Taco Time Victoria's dedicated taco artisans enhance their menu of fast Mexican eats with shells, chips, taste-bud-kicking sauces, and beef prepared fresh in-store each day. They dish up bite-size, deep-fried Mexi-Fries alongside spicy meals, and for dessert, they shower empanadas and Crustos with cinnamon, sugar, and warm fuzzies to make them extra sweet. Their original hot sauce enflames such entrees as quesadillas and burritos stuffed with canadian cheddar, and guests can take swigs of Pepsi products to cool their sizzling tongues more effectively than licking a snowman.
Calle Tacos & Tequila's menu describes itself as casually evolved Mexican food. The eatery's cooks don't try to reinvent the wheel, but rather add tasty twists to popular dishes. They spice up ceviche with mango, onion, cucumber, and serrano peppers, whose intense flavors surround Atlantic cod. They revolutionize familiar burritos simply by serving them wet, topping them with a layer of red-pepper sauce and sending them to tables by pushing them down a slip 'n' slide. The same philosophy behind the food extends to the drinks. For example, the signature Callerita combines pure agave tequila with agave nectar and lime juice for a simple, three-ingredient interpretation of the classic drink.
Rainbow-coloured blankets splayed on the walls signal that Ponchos Mexican Restaurant is a great place for a feast to become a fiesta. Arrive on the weekends, and a guitar-wielding entertainer plays festive music to boost the celebratory atmosphere. Since 1988, Kaeta Vasquez and her crew in the kitchen have crafted traditional Mexican dishes, such as paella for one or two, a steak-and-enchilada plate, flautas crisp from the fryer, and fajita platters sizzling with peppers and onions. To keep the party alive, diners can order Ponchos Coffee spiked with Kahlúa and Grand Marnier, which Kaeta herself escorts to each table and lights on fire.
Since Frank Tonkin Sr. opened his first Taco Time in 1962, each location has hand-chopped its own vegetables and concocted pots of fresh-cooked pinto beans every morning. Try the classic beef crisp burrito ($2.79) or its meat-free cousin, the veggie soft taco ($4.69), with a side of spherical, seasoned Mexi-fries ($1.69 for a regular). Watch your figure through southwest chop-salad-colored glasses, with black bean and corn salsa, pico de gallo, and mixed veggies ($5.59). Or opt for a cup of white chicken chili, another of many healthy options at just 139 calories ($1.99).
A self-described example of the American dream, Jose “Pepe" Ramos came to the United States and through hard work achieved great professional success. He left his home in central Mexico back in 1973, shortly after the death of his father, in search of financial support for his mothers and brothers. He didn’t speak any English, but within two years ascended from dishwasher to cook to chef and, finally, to restaurateur, opening a small 24-seat eatery, Azteca Mexican Restaurant, in Burien.
Some four decades later—with help from his three brothers and his mother, Camerina—Jose is now at the helm of a 35-restaurant franchise, with locations sprinkled from the Pacific Northwest to Florida. Decadent Mexican feasts—such as enchiladas verdes, shrimp fajitas, and carne asada—are the bread and butter of his success, thanks to Camerina’s family recipes. Yet, the Ramos family doesn’t hesitate to introduce new-to-the-family favorites either; for instance, they marinate and bake seasoned lamb shanks to create Borrego Azteca, and conjure bowls of molcajete from sautéed chicken and beef. Best of all, the Ramos relieve thirsty gullets with signature margaritas muddled together from housemade citrus juices and the sap of fresh-squeezed tequila trees.
Named for the Spanish word for warrior, Casa Guerrero Mexican Restaurant battles hunger pangs with a menu of traditional south-of-the-border fare. Classic beef dishes such as carne asada and tampiqueña team juicy skirt steak with flavorful accouterments of fresh guacamole and pico de gallo, and chicken stalks appetites in a host of disguises including tacos, fajitas, and powdered wigs. The eatery's culinary crew also charbroils prawns and whole red snapper, accenting the seafood's sweetness with zesty, pepper-infused sauces. To quench thirsts, bartenders serve up fruity red sangria and concoct 16-ounce margaritas from just-squeezed lime juice.