menu suffused with gooey quesadillas, piping-hot soups, house-made tortillas and salsas, and a host of organic ingredients. Diners can warm belly motors with a bowl of creamy poblano chili soup—corn kernels, potatoes, and mushrooms drenched in cheese—beneath the watchful eyes of a Frida Kahlo portrait or anchor fork tines in a salmon salad drizzled in a honey-chipotle creamy dressing. An eclectic assortment of chandeliers bathes colorful booths in warm lighting as dinnertime eaters sup on shrimp fajitas, which conceal adobo spices and Carmen Sandiego beneath a medley of onions, bell peppers, and cilantro.
At Que Chula es Peubla, a parade of friendly servers carts out plates laden with torta de milanesas, burritos, tacos, grilled pork chops, and steaks. Live musicians and a sunny surrounding of murals, red tile accents, and adobe-colored walls make for a charming atmosphere, perfect for sipping frosty margaritas and chowing down on fajitas and chicken mole.
Trumpet blasts sail though Hacienda Mexicali Mexican Restaurant’s terracotta archways and soar beneath exposed beams before bounding off walls festooned with colorful mosaics. It’s the weekend, and the mariachi band has just begun to play, the sounds of their instruments mingling with the sounds of laughter and clinking cocktail glasses. Amid the merriment, diners devour plates of fresh guacamole, ranchero steak, and mussels in streams of herbed white-wine sauce. Meals conclude with strawberries and cream or deep-fried ice cream finalized tableside.
Blue and yellow walls alternate with stone accents and Mexican flags at Cinco De Mayo, calling to mind the fun and vibrant atmosphere of a celebration. The food—which includes slow-roasted tacos al pastor and guacamole made fresh tableside—fits right in, especially when paired with an ice-cold margarita made from real Mexican tequila. Guests can settle in for lunch or dinner to enjoy Mexican favorites such as quesadillas, fajitas, and burritos, along with more innovative creations such as camarones amarrados—cheese-stuffed jumbo shrimp wrapped in a crispy piece of bacon.
Carne asada, chiles rellenos, quesadillas—these dishes have become familiar sights on a Mexican restaurants menu. Gusano Loco's bill of cuisine lists these, as well as carefully crafted house specialties. For the carne arrachera, the kitchen crew marinates steak in a zesty house barbecue sauce, while for the seafood chiles, poblano peppers burst with sautéed shrimp and garlic. Meanwhile, waitstaff pours pitchers of the house sangria, made with wine and fresh fruit, which can make for a well-round meal that hits all levels of the food pyramid—meat, fruit, and stuff that tastes like candy.
The chefs at Tequila Sunrise assemble a prix fixe dinner menu that whisks taste buds away on a Mexican holiday. From the comfort of the spacious 200-seat dining room or an underwater castle, tablemates sample appetizers such as cheese-covered nachos or chicken and black bean empanadas. Baja fish tacos regale orders of classic ground beef or chicken tacos with tales of the high seas, while melted queso blanco hibernates beneath chiles rellenos. The sweet flavors of flan or fried ice cream seal the meal, as strolling mariachis accompany the sounds of clinking cutlery on Friday and Saturday nights.