El Porton Mexican Restaurant has sated cravings for fresh, healthy ingredients for more than two decades, serving up authentic Mexican lunches and dinners that complement the bar’s array of 85 tequilas. Amid golden walls that evoke a warm afternoon in a tropical cantina, guests kick-start stomachs by watching chefs craft lime-infused guacamole tableside. From the kitchen, beef and shrimp fajitas sizzle, wafting aromas of onion and bell pepper that transform into cartoon hands to lure in noses. Warm days open El Porton's patio, where sunshine heightens the flavors of make-your-own combo platters spread with chile rellenos, tostadas, and burritos, as well as USDA steaks aged a minimum of 21 days. Tequila shots arrive in flights or individually, and customizable margaritas in flavors such as mango and classic lime pour forth from salt-rimmed glasses to accentuate entrees and fuel conversations about Mexico's hidden agave rivers.
Owner Kathy Gentry once relied on baking to console her during marathon studying sessions in college. Years later, Gentry has built a booming business devoted to celebrating cake’s charms. Staff guide budding and seasoned pastry chefs alike toward cake tools and instructors curate a packed schedule of courses that cover everything from finessing fondant to freeing trapped clowns from giant cakes. The chefs even film a hugely popular YouTube video series in which they meticulously guide bakers on sugar-laced odysseys.
Back Yard Burgers serves up North American Black Angus burgers hash-marked to order on genuine flame-licked grills. Third-pound patties dress for dinner with lettuce, vine-ripened tomatoes, red onions, dill pickles, and a condimental trio of ketchup, mustard, and mayo ($3.59). Or gussy up for patty prom with premium add-ons such as coleslaw, chili, sautéed mushrooms, bacon, and more ($0.35–$0.60 per topping). The grill masters also flip the first white meat, prepping Hawaiian chicken sandwiches with grilled pineapple, mustard, mayo, and lettuce ($4.09). Away from the flames, feel free to enjoy a loaded baked potato ($2.79) and a wide range of pairable plates such as chili cheese fries ($2.59 for regular size), garden salads ($2.19), and sweetly baked fruit cobblers ($1.99).
A vast beauty boutique, Merle Norman stocks top-quality cosmetics and its self-titled line of skincare solutions alongside a selection of bags and accessories. Browsers can buff out the physical effects of cruel mortality with a polished perfection exfoliator ($21.99). Designer handbags ($39.99–$78.99) stylishly store lip glaze ($17.99) and lash-prep mascara ($15.99) along with an array of eyeliners, which allow travelers to outline irises in plaid or paisley on the fly ($14.99).
At El Mezcal, nachos are so much more than chips covered in cheese. There are 10 types of nachos, from beef- and bean-smothered ones to ones sporting zesty grilled shrimp. The large selection is indicative of the menu as a whole, which compiles several kinds of enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, and tacos. Thankfully, 20 different combination platters allow diners to sample across these categories. There are also signature dishes, such as the El Mezcal Special: grilled rib-eye steak and shrimp mixed with veggies, served with rice, beans, and tortillas. At the bar, servers mix margaritas and pour homemade sangria, in addition to opening bottles of imported beers.
Amidst burnished gold walls and soft lighting, Thai Bistro & Sushi's chefs use a palette of ginger, Thai basil, lemongrass, and chilies, painting a bouquet of aromas across the restaurant. Thin or wide rice noodles twine around chicken or shrimp in various sauces, and bamboo shoots and bell peppers float in coconut-milk curries, all perfumed with the range of spices. The spiciness of each dish can be adjusted to suit a palate sensitive to heat or a need to pretend to be crying at a third-grade production of Of Mice and Men. Inside the dining room, pieces of modern art, suspended statues, and images of Buddha punctuate the walls.