Meals at El Nortenos Restaurant begin with a complimentary serving of chips and salsa, whetting appetites for the authentic dishes being prepared in the kitchen. Chefs capture the flavors of Mexico in creations such as chiles poblanos, grilled steaks, and enchiladas, while bartenders pour glasses of ice-cold margaritas, daiquiris, and draft beer. Fajitas deliver Tex-Mex taste in a tortilla envelope, and the shrimp cocktail dazzles palates with the bold flavors of cilantro, tomatoes, onions, pepper, and guacamole.
Sizzling Central American cuisine serenades senses in Estela's family-friendly interior, where customers can surf waves of free WiFi or challenge friends to games of foosball in between their savory bites. Start with a zesty appetizer such as mexican-chicken egg rolls ($6.90) before reeling in an entree such as pan-fried sea bass ranchero ($12.75) or a loaded combination platter ($9.60–$10.20). Homemade flan, fried ice cream, or choco tacos ($4.95–$5.95) can sweeten stomachs while a kaleidoscope of tequila from the restaurant's full bar adds sugar to the sentiments of dining love birds and old pinochle partners. Drool over the entire dinner menu, which also includes children's specials and vegetarian options, on Estela's website.
The flavors of Mexico City get an inventive reboot at Cantina Laredo, which has specialized in modern Mexican cuisine since 1984. Over the decades, Catina Laredo locations have spread to numerous states, countries, and at least two planes of reality. Classic dishes fill the menu, including guacamole prepared tableside and hand-rolled enchiladas stuffed with everything from Angus beef to avocado and artichokes. At the same time, the chefs elevate and refine traditional flavors by creating chicken fajitas with bacon, mushrooms, and chipotle-wine sauce and filling tortas with slow-roasted pork, apricot spread, goat cheese, and fried egg.
As for drink pairings, the Casa Rita?Cantina Laredo's signature margarita?is versatile, its classic version including silver tequila with Cointreau and fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice. Diners can customize their drink by adding flavors such as mango or tamarind into the mix.
A mural of a skateboarder towers over Burrito Boarder's outdoor patio, reflecting the restaurant's fusion of freshly made Mexican fare with boarding culture. Inside, skateboards hang from the ceiling as cooks kick flip into an open prep area and customize Mexican favorites using organic and hormone-free ingredients. Guests draw up a blueprint for their entrees, starting with a style, such as a Burrito Bomb or a salad bowl, before constructing an edible edifice from fillings that include carne asada and achiote-marinated mahi-mahi. In addition to the quick-order fare—which also includes dips and soups—the kitchen serves up imported sodas and specialty beers.
The restaurant's dining area harmonizes with the kitchen's eco-friendly practices, surrounding visitors with reclaimed and recycled materials, making it more environmentally responsible than most animals, which are made of all new materials. Additionally, all of Burrito Boarder's cutlery is stamped from 100% corn-based materials, making it biodegradable.