The culinary wizards at La Parranda appease appetites of all types with fresh dishes that take residence on a cantina-style menu of zesty Mexican cuisine. Amid a casual setting, coronate a meal with friends by dunking triangular tortillas into a small order of chili con queso ($3) or skinny-dipping shrimp into a pool of shrimp cocktail ($10). Growling tummies will be tamed by hearty beef enchiladas ($9), while the carne asada—a 10-ounce fajita steak—($13) halts hunger pains with more facility than a piñata stuffed with meat. The classic tacos de pescado ($12) leave taste buds swooning like 1950s teenagers at a Franz Liszt cover band concert, and recently earned a spot in Erin Miller’s Houston Classic Mexican Recipes cookbook.
Tortas El Angel’s cooks spill a cascade of lovingly spiced meats into french bread receptacles to forge the menu's 13 titular tortas. The sandwiches burst with flavorful skirmishes between explosive jalapeños and tangy chipotle dressing, mediated by the cubana torta's ham, pork, and sausage ($5.99¬–$8.99) or the beef and egg of the nortena torta ($5.99¬–$8.99). The selection of tacos ($1.65 each), whose diminutive size makes them ideal for bribing hungry librarians, showcases corn or tortilla discs buckling under the weight of chicken, beef, or pastor. Bend straws around a dulcet array of aquas frescas ($1.75¬–$2.25): from tamarindo as delicately sweet as the tears of Kool-Aid Man to the cinnamon-fueled party of horchata. Diners digitally supplement the authentic fare that fills El Angel's welcoming digs on the restaurant's free WiFi.
Carlos Mencia, the owner of Maggie Rita’s Mexican Kitchen, has his face emblazoned across menus tinged with Mexican, Spanish, South American, and Texan culinary traditions. In ceviche, a traditional Peruvian dish, citric acid from lemons or limes cooks cubes of white fish infused with the flavors of spices and peppers. Empanadas burst open, spilling steam and revealing spicy mango and pork. The Tex-Mex influences shine in enchiladas, burritos or tacos, corn tortillas that cradle roasted pork or beef fajitas. Traditional Tex-Mex ingredients, from poblano peppers to cream sauces infused with cilantro and jalapeño, fill the plates of diners and the briefcases of lawyers who don’t mind not being prepared for a trial.
Poblano peppers, queso blanco, house-made flour tortillas, and other Mexican influences join Southern staples such as pecans and spinach dip on Tejas Grill and Sports Bar's expansive menu of burgers, salads, and fajitas. A longhorn skull peers over tap pulls as they loosen drafts of Shiner Bock, Fat Tire, and Lone Star and affable barkeeps pour more than 23 tequilas into cocktails and shots. Between stacked stone columns and Texas ephemera such as metal stars, vast plasma TVs dapple the walls of the airy dining room, flickering with sporting events and perpetual loops of The Lawrence Welk Show.