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.
The talented chefs at The Churro Factory imbue crispy pastries with seven different sweet fillings to fashion a scrumptious, Spanish-styled snack, often introduced by an opening act of fresh deli sandwiches and milkshakes. Handmade in small batches to ensure freshness, traditional churros are dusted with sugar and cinnamon ($1.95 each, $9.95 for six), tickling tongues better than a feather-boa toothbrush. Palate-popular pastries include the filled churros with flavorful cores of vanilla, chocolate-hazelnut, cajeta, strawberry, or honey ($2.25 each). Appetites of larger proportions can match hunger against the oven-warmed Pamplones sandwiches ($4+ each), featuring the Chasturias with turkey and avocado and the Chadiz steak fajita with bell peppers and oaxaca cheese. Five enrapturing milkshake flavors mingle into the dining party, including oreo, strawberry, and chocolate ($3.29 each), tantalizing guests with their smooth sips and proactive straw postures.
After more than 35 years, the walls at Paperbacks Plus in Mesquite couldn't cope with all the books. So the owners expanded into the city proper, setting up two new shops under the name Lucky Dog Books. Shelf after shelf of volumes greets the eye at each location; alongside the paperbacks and hardbacks sit myriad other forms of media, from used CDs and DVDs to LPs, magazines, and comic books young and old. Chairs dot the landscape at all three bookstores, inviting customers to flop down and flip through the pages of a novel or pretend to read a comic book that conceals a history textbook. In addition to selling its wares, Lucky Dog Books also offers cash or store credit for used items and takes its services on the road with a Books at Home program.
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.
Inside Giulianna's intimate dining room, bright yellow walls dappled with framed artwork cultivate a cheerful atmosphere, while black tablecloths and a glimmering chandelier add a splash of elegance. Fresh from the chefs' hands, warm pasta dishes such as eggplant rollatini and cheese lasagna give stomachs comforting hugs, and chicken arrives at tables wearing various sauces, such as marinara and white-wine lemon. A rustic wood oven bakes savory pizza pies—with toppings such as fresh basil, thinly sliced sausage, and gorgonzola cheese—until they bubble and crisp like a rubber duck in a fire pit.
Amidst festive décor, the chefs of Dos Chavos’ Tex Mex Bar & Grill simmer and sauté meats and greens with Mexican spices to create a menu full of traditional and Tex-Mex creations. Orders of pescado al ajo bait diners' interest by swathing a tilapia fillet with a garlic-spiced sauce peppered with winning Lotto tickets. Diners can unlock the chili relleno's treasures by digging into a poblano pepper stuffed with shredded chicken, or pit three jumbo shrimp against chicken or beef during the surf 'n' turf's culinary dance-off. Supplementing meals, orders of salsa and large portions of guacamole provide dipping pools for chips and an impromptu cover-up for shy flour tortillas.