At Casa Durango, chefs whip up a smorgasbord of Mexican eats, with a spread of tortas, tacos, salads, and burritos paired with frosty tropical cocktails and margaritas. Like a computer manual written by Stephen King, the menu is as lengthy as it is appetizing. It presents dozens of different steaks, enchiladas, seafood, and chicken dishes ladled with zesty sauces and complemented by sides of savory rice and beans. The dishes run the gamut from traditional, homey plates of marinated lamb shank and slow-simmered pork to group-pleasing dishes of nachos and taquitos. And when it comes to entertaining groups, the restaurant also hosts karaoke performances that lighten the mood on weekends.
A tortilla makes a handy mouse pad, an acceptable patch for stiff denim jeans, and, if you draw a face on it, an ideal companion on fishing trips. But there are many other uses for it, as today's Groupon proves: for $20, you get $40 worth of creative cocktails and contemporary Mexican cuisine at Barrio’s elegant Capitol Hill and Bellevue eateries.
The recipes at Chilitos Mexican Restaurant chart a trail from Guadalajara, Mexico, to chef Carlos Padilla’s kitchen. Chef Padilla infuses these recipes with 25 years of culinary experience, stuffing Anaheim chili peppers with cheese and dipping them in egg batter before topping their crisp shells in homemade sauce. Over the grill, the chef and his team flame-broil steaks and pork loin topped with a green sauce of tomatillos, peppers, and onions, while mixologists pour classic Sauza margaritas as well as strawberry- and banana-flavored cocktails at the bar. Once a month, a band of mariachis perform, serenading couples with romantic ballads and practical tips for joint-filing tax returns.
For more than a quarter century, the Arias family has served a menu of classic Mexican cuisine at El Farol Mexican Restaurant. Plates full of enchiladas, fajitas, and burritos add their own colors to a space where bold and bright oranges, greens, and blues are splashed across the walls. A spicy shrimp dish, camarones a la diabla, leads a list of more upscale dinner feasts, including sirloin steak infused with cayenne pepper, and burgers, chimichangas, and tacos head the lunch menu. Patrons can quench their thirst with the usual suspects, such as beer, Jarritos, horchata, or a fire hydrant.
At La Luna, chef Luis Castro transports tongues across the border with enchiladas, slow-roasted short ribs, and housemade mole sauce. Inside or on an outdoor patio, guests bite into burritos and grilled chicken garnished with locally sourced ingredients, served alongside glasses of agave-distilled spirits such as mescal and more than 60 types of tequila. La Luna's mixologists blend 100% agave tequila with fresh seasonal fruits, creating margaritas as powerful as a tractor outfitted with a jet engine.
Before diving into an entrée, Blue Water Taco Grill's regular menu lets you improve your ability to hold your breath under cheese with a heaping pile of nachos topped with cheese, beans, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, guacamole, fresh salsa, and veggies ($6.05), or meats such as chicken and beef ($7.30 each). From there, cast your mouth-net around a school of authentic fish tacos ($3.10) adorned with cabbage and lime tartar, or bomb your taste buds with a devastatingly delicious torpedo of prawn burrito (with rice, beans, Pico de Gallo, and fresh salsa; $7.30). For fusion-fueled humans, Blue Water's Taco salads, such as the shrimp and krab taco bowl ($7.30), fuel fusion-powered palates with a swirling vortex of beans, lettuce, Pico de Gallo, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, and fresh salsa, all harnessed inside a crispy tortilla chip bowl. Blue Water also whips up plenty of vegan options, such as the vegan-style fancy rice ($5.20) with Pico de Gallo, beans, cilantro, and salsa, plus a team of veggie choices. Breakfast is also served at select locations.