Trumpet blasts sail though Hacienda Mexicali Mexican Restaurant?s terracotta archways and soar beneath exposed beams before bounding off walls festooned with colorful mosaics. It?s the weekend, and the mariachi band has just begun to play, the sounds of their instruments mingling with the sounds of laughter and clinking cocktail glasses. Amid the merriment, diners devour plates of fresh guacamole, ranchero steak, and mussels in streams of herbed white-wine sauce. Meals conclude with Mexican coffee and flambe fried ice cream finalized at the table.
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 numerous ways to celebrate Cinco De Mayo: from booths and tables at their BYOB restaurant, outdoor seating, catering for special occasions, or take-out to feed pet llamas hidden under the porch.
El Norte Restaurant’s owners use their more than 35 years of experience working at restaurants in Texas and Northern Mexico to create authentic Mexican dishes to their exact specifications. Surrounded by Aztec-inspired paintings and sombreros hung on the walls, diners dig into pork carnitas, enchiladas suizas, and bowls of chopino. Whether bellied up to one of the restaurant’s two bars or seated at a table blanketed by a colorful tablecloth, guests enjoy the serenades of a mariachi band or the sound of a live harp player politely ordering a burrito. On weekends, karaoke and DJ-fueled dance sessions take over the restaurant’s spare room.
La Frontera Mexican Grill?s chefs craft a robust menu of Mexican dishes from fresh ingredients to sate the appetites of diners waiting in the cozy eatery. The menu offers up a selection of classic Mexican items including quesadillas, burritos, flautas, fajitas, and enchiladas that help guests to experience the authentic flavors of Mexico without nibbling on a peso.
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.
One bite of Gabriela Hernandez’s cooking and restaurateur Artie Cutler knew he had to open a restaurant with her. Cutler, the mastermind behind such revolutionary restaurants as the Italian-inspired Carmine's and the Southern-inflected Virgil's Real BBQ, began devising the eatery. Meanwhile, Hernandez got to work on an authentic menu with the help of her family who, like the recipes that Cutler loved so much, came from the heart of Mexico. The doors of Gabriela’s Restaurant opened in 1992, and, despite Hernandez’s retirement, the staff continues to follow her traditional recipes today. The menu features such south-of-the-border favorites as fish tacos, empanadas filled with organic chicken, fajitas, enchiladas, and vegetarian chile rellenos, each in what Time Out New York describes as “heaping portions." To crown the zesty feasts, the staff curates a classic dessert menu of flan and fried ice cream, as well as an after-dinner tequila selection from their well-stocked bar.