The menu at Johny's Kitchen straddles the border between Mexican and Mediterranean fare. Yet the chefs stitch together the distinct cuisines with common components, including fresh beef and chicken packed into kebab plates or fajitas and burritos. Chickpeas suit up and take a dip in the deep fryer while transforming into the falafel dish, and are paired with hummus or baba ghanouj and pilaf or fries. In addition to international fare, Johny's Kitchen slings grilled and deli sandwiches, breakfast bites, and napkin airplanes between sunny yellow walls and TVs.
Roberto Ortega Senior and his wife founded Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales in 1999 to introduce the world to the delicious tamales that they make with a secret family recipe. Having started as a small restaurant, Me Gusta Gourmet Tamales now yields its daily harvest of award-winning tamales inside a 10,000 square-foot facility, which is the size of Paul Bunyan's walk-in closet. The kitchen staff makes each batch using quality ingredients, including 100% monterey jack cheese, trimmed cuts of meat, and margarine with 0 grams of trans fat, before wrapping the bundles inside fresh corn husks.
The chefs of Dos Arbolitos Restaurant cultivate an authentic Mexican menu by sizzling up south-of-the-border meats, such as fried pork carnitas, charbroiled carne-asada steak, goat in consommé, and garlicky grilled tilapia. After sprinkling these protein-packed morsels with traditional spices and smoky fairy dust, they slather them with piquant sauces or pair them with warm tortillas and sides of beans and rice. Tacos, burritos, and combination plates litter spacious leather booths and cozy tables in the dining room, where paintings and a flat-screen TV tuned to sports festoon yellow and salmon-colored walls.
When they founded it in 1975, the owners of El Indio Mexicano Restaurant hired cooks from the Michoacan region of Mexico to teach them the recipes of Mexico’s Pacific coast. Owned by the same family today, the restaurant carries on that commitment to authenticity, slow-cooking carnitas for five hours and cooking beans in a cazo, a large copper pot usually found only in the ruins of ancient Ikeas. The cazo is also used to cook a cornucopia of meats, including beef tongue, pork stomach, breaded steak, sausage, and charbroiled steak. These carnivorous cuts fill quesadillas, handmade gorditas, and 13 types of burrito that arrive unadorned or covered in melted monterey jack cheese and house-made ranchero sauce.
A pleasing jumble of bright warm colors welcomes patrons as they enter Salsa and Beer, where the kitchen turns out myriad Mexican favorites. Bean dip and salsa—always complimentary—flow freely with chips, and the chefs integrate housemade red and green sauces into tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. A huge sun painted on the ceiling watches down on patrons as they eat on painted tables, slicing into deep-fried chimichangas or chipotle-chicken flautas. Hues of lime green, pink, and orange occupy the walls and window paintings in the dining room, and a patio in the front is separated from the street by sculpted wooden barriers, whether in the shape of cacti or a wide sun.
Leonor's has been preparing meat-free Mexican food for nearly 30 years, and the current menu is modeled after the soy-dense Forever Young diet. Dishes include a traditional Mexican selection of burritos, tacos, and quesadillas with the restaurant's unique vegetarian and vegan spins. Some of those are on display in the Buffalo Bill burrito, that's packed with brown rice, steamed pinto beans, avocado, soy cheese, and veggies in a whole-wheat tortilla.
Though Leonor's is rooted in Mexican food, there are other culinary influences present as well: the spaghetti dinner entangles soy meatballs with whole-wheat noodles and the soy hamburger is topped with a leafy crown of lettuce and alfalfa sprouts. Stone-ground whole-wheat pizzas carry their own surprises—molasses and honey are infused into the dough—and can be customized with toppings such as cilantro, avocado, and tinier pizzas.