When Baja Fresh opened its doors in 1990, freshness wasn’t on the menu at many fast-food restaurants. Disappointed with soggy burgers and floppy fries, the founders built a casual Mexican eatery around fresh, colorful produce and a commitment to healthy living. Cooks prepare meals by hand, using ingredients that hail from real-world farms rather than freeze-dried packages. Tacos and burritos brim with a choice of meats, including pork carnitas and charbroiled steak. Filled with shrimp tacos, tortilla soups, and grilled-chicken salads, a Healthy Choices menu guides diners toward meals that are low in fat, calories, carbs, and smog.
Rattlesnake Cantina operates under the idea that going out to eat should be like a mini vacation. The restaurant backs up that belief by leading its visitors on a colorful trip through the Southwest of the United States, complete with a vibrant wall mural of a Southwestern desert?s golden sand hills and pink and purple skies. Seated next to that mural, or in one of Rattlesnake?s other brightly lit nooks, you can tackle traditional Mexican specialties while sipping on a margarita or tipping an invisible cowboy hat in approval between bites. You can also try out the restaurant?s southwestern spin on American classics, including an avocado and chorizo burger and pork chops served with hot cherry peppers.
Since its founding on Cinco de Mayo, 1989, El Taco Loco has sought to transport the flavors of a California taqueria to the East Coast without the help of preservatives, fillers, artificial flavoring, or lard. Along with classic fajitas, enchiladas, and carne-asada burritos, the extensive menu tweaks tradition with offerings such as the Mexican BLT taco and french fries with a piquant house spice blend, all of which can take on extra heat at the complimentary salsa bar. In the summer, sidewalk flower boxes beckon guests into El Taco Loco's storefront, designed to resemble a beach hut complete with grass roof and vacationing starfish.
When the Egoavil and Anguino families emigrated from Peru in 1992, there was an empty Mexican restaurant awaiting them in the United States. They quickly transformed the dining room with a bounty of Mexican and Peruvian art and the menu with a fusion of Mexican and Peruvian dishes, thanks especially to chef Said Anguiano's specialization in the cuisine of Mexico and and chef Carmen Egoavil's knack for Peruvian fare. Their efforts were so successful that they earned the Best of Lambertville Award in 2013.
Today, Anguiano stuffs fish inside tacos and Egoavil marinates the seafood in the ceviche dish’s lime juice and Peruvian peppers. She blankets chicken in a spicy pepper sauce in the aji de gallina dish, while Anguiano folds chicken into enchiladas, burritos, and tamales. The two countries’ traditional meals sit side-by-side on tables in the bright orange dining room or out on the pet-friendly patio.
When dining at a Mexican restaurant, everyone expects to see burritos, tacos, and enchiladas on the menu. But you might not expect those enchiladas?flavored with tangy tomatillo sauce?to be stuffed with crab. And you'd also be pleasantly surprised upon scanning the rest of the menu at Mayans Mexican Cocina, where specialty dishes such as broiled salmon in garlic and herbs sit alongside the traditional flautas and fajitas.
Other intriguing entrees include the camarones en pipian, which consists of shrimp in a creamy pumpkin-seed sauce, and an entire red snapper seasoned with spices, Vera Cruz?style. Vegetarians can peruse options from avocado tacos to burritos filled with tasty tofu, instead of just leaves from the sidewalk outside. All meals pair with BYOB drinks.
To make the Fat Ortley burrito, chefs stuff a tortilla with chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, french fries, ketchup, lettuce, and tomatoes. The eclectic burrito is the brainchild of self-proclaimed foodie Bruce Jones, who graduated from Rutgers University and brings his love of Tex-Mex fusion dishes to the masses at his eatery, Papa Grande Grille. There, chefs fill tacos with Corona-battered cod, and cook up their own jerk chicken. Other standouts include BangBang shimp burritos and a mango chicken quesadilla.