Following family recipes passed down for three generations, the chefs at Jalapeno’s Bar & Grill assemble meaty fajita platters and original chicken, vegetarian, and seafood dishes simmered in homemade sauces. Using only fresh ingredients and certified Angus beef, chefs create meals that feed many of the senses, especially diners’ hungry, hungry eyes. Daily happy hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. encourage patrons to sample the bar’s vast selection of premium tequilas blended into their margaritas, as well as well liquors, wines, and bottled and draft beers.
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
At locations in more than a dozen states, U-Swirl delivers more than 40 flavors of frozen yogurt packed with live and active cultures and designed in low-fat, non-fat, and sugar-free varieties. Self-serve machines line the shop’s lime green walls, ready for customers to dispense heaping swirls of old favorites, such as cookie & cream and fruit sorbet, or seasonal innovations, including eggnog in the winter and fireworks in the summer. Next, patrons head to the toppings bar and crown their frozen treats with as much fresh fruit, cereal, and candy as they can handle before weighing cups and paying by the ounce.
Acapulco Mexican Restaurant's menu unfurls with authentic, south-of-the-border fare in a charming environment with clay shingles, murals, and old-style lights. Perform palate Pilates with the Acapulco platter, a bountiful sample of appetizers that includes nachos, quesadillas, hot wings, miniature tacos, and more ($11.25).
Locally owned Casa Mexico serves up huge portions of authentic, freshly made Mexican cuisine as patrons sidle up to long communal tables amid a welcoming atmosphere. Mouth-mulch a free basket of chips and salsa while perusing the extensive menu of tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and plenty of vegetarian options. Try tasty entrees ($6.25–$14.50) such as the infamous grande asada burrito, stuffed with boiled skirt steak, rice, beans, and cheese, and crowned with guacamole, onions, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and Casa Mexico's special sauce. Take a culinary trip to the Mayan Riviera with the Cancun platter, which is piled high with crabs, prawns, and chicken sautéed in wine and showered with jack and cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. Pair appetizers ($3.25–$8.75), such as the chicken tortilla soup and quesadillas, with a courage-boosting drink before notifying grandparents that their new Blu-ray DVD player is actually a live stingray.
The chefs at La Belle Vie fuse gourmet European cuisine with northwest flair. Dinner begins with a sampling of hors d'oeuvres such as heirloom-tomato-encrusted bruschetta ($7), or an assortment of gourmet cheeses ($11) served alongside a baguette and a list of ransom demands to send to the moon. Entree selections include slow-cooked, smoky bison ribs ($24), slathered in bourbon-barbecue sauce with accompaniments of vegetables, fingerling potatoes, couscous, or fettuccini. Culinary artistes toss the chicken picatta ($16) in fettuccini with tomatoes, capers, and white-wine sauce, while they roast the moroccan chicken tagine ($21) in seasonings such as saffron, ginger, nutmeg, honey, and almonds. Although not included in the price of this Groupon, diners can glean wine-pairing suggestions from the menu, the serving staff, or from sentient napkins.