For Ali Saleh, the chef who owns Taqueria 2 Palmas, a great meal isn't just about sustenance. It's a performance meant to entertain and intrigue. That's why restaurants and live music make such as dynamic duo. When Ali bought his first storefront on East Tulare Street, he immediately built a stage so the restaurant could also host concerts. These days, his 24-hour eatery teems with mariachi bands that serenade guests with romantic ballads and vibrant pasodobles. The sultry sizzles of hot plates chime in as servers deliver chicken fajitas and Tampiquena-style steaks to nearby tables. In contrast, shrimp cocktails and fresh oysters are as cool as an igloo full of Elvis impersonators. To fuel morning exploits such as newspaper crosswords and WiFi surfing, the restaurant also serves huevos rancheros and other hearty Mexican breakfasts.
Raul and Maria Gutierrez were raised on fajitas in their native Mexico, where many families raise their own chickens and make tortillas by hand. After honing their culinary skills in several Houston restaurants, the couple chased their dreams to Fresno, where Fajita Fiesta was born. Instead of sprouting from a pinto bean, the eatery sprang from one of the Gutierrez’s favorite dishes: tacos al carbon, a union of handcrafted tortillas, fresh pico de gallo, and charbroiled steak, chicken, or pork. Made fresh every hour, the tortillas serve as a canvas for creativity by exhibiting savories such as grilled shrimp, onions, and poblano peppers. For deep-fried fare such as chimichangas and sopapillas, Raul and Maria use canola oil to minimize saturated fat. Margaritas add a heady kick to the evening's festivities, and horchatas end meals on a sweet cinnamon note, with textures smoother than a freshly shorn saxophone. The kitchen also caters feasts for a variety of events, filling bellies with hearty chicken moles and bite-size eats such as mini taquitos.
Revolucion is a restaurant and a tequila bar, and its menu has an entire page devoted to the flavorful liquor, just as Sylvester Stallone has an entire webpage devoted to explosions. Dozens of tequilas can be sipped individually or mixed into one of several flights, which orchestrate triplets of different drinks. The libation roster extends to colorful margaritas, cocktails, and draft beers. For pairing with these flavorful drinks, Revolucion delivers fresh corn tortillas filled with carnitas, chicken, and shrimp and gooey quesadillas oozing with blends of mexican cheese. Meanwhile, house specials include rib-eye steaks alongside delicate shrimp, chicken breast sautéed in a lime and tequila sauce, and beer-battered whitefish with aioli.
Named after the owner’s oldest daughter, Jocy's Mexican Restaurant has brought authentic Mexican food in a family environment since 2007. Upscale twists on fajitas, flautas, and carne asada bedeck round tables and rectangular booths, which are surrounded by butter-yellow walls, hanging lamps, and Mexican-inspired artwork.
Camino Real Restaurant treats its patrons to traditional Mexican meals of chicken stew, grilled pork chops, and tortas, as well as fresh seafood in the form of fish fillets, spicy shrimp cocktails, and garlic-smothered lobster. Diners feast on Dungeness-crab rellena, fried perch, and breaded milanesa sandwiches in the large, sun-filled main dining area, or hold private banquets with up to 30 guests in the separate party room. Like an apple pie smothered in chile verde sauce, the bill of fare brings Mexican and American cuisine together, with patty melts, fries, and grilled cheese sandwiches served alongside plates of huevos rancheros and bowls of menudo.
A chef's knife splits the avocado rind. He runs a spoon around the pit and dumps the velvety green slices into a bowl for guacamole. While shrimp and juicy steak sizzle on the grill for fajitas, traditional and chilies rellenos burritos pair with sides of tender rice, beans, and chile verde salsa. After polishing off dinner, guests can sip imported beers and scan Deli Casa's vibrant ocean murals for iconic tropical images, such as palm trees, seagulls, and fanny packs full of sunscreen.