At first peek, the patrons at Casa Jimenez could be entering a rural Mexican townhouse, judging by the eatery's burnt-orange shingled roof and egg-white-hued façade. Upon entry, a flood of natural light from large bay windows reveals a steaming parade of Mexican dishes crowded with tortilla-cloaked bites of pork, steak, and shrimp. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, diners cure spoons' hypothermia with dips in the bubbling depths of a time-tested mexican soup or embrace indecision with combination plates of burritos, enchiladas, and tacos that offer a warm rush without the indignity of being tackled by a Care Bear.
Fresh air from ceiling fans whirs by plants that hang from the ceiling. The food is as fresh as the air at La Mexicana Restaurant, where cooks serve seafood such as shrimp cooked in ranchero sauce, meat and vegetarian burritos, as well as tortas and tostadas.
The scent of sizzling steak wafts from the kitchen at Leno's Rico Taco, a cozy Mexican eatery located near Colton High School. The spot's cooks pile that steak into warm tortillas, pairing the tacos with chopped onions, cilantro, and pickled vegetables. Visitors place their orders at a counter, savoring the aroma of carne asada as they wait to hear their numbers called.
Located on the gorgeous shores of Lake Mission Viejo and decorated with hand-painted murals, the picture-perfect hacienda features a menu packed with Mexican favorites. House specialties include carnitas (fresh, Mexican-style pork with frijoles, arroz, salsa fresca, and guacamole, $14.95) and the mole Maria (tender chicken topped with homemade mole sauce, $14.95). If you bring a Valentine's date, the platon de tacos (for two people, $26.95) gives you both ample opportunity to eat from either end of a custom-made taco and meet in the middle—a couples activity as romantic to experience as it is disgusting to watch. Seafarers will dig the marinated convergence of raw fish, lime, onions, tomatoes, and cilantro in Tortilla Flats' ceviche ($11.95) or the sautéed crab and shrimp medley of chimichanga de mariscos ($18.95), while herbivores can savor some deep-fried tostadas stuffed with veggies ($10.95). Chase it all with a dessert of fried ice cream ($6.95) or caramel flan ($4.95). Tortilla Flats also offers a respectable wine list.