Housed inside a one-time Taco Bell, Taco Zone has the framework to supply Tex-Mex fare for those on the go via a drive-thru window or their colorful, quick-service dining room. Breakfast burritos filled with bacon, eggs, cheese, potatoes, and sausage fuel bodies so they won't come to a standstill while jogging down highways on the way to work. Tacos, burritos, and genre-crossing taco burgers populate a $0.99 value menu, and the Frito burrito works teeth with a spicy crunch of ground beef, refried beans, red sauce, and corn chips.
Since 2000, the cooks at Norma's Tex Mex have brought together Mexican and American food to dance a culinary tango of bold flavors. They sculpt pork tamales, grill shrimp quesadillas on housemade tortillas, and top burgers with avocado slices and jalapeño rings that patrons can also use for spur-of-the-moment marriage proposals. Diners can also slurp bowls of caldo de res, a soup made with beef broth, carrots, zucchini, and cabbage, or savor spoonfuls of deep-fried ice cream. Citrus-toned walls lend a cheerful ambiance to the eatery's clean interior.
Though Luna de Noche's menu doesn't stray far from its Mexican roots, the restaurant’s chefs introduce nuanced flavors in all their dressed-up versions of Tex-Mex classics. As staff members make guacamole tableside for patrons, they may add unique ingredients such as pecans, creating a dish that is as distinctive as it is traditional. Even the margaritas—served frozen, on the rocks, or from a hose—build on the classic recipe by incorporating ingredients such as Kahlúa, fresh jalapeño juice, or housemade sangria.
The centerpiece of Abuelo's menu is its paella ($13.50 per person; serves 2¬–4), Spain's most iconic, ubiquitous, and hard-to-make-right rice dish. Abuelo's makes its own version with basmati rice and serves it up either Valencia Clásica (saffron, a melody of seafood, beef sausage, chicken, and fresh vegetables) or Roja Caliente (spicy tomatoes, risotto rice, seafood, and fresh vegetables). Paella is naturally made for group dining, as are tapas plates of batata brava (spicy potatoes), carne con escalivada (tender beef with roasted eggplant, Italian squash, and fresh herbs), and Abuelo's plato con queso (a variety of Mediterranean cheeses, grapes, strawberries, apples, walnuts, almonds, and olives). Abuelo's also offers Lebanese mezes such as fried falafel, hummus, and dolmah yalangy (stuffed vine leaves with rice, herbs, tomatoes, and lemon). Tapas are $6.50 each, and you can get five tapas for two people for $19.50 per person.