Outside La Playa Mexican Grill, a hand-painted, sky-blue sign depicts conch shells and silver dollars, hinting at the maritime feasts that await guests inside. Fresh seafood stars in many of the house favorites, such as daily fish specials, ceviche samplers, and shrimp- and crab-stuffed enchiladas. Familiar Tex-Mex dishes round out the menu and include quesadillas, soft tacos, and burritos stuffed with beef or chicken. Diners customize a perfect margarita more than 70 types of tequila and a life-size replica of the Great Salt Lake.
Randy and Yvette Maldonado, the owners of Fajita Junction, know the difference that high-quality ingredients make to any recipe. “Our meat is Angus beef that is fresh and never frozen, using the inside skirt of the meat with choice or better cuts,” Randy told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. “The meat is well trimmed so it has little fat before we put it on our mesquite grill.”
Angus beef fajitas are just one of the spot's popular, made-from-scratch dishes. The chefs also make fresh tortillas for tacos filled with chicken, sausage, or mollejas, as well as rice with Mexican spices and a chicken-stock base instead of the traditional tomato. The ambiance of Fajita Junction is a draw, too: high ceilings, wood floors, and flat-screen televisions entrance eyeballs with images of sports games and football players enacting soap operas on the sidelines.
The chefs at Papi Chulo’s Mexican Restaurant get to work early every morning, firing up griddles to craft Mexican breakfast omelets and tacos. They continue to make breakfast dishes throughout the day, but switch gears to begin seasoning carne asada, pastor, and chicken to fill enchiladas, fried burritos, and tacos. As in any traditional taqueria, meats also include beef tongue, tripe, and carnitas, shredded pork generally stewed in coriander, onions, and lime. Straws dip into glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice, and Mexican sodas cool hands like a job prodding snowmen to see if they are magic.