Joe Garcia has worked a lot of different jobs. As a child in California, he and his father sold fresh food to local markets. When he was 18, he was drafted into World War II, where he served as a paratrooper, and after the war, he founded a bilingual magazine, Mas Graphicas. He later went on to open his first Mexican restaurants in Huntington Beach and Castaic, and then founded two successful Mexican food companies to supply supermarkets with authentic Mexican cuisine. In 2009, he decided to open Famous Joe’s—a place where guests can stop in for the same traditionally prepared Mexican dishes that made him so successful in the past.
Famous Joe’s enchants taste buds with house specialties such as the fish tacos topped with a chipotle cream sauce and the extra-large burritos filled with anything from carne asada to chiles rellenos in a red sauce. These pair with traditional appetizers such as flautas or less traditional appetizers such as the Food Coma cheese fries topped with your choice of meat, cheese, bacon, guacamole, and sour cream. Mouths cool off by sipping imported beers, gulping glasses of horchata, or licking the napkins.
In drawing from a long tradition of Mexican recipes, particularly street food, the chefs at Cabo Taco Baja Grill frequently find creative ways to change their menus. They may wrap corn or flour tortillas around five types of burritos or a quartet of tacos, each stuffed with piquant sauces and fillings such as chicken, carnitas, shrimp, and vegetables. They also craft their own interpretations of street-style tacos, stuffed with ingredients such as pork tossed in mango puree, Caribbean jerk-style chicken, or carne asada with grilled onions and balsamic reduction. The eatery also boasts more than 40 rotating craft beers.
The first Baja Fresh opened in 1990 as a rebuttal to the country's spate of traditional burger-and-fries chains. Today, each location upholds the eatery’s original mission of providing an alternative to traditional fast food with a kitchen that fires meats, chops farm-fresh produce, and pours house-made salsa over grilled tortillas. Guests can nosh on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and fajitas amid a dining room with decor more bright and cheery than the sun after it eats a bag of pixie stix for breakfast.
Harbor Mexican Cafe's chefs stoke ovens and tend grills to build a menu with some of Mexican cuisine's most iconic staples. To fill each burrito and enchilada with authentic, homestyle flavors, the chefs simmer chunks of beef in salsa roja, make guacamole in-house, and hand-flatten ears of corn to make tortillas.
Chefs at La Cocina pick fresh ingredients sourced from the surrounding area to build Mexican and Cuban plates as colorful as the eatery's bright orange walls or a firework-filled piñata. After rounds of fresh ceviche or ham croquetas, rustic wooden tabletops fill with made-to-order rice dishes such as the palomilla empanizada—thin-pounded top sirloin steak breaded and pan-fried—or stone mortars known as molcajete filled with chorizo or seafood and fresh cheese. For dessert, chefs hand-craft creamy flan or natural shakes made with mango or tropical mamey fruit. A tiled chair rail runs along the restaurant's tangerine walls, which are studded with Mexican-style art and framed photographs of famous burritos that have visited the restaurant.