Just as Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant's name honors the owners' oceanfront hometown in Jalisco, Mexico, the menu honors Mexico's iconic cuisine. These pages brim with favorites such as enchiladas, hefty burritos, and sputtering fajitas with marinated portions of beef, chicken, pork, or shrimp. The choices seem familiar, but there's no denying that their roots cross the International Date Line that separates California from Mexico. Mexican Coca-Cola fills glasses alongside a handful of imported beers, and the tangy crema sauces and vaguely sweet moles are all based on family recipes.
Lording over a spicy pantheon of food is Panzon's extensive tequila selection, encompassing more than 100 different varieties, with a large number of premium, super-premium, ultra-premium, and premium-premium tequilas. The colorful interior is a-bristle with folk art from local and Southwestern aesthetes, adding atmosphere to generously apportioned meals such as the chili relleno ($5.59) or grande tamale (starting at $4.29). Knock back plates of santa fe montadas, a layered enchilada with tortillas, black beans, monterey jack cheese, and a tasty heap of grilled chicken with rice and beans ($8.09), or find charm in the extravagant extra-large chimichanga, dandied in a toasty tortilla frock coat with a top hat of sour cream ($9.99).
In Spanish, “parrilla” means “grill,” an apt name for the Latin American–inspired eatery, which specializes in Mexican, Central American, and South American cuisine served “a la parrilla.” Grilled steak, gulf shrimp, and marinated pork shoulder flavor La Parrilla’s specialty tacos, quesadillas, and taquitos, but the restaurant doesn’t limit itself to omnivore-only fare. In fact, it has earned praise from many local and rabbit-run publications for its vegetarian options, such as the veggie empanadas, portobello quesadilla, and chili relleno stuffed with onions, cheese, and cilantro. Bartenders craft tropical cocktails including lime, strawberry, and peach margaritas from a selection of more than 10 tequilas, including a made-in-house chili-infused tequila.
Amigo's Grill and Cantina offers a host of dishes that certainly cater to heartier appetites. Cooks smother pork tamales in pork chili, stuff enchiladas with onions and cheese, and assemble fajitas with more than a pound of veggies and meats such as chicken and steak.
To celebrate American flavors, they craft options such as open-faced roast beef sandwiches with garlic mashed potatoes sculpted into an edible bust of George Washington. To complement meals, bartenders decant more than 10 draft beers into chilled glasses, as well as on-tap margaritas with inventive flavors such as sweet-mango jalape?o.
At two locations, The Other Place’s staff fires up ovens to bake pizzas, italian subs, and sandwiches to a golden brown—the color of Pharaoh’s mask after he eats a chocolate bar. Atop hand-made pizza crusts made from a 40-year-old recipe, the kitchen team layers toppings such as italian sausage, salami, and sun-dried tomatoes, lubricated by tomato, alfredo, and barbecue sauce. Submarine-shaped bread holds italian meats, veggies, and toppings. In both eateries’ dining areas, more than 50 TVs stream sports games. The Other Place also often entertains guests with karaoke—America’s most underappreciated sport, and the one with the least funding in most school districts.
Many studios teach the art of social dancing, but often omit teaching the art of being social. The instructors at TC Dance Club ensure that guests spend as much time kibitzing as they do foxtrotting by hosting classes and open-bar club parties. Between soirees, they teach group and private lessons in dances such as ballroom, Latin, and swing, expediting the learning process by emphasizing the similar patterns across the range of styles. Dancers can dazzle their peers with their newly acquired fancy footwork during Friday night parties, Saturday socials, and member dance shows.
The studio transports students into an elegant dance-hall setting with softly lit chandeliers and a glowing fireplace. The expansive floating dance floor is surrounded by dining tables, sofas, and built-in bar, where patrons can mingle and pontificate on the evolution of the macarena.