The cantina's colorful emblem displays its namesake, "three hombres," who all sport different facial hair but seem to share a single, spacious sombrero. This same blending of whimsy and tradition inspires Cantina Los Tres Hombres's signature margaritas and expansive menu of authentic Mexican dishes.
Natural light plunges through large picture windows, as tables populate with sizzling fajitas, massive burritos, and hearty combination platters overflowing with mesquite-grilled steak or chicken, fresh seafood, and crispy pork carnitas. Chefs add zip to their culinary creations with a variety of specialty sauces ranging from the smoky chipotle chili adobo to the rich and herbaceous butter, white-wine, and fresh-cilantro sauce. Salt-rimmed margaritas complement south-of-the-border morsels, and live acoustic tunes on Tuesday through Friday complement south-of-the-ankle foot twitches.
Just as Thomas Edison stumbled through useless prototypes of light bulbs and movie cameras before perfecting the phonograph, the alchemists at Qdoba Mexican Grill took 47 attempts before landing on the franchise's signature blend of three cheeses, known simply as queso. That attention to detail still pervades every aspect of the menu, as employees spend hours each day chopping, dicing, and simmering the fresh ingredients that find their way into burritos, taco salads, and grilled quesadillas. Beyond the marinated bites of chicken, beef, and pork and hand-crafted tortillas, cooks protect their ripe, fragile avocados from harm by smashing them into batches of fluffy guacamole.
Taco John's swiftly serves an assortment of tangy Mexican fare and bold-flavored innovative snacks. The edible oeuvre includes the eatery's signature super potato olés: black olives, beef, beans, tomatoes, guacamole, sour cream, and melted cheese smothering a helping of golden-brown tater nuggets ($4.89). Those who create Venn diagrams to decide between soft or crunchy tortillas can choose the middle ground and get both with the taco bravo ($1.89). Taste another victory for American and Mexican relations with the taco burger, featuring tacos' usual contents nestled between two fresh buns ($1.59). The fajita chicken quesadilla melt ($2.89) awakens groggy taste buds with fire roasted bell peppers and onions.
When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item?which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"?to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson?s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
It is not just the pastas, sandwiches, and pizzas that keep guests coming back to Pete's Restaurant and Brewhouse—the hand-crafted beers also play a major role, quenching thirsts with flavors ranging from the Uptown blonde’s light layers of honey to the highly hoppy profile of the Skinner’s Horse IPA. Pete’s team keeps meals in balance by offering food-and-beer-paring suggestions, assuring diners that the Midtown ale harmonizes with fish tacos and that the Old Town red—a malty, medium-bodied amber ale—improves coordination for slam-dunking meatballs.
Ezequiel Rodriguez has cooked French cuisine, Italian pastas, and lots of seafood during his 40-year career, but his favorite remains Mexican. As owner and head chef of Cabos Restaurant, he builds the menu from all his favorite flavors. Rodriguez stuffs fire-roasted poblano peppers with cheese and seafood before battering and grilling them. He fills soft, small flour tortillas with grilled red snapper marinated in garlic lime sauce, or piles shredded beef into taco shells and fries the whole thing until crispy. The kitchen expert also maintains a full bar that looks like it's fresh out of paradise's main beach. His libations help wash down his culinary creations, including many varieties of margaritas made with the restaurant's own exclusive tequila and secret recipe for ice.