Ismael and Silvia Villegas have been snipping off sprigs of cilantro and squeezing limes onto tacos inside Casa Linda Mexican Restaurant's kitchens since 1993. Beneath decorations such as papel picado and piñatas, staples such as chicken in mole sauce and tacos al pastor join specialties such as the Pollo Loco, a chicken breast topped with cream sauce and a medley of squash and other vegetables. The restaurant also shakes and blends specialty cocktails such as açaí cosmos and superfruit margaritas.
Mucho Margaritas' tortilla-wielding culinarians sizzle up a menu of shelled spreads, meaty entrees, and vegetarian dishes within a cozy salmon-colored eatery. Kick off a round of eating, praying, and castanet clacking with a starter of cincronisadas, an avocado-slathered tortilla sandwich replete with ham and cheese ($5.49), before venturing into heartier territory with tacos ($1.75–$1.90 each), burritos ($2.99–$3.49 each), or tamales ($2.20 each). Guests can battle indecisiveness by ordering a combination dinner ($6.99 each), which fuses together favorites such as enchiladas and chili relleno for tasty partnerships more memorable than peanut butter and mustard. Mucho Margaritas boasts five signature fajitas, including the fajitas chihuahua, which combines marinated beef, chicken, bacon, and shrimp with sautéed veggies on a piping-hot skillet ($10.75 for one person; $18.75 for two). Alternately, the vegetarian chimichanga ($6.99) quells chlorophyll cravings by enswathing garden delights such as zucchini, yellow squash, and banana peppers within a flour tortilla that resides alongside a finicky duo of rice and beans squabbling over property lines. Conclude fiestas with a sacchariferous coda of churros ($2.50) or fried cheesecake burritos ($3.75 each).
Eric Leon has been wrapping enchiladas and simmering the spices of traditional Mexican cuisine since he was 12 years old. Now, he helms a team of chefs as they bury crispy chimichangas beneath mounds of melted cheese, serve heaps of shrimp and bell peppers in a still-sizzling skillet, and marinate chunks of chicken in a dark, chocolaty mole sauce. Authentic dishes such as these have earned San Jose Mexican Restaurant its spot as Columbia’s Best Mexican Restaurant according to Columbia Metropolitan readers. The eatery’s popularity also stems from the lively environs: the glow of TVs and video games flicker off brick walls, and occasional live music encourages syncopated chewing.
It can take an artist years to apply the right brushstrokes to a canvas, but at Corks and Canvas, it only takes one night. During each three-hour painting session, a professional artist walks classes through every step of duplicating a piece of acrylic art. Made up of participants aged 16 and older, the group classes convene at a public venue such as a restaurant. Students can buy food and drinks to snack on throughout the night or smear onto their canvas if they’re tired of painting. For scheduled sessions and private events for adults or kids, Corks and Canvas supplies canvases, paint, brushes, easels, and aprons.
The casual eatery welcomes the lunch and dinner crowd, as well as those looking to sip or slug a tropical cocktail at the full-service cantina-style bar. Each order from the varied menu is freshly prepared in front of the hungry eyes of diners and the watchful eye of Zeus. All tacos ($2.09–$2.49), burritos ($4.59–$6.99), nachos ($5.99–$6.99), and quesadillas ($4.59–$6.99) are compiled from a mixable-and-matchable array of salsas and fillings, such as guacamole, salsa, and jalapeños. The starring role is to be determined by each feaster—and the nominees are: beef, chicken, grilled steak, Russell Crowe, shrimp, veggies, ground beef, or shredded pork. Pirates dying to try out their fork-hand attachment can shiver their timbers on a customizable salad ($4.99–$6.99), and younger feasters can sink whatever teeth they have into a kid's meal served with chips, a cookie, and kid's drink ($3.49). Take the feasting fiesta to go by building a take-home value pack, which feeds four to eight hungry mouths. Simply select a meat, shell, bean, and salsa option, and add on your favorite toppings (prices vary) for a spiced-up family meal, business meeting, or Oktoberfest blowout.
It was 1926 at the Kaufman County fair. A large crowd gathered around a small stand, where Adelaida Cuellar stood passing homemade tamales and chili into outstretched hands. The high demand for her recipes continued after the fair grounds were emptied, and soon after, Adelaida opened a small café, Mama’s Kitchen, with the help of her 12 children. In 1940, five of her sons moved the eatery to another location in Dallas, re-christening it El Chico, which means, “the five sons that opened their mother’s restaurant in a new place”. More locations soon followed, with close to one hundred now in operation. And, just like Adelaida, the El Chico team spent some time passing out their specialties from a stand when they fed a crew of local volunteers on an episode of the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
At El Chico, Adelaida’s recipes still appear on the menu, from the spicy enchiladas with chili con carne sauce to the mexican apple pie with mexican brandy butter sauce and cinnamon ice cream. El Chico also has its own signature line of dishes called Top Shelf, which includes fajitas and quesadillas.