At Badlands Tacos, diners are transported to the titular locale upon gazing at the eatery's southwestern decor. Cow skulls adorned with feathers and bright ceramic art festoon the umber-colored walls. From behind a walk-up counter, a chalkboard menu displays an array of Mexican tacos, chimichangas, and 11 kinds of enormous burritos filled with fixings such as flank steak, cilantro, and guacamole. Badlands Tacos offers booths and tables at their BYOB restaurant, outdoor seating, catering for special occasions, or take-out to feed pet llamas hidden under the porch.
The cooks at Tito’s whip up a menu of fresh, inventive Mexican fare, customizing dishes to diners' desires for a personalized meal within a colorful, relaxed atmosphere. Giant burritos enswathe savory sustenance, such as grade-A steak ($8.95) and blackened salmon ($8.95), within 12-inch tortillas. Or quell shell cravings without licking a conch's home with an order of twice-wrapped tacos ($3.50+), food satchels that boast both an internally crispy shell and an externally soft covering. Tito's also carries an array of other Mexican staples, including nachos ($6.95), cheesy quesadillas ($6.25), and a taco salad brimming with veggies, salsa, and—for an extra cost—your choice of meat ($6.95+). Conclude Latin American–style feasts by slurping on a nonalcoholic margarita slush ($3.75/small, $7.95/pitcher) or covertly grazing on the tassels of neighboring Mariachi horn players.
The small-plate prodigies at Ole Tapas Bar & Restaurant craft a variety of Spanish-inspired tapas served to eager patrons as they lounge in a dimly lit, comfortable bar atmosphere. Diners can peruse an eclectic menu packed with carne skewers glazed in teriyaki or wasabi ($8) and crab cakes smothered in spicy remoulade sauce ($8). Those with dietary restrictions or those who lost hard-fought spelling bees to wheat can sample a wide range of gluten-free bites, including bacon-wrapped shrimp enhanced by a tomatillo sauce ($8) and the seared thai tuna served rare, topped with thai barbecue sauce, and paired with cucumber salad ($10). Frequent live acts envelop patrons in musical embraces, made even warmer with the addition of a drink from the full bar.
At Que Chula es Peubla, a parade of friendly servers carts out plates laden with torta de milanesas, burritos, tacos, grilled pork chops, and steaks. Live musicians and a sunny surrounding of murals, red tile accents, and adobe-colored walls make for a charming atmosphere, perfect for sipping frosty margaritas and chowing down on fajitas and chicken mole.
Masters of impromptu rocking, the three-man band of Particle braids funky undertones of bass guitar with energetic keyboards and drums in an electronic-backed jam session. Bolstered by an underground following and a decade of playing together, the band grooves through hits from its album Launchpad with more chemistry than hydrogen and oxygen had on their first date. The seasoned trio, which has performed with Blackalicious and Grateful Dead founder Phil Lesh, will razzle and dazzle Mexicali Club's intimate lounge after openers Shwizz and The 45's warm up the stage with tunes as catchy as chicken pox.