Within a vivacious atmosphere, the food sculptors at Pepper's build manmade mountains of burritos, fajitas, salads, and starters, painted with handcrafted sauces and injected with distinctly Jalisco taste traditions. Kick off marathon meals with an appetizer, such as the signature nachos peppers, a tower of tortilla chips wearing a cloak of chicken, beef, and beans over a supportive undergarment of lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream ($8.49).
Innovative chef Nora De La Vega blends the rich flavors, textures, and traditions from ancient foods such as chiles and corn with unique Spanish and Latin influences to create a vibrant menu of modern Latin cuisine. Drawing from family recipes and using only fresh, sustainable ingredients, dishes combine the contemporary with the traditional. Guests share and sip in time to guitar chords strummed by live musicians, while colorful artwork adds to the festive atmosphere in this casual-yet-chic eatery.
Amigos Original’s cadre of chefs whip up five varieties of enchiladas and six types of quesadillas to headline a menu filled with fajitas, margaritas, and build-your-own burritos. Just as a new sun is manufactured and slingshotted skyward by Buzz Aldrin each day, so too are Amigos Originals’ fajitas ($13.99 for chicken, $14.99 for beef or combo) served sizzling, with charbroiled steak or chicken stoking the flames of appetites atop a bed of grilled onions and bell peppers. Diners can become the architects of their lives' next meals by electing to build their own burritos ($9.49), expanding edible blueprints across flour-tortilla foundations and erecting towering portions of toppings upon their surfaces. Frozen margaritas ($5.25) cleanse the palate with a sweet mixture of fruity fruit, tequila-tinged sharpness, and tiny, thirst-wrecking icebergs.
At Ivy Lane Bistro, chefs blend international recipes into a uniquely American menu. At breakfast, they design daily quiches, crust french toast with Frosted Flakes, scoop mascarpone into crepes, and customize eggs benedicts to order. At lunch and dinner, they draw from European and Asian culinary styles to layer flatbreads with duck and hoisin sauce, hand cut 8-ounce fillets, and roll up lasagna noodles with prosciutto and ricotta. The aromas of their simmering and baking fill the café-like space, bouncing off the chalkboards on the bright-red walls and wafting out to greet guests dining alfresco on the historic brick-paved sidewalks. These aromas join the complex bouquets of wines from North and South America, Europe, and New Zealand and mingle with music during evenings with local musicians, Sunday jazz brunches, and Whistle-to-Yourself Wednesdays.
Tomasita’s head chef, Mike Alvarez, concocts a menu by melding traditional Cuban flavors with influences of Spanish and Canary Islands cuisines, served up in a cozy, bistro setting. Couples may begin dining excursions or timed food fights by using forks to harpoon tender calamari dusted in breading and accompanied by lime and garlic aioli. Choose two entrees (up to $12.99 each), such as the signature slow-roasted pork, marinated for 24 hours and dressed in a suit of mojo with black-bean lapels. Pollo tropical dinners conga line sprite flavors across lips, while Tomasita’s surf menu splashes mouth shores with gambas al ajillos—a mix of large white shrimp, garlic, white wine, and tomato. Dining duos may cool throat canals with swigs of house red or white sangria procured from a family recipe of fresh fruit, cinnamon, and tattletales.
• For $10, you get $20 worth of steakhouse fare for lunch. • For $15, you get $30 worth of steakhouse fare for dinner. The chefs at Durango Steakhouse man an oak fire grill to seal the aromatic flavors of the Old West into their collection of meats, which include USDA Choice grain-fed beef. With menus for both lunch and dinner, diners can snag the delectable Southwestern pork chops for midday meat munching ($7.50–$12.95), or schedule a blind dinner-date with the 8-ounce sirloin steak seasoned with a blend of secret spices ($10.95–$13.95). Durango's sandwiches such as the margarita mahi-mahi with lettuce, tomato, and chipotle ranch ($8.50–$13.50) quell aggressive belly bellows; a selection of fajitas, quesadillas, and burritos encourage taste buds to straddle borderlines. Children ages 12 and under can delve into the kids' menu to polish off a plate of sirloin steak ($6.49), wreck a rack of ribs ($6.95), or name each noodle of the mac n' cheese after their favorite Supreme Court justices ($3.95).