The portable snack, originally crafted back in 1960 in a 2,000-square-foot building in Houston, is the popular pick among discriminating Texans, including Mayor Annise Parker and Governor Rick Perry. Alamo tamales also make a mouthwatering gift for anyone who enjoys the sensation of brushing his or her teeth but would rather use shredded chicken instead of toothpaste.
Poblano peppers, queso blanco, house-made flour tortillas, and other Mexican influences join Southern staples such as pecans and spinach dip on Tejas Grill and Sports Bar's expansive menu of burgers, salads, and fajitas. A longhorn skull peers over tap pulls as they loosen drafts of Shiner Bock, Fat Tire, and Lone Star and affable barkeeps pour more than 23 tequilas into cocktails and shots. Between stacked stone columns and Texas ephemera such as metal stars, vast plasma TVs dapple the walls of the airy dining room, flickering with sporting events and perpetual loops of The Lawrence Welk Show.
Carlos Mencia, the owner of Maggie Rita’s Mexican Kitchen, has his face emblazoned across menus tinged with Mexican, Spanish, South American, and Texan culinary traditions. In ceviche, a traditional Peruvian dish, citric acid from lemons or limes cooks cubes of white fish infused with the flavors of spices and peppers. Empanadas burst open, spilling steam and revealing spicy mango and pork. The Tex-Mex influences shine in enchiladas, burritos or tacos, corn tortillas that cradle roasted pork or beef fajitas. Traditional Tex-Mex ingredients, from poblano peppers to cream sauces infused with cilantro and jalapeño, fill the plates of diners and the briefcases of lawyers who don’t mind not being prepared for a trial.
Sounds of laughter and clinking glasses resound through the colorful walls of Madres Restaurant’s expansive dining room, where families and friends convene over authentic Mexican dishes morning and night. In the kitchen, chefs tend grills that sizzle with fresh steaks, seafood, and vegetables, whipping up specialties such as tender carne asada or creamy chicken poblano. Pots simmer with more than 10 varieties of meat, seafood, and vegetarian enchiladas.
Out in the dining room, dishes are joined by fruity margaritas and imported Mexican beers atop numerous tables and cushy booths. Warm lanterns and lush plants dangle from the ceilings, and ornamental Mexican artwork adorns the walls. Outside, an awning shades a front patio from the sun, rain, and falling anvils.
Skillets of fajitas sizzle on their way to the dining room's deep booths. Chords from a Spanish guitar spill from the bar as laughs roll out from one of three banquet rooms. On the patio, some 40 tables share their brick-paved pen with a mechanical bull that snarls at passersby and inflatable moonwalks filled with playful children.
Such is a typical evening at Las Rosas Mexican Restaurant, where an unmistakable energy charges the entire facility. The current begins in the kitchen, where each day chefs follow family recipes to churn out handmade tamales, tortillas, and red and green sauces. The vibe then pulses through the dining room, where a white stone fireplace anchors an open space flanked by booths and 13 60-inch TVs that broadcast games and events. The patio hosts alfresco dining and amusements for the young and young-at-heart who aren't afraid to tumble off a carnival ride in public.
Towering palm trees, shady cabanas, and flickering tiki torches help create a distinctively Caribbean ambiance in El Pueblito Patio's outdoor seating area, distinguishing it from the rest of the dining area and earning the restaurant the award for Best Patio from Houston Press in 2007 and 2008. The chefs also look for inspiration beyond the borders, combining Mayan, Aztec, Spanish, and African culinary influences that typically characterize Guatemalan and Mexican cuisine. Fried plantains, fiery salsas, and a closely guarded blend of house spices help to lend iconic Latin flavors to the menu of grilled redfish, sautéed gulf shrimp, and roasted chicken. Large fronds and domesticated clouds shade the patio, which encourages diners to enjoy their meals out in the fresh air while savoring a drink with one of the bar's numerous tequilas.