At first peek, the patrons at Casa Jimenez could be entering a rural Mexican townhouse, judging by the eatery's burnt-orange shingled roof and egg-white-hued façade. Upon entry, a flood of natural light from large bay windows reveals a steaming parade of Mexican dishes crowded with tortilla-cloaked bites of pork, steak, and shrimp. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, diners cure spoons' hypothermia with dips in the bubbling depths of a time-tested mexican soup or embrace indecision with combination plates of burritos, enchiladas, and tacos that offer a warm rush without the indignity of being tackled by a Care Bear.
Carne asada is a specialty at Tukan Grill: you can get it in taco form, topped with creamy guacamole, or even tossed over french fries, covered in shredded cheese. But one of the most popular ways to have it is as a fajitas plate. The menu here goes beyond asada, though: like the mess hall at the United Nations, it seamlessly blends culinary styles, with dishes such as the Mexican lasagna, made with shredded chicken, tortillas, and homemade tomatillo sauce, and the surf and turf burritos, stuffed with steak and shrimp. You can also enjoy hearty breakfasts of huevos rancheros or saucy chilaquiles, or have a dinner of tortas al pastor and pair it up with frosty beers and margaritas.
Qdoba's burrito baristas handcraft a catering menu of Mexican-inspired cuisine, customizable with a panoply of fresh ingredients for a taco, nacho, or burrito bar. Qdoba's culinary crafters craft succulent fillings for burritos, tacos, nachos, and quesadillas, including protein-packing choices, such as slow-roasted pulled pork, adobo-marinated grilled steak or chicken, and spiced shredded or ground beef, with vegetarian options also available. Taste the gooey flavor accents of the signature queso sauce, a three-cheese blend with roasted poblanos, tomatoes, and jalapeños, the pinto or black beans simmered in cumin and onion, or the creamy, hand-smashed guacamole that's ideal for filling up Queen Elizabeth's diamond-studded guacamole chalice. Tortilla chips with salsa bar and desserts complete each catered event, and customers can opt for burrito-boxed lunches and any add-ons.
Carmina's Mexican Food, opened in 1988, serves up Mexican classics such as burritos, tacos, and tortas in an unassuming eatery. Patrons who want to sample a few entrees can either ask neighboring diners for a bite or order one of the combination plates, which come with rice and beans. To round out the menu, the kitchen staff also builds shrimp cocktails and scrambles eggs for breakfast burritos and huevos rancheros.
Bubba Jack’s serves up gourmet southern cuisine in a comfortable eatery with a relaxed, SoCal-style vibe. Specialties include fried deviled eggs, hand-cut steaks grilled over wood chips, and flavorful beer-can chicken. In the bar, drinksmiths serve wine, cocktails served in Mason jars, and more than 200 types of beer, which patrons can sip while relaxing in rocking chairs or watching sports on flat-screen TVs.
Located on the gorgeous shores of Lake Mission Viejo and decorated with hand-painted murals, the picture-perfect hacienda features a menu packed with Mexican favorites. House specialties include carnitas (fresh, Mexican-style pork with frijoles, arroz, salsa fresca, and guacamole, $14.95) and the mole Maria (tender chicken topped with homemade mole sauce, $14.95). If you bring a Valentine's date, the platon de tacos (for two people, $26.95) gives you both ample opportunity to eat from either end of a custom-made taco and meet in the middle—a couples activity as romantic to experience as it is disgusting to watch. Seafarers will dig the marinated convergence of raw fish, lime, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro in Tortilla Flats' ceviche ($11.95) or the sautéed crab and shrimp medley of chimichanga de mariscos ($18.95), while herbivores can savor some deep-fried tostadas stuffed with veggies ($10.95). Chase it all with a dessert of fried ice cream ($6.95) or caramel flan ($4.95). Tortilla Flats also offers a respectable wine list.