Stationed across from Kent Free Library, Wild Goats Café tramples hunger with its selection of homemade comfort food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Inside the dining room, wood trim runs along the top of sand- and pistachio-shaded walls, creating a warm atmosphere often filled with the smell of fresh-roasted coffee. Friendly servers pirouette between booths and tables delivering omelets in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, such as The Goat—an open-faced fusion of melted cheddar, tangy hummus, and veggies stacked atop pita bread. For dinner, the cooks craft a handful of entrees featuring a variety of enticing ingredients, such as organic chicken breast, house roasted sirloin, and homemade tomato cream sauce. Throughout the week, specials reward diners for their visit, including Buck Buck Brinner Wednesday, when eight menu items cost just a dollar apiece, making it the ideal night to finally take your pet elephant out for dinner.
When they made them move from La Piedad, Mexico to Aurora, the Hernandez and Alarcon families brought more than just their possessions; they brought their families’ entire repertoire of classic Mexican recipes. They prepare everything from classic burritos stuffed with meat or vegetables, to their own unique contributions such as grilled shrimp, scallops, and pineapple tossed in chipotle sauce. Most of their dishes come with Mexican rice, beans, and tortillas, and pair nicely with the sharp sweetness of their margaritas, which come by the glass or the pitcher.
At El Jalapenos, servers bustle between tables and through kitchen doors carrying plates of queso fundido, chicken fajitas, and carnitas. Here, armed with margaritas and overstuffed burritos, guests can savor a Mexican meal that's as relaxing as a nap underneath a warm tortilla blanket. Slice into carne asada or La Oaxaquena—grilled steak served with poblano peppers, bacon, ham, cheese, beans, and rice. Or, grab a tortilla filled with pork al pastor, stir-fried peppers, and refried beans. El Jalapeno has vegetarian options, too, including spinach enchiladas and cheese quesadillas.
Within Casa Del Rio's warm orange walls, chefs cobble together fresh meats, vegetables, and seafood to forge authentic Mexican lunch and dinner specialties. They douse shrimp in Diablo hot sauce, stuff flautas with shredded beef and chicken, or slice up grilled steak to accessorize with bacon, ham, and poblano peppers. Traditional and frozen margaritas drench adult palates, and a kids' menu entices tots with both Mexican and American classics. A kaleidoscope of colored tables scatters across the family-friendly dining room, which features vibrant artwork and rustic brick barrel vaults, and televisions above the bar entertain guests with sports games and newscasts acted out through interpretive dance.
At Tlaquepaque, the only thing more vibrant than dishes adorned with multicolored bell peppers and miniature mountains of salsa is the lively decor. While diners settle themselves at booths emblazoned with celestial paintings or upon chairs decorated with carvings of peacocks, the kitchen staff envelopes meat or seafood in chimichangas, braises carnitas, and prepares other Mexican classics. On the outdoor patio, the wait staff ferries shrimp quesadillas and chalupas to tables against the backdrop of a three-tiered fountain that lights up by night, illuminating a trio of stone frogs and the Marshalls, an unconventional-yet-loveable family of pennies.
Los Habaneros packs its extensive menu with bona fide, south-of-the-border fare prepared from scratch. Fill a beckoning boca with the enchiladas rancheras, overflowing with tender beef and chicken, smooth mole poblano, and creamy cheese ($11.99), or the seafood fajitas ($16.99), which encase a catch of scallops, mussels, shrimp, and mermaid dreams. Get energized before tunneling straight to a neighbor’s pool with a selection of vegetarian options, such as spinach enchiladas ($8.25) and vegetarian fajitas ($8.99). The restaurant also proffers smaller portions for pintsize patrons ($4.49 for children’s menu items). Los Habaneros’ mouth-stuffing guests dine at tile-mosaic-topped tables, amid authentic Mexican décor and supported by booth seats that offer a softer surface to sit on than a sleeping lion’s mane.
Zócalo Mexican Grill & Tequilería pulls its recipes from four different regions in Mexico, each with its own distinctive flavors and flairs—from the smoked meats of the Yucatán to the rich, chocolaty mole of the Puebla to the tangy seafood of the Veracruz and the inventive salsas of the Baja. Skilled cooks place innovative spins on traditional regional dishes, layering quesadillas with goat cheese, seasoning carnitas tortas in chipotle-barbecue sauce, and folding beer-battered fish into tacos.
Out in the dining room, bartenders mix margaritas beneath shelves of dozens of glimmering tequila bottles. They pair shots of premium Agave Loco, Dos Lunas, and Espolón tequilas with lime and a serving of spicy, citrusy sangrita. Ornate copper lanterns hang from the ceiling, casting a muted, twilight-like glow on tabletops and booths. A spiraling staircase leads down to the lower dining area, bordered by ornate metal railings. Colorful towers of light illuminate the outdoor patio, ideal for people watching or pointing out constellations to your date in a loud and impressive voice so everyone else can hear.