Category Archives: Mexican

Viva la #PatioVida at OTB

I’m a queso fiend … I’m not ashamed to admit it. Add a patio, some nice weather, live music, and friends, and I’m one happy girl. Since I was meant to be leaving for a trip to Mexico next week that fell through, I needed a little tequila and sunshine to soften the blow.

Turns out, On The Border was the spot to get both, because OTB is helping us take our patio happy hour game to the next level this summer with amazing food and drink deals. What’s more, select locations will have live music every Thursday on their patios across the country this summer. (Dallasites: you can enjoy fantastic live music and a lively patio at their Knox location!)

I ventured out the last couple of Thursdays to enjoy the festivities with friends, and each was more bold than I when ordering. I’m a creature of habit–if I know I like something, I go with it. (Mostly because I’m too lazy to be bothered to order something else.) I took a bit of a chance on my last visit and used OTB’s #PatioVida Quiz that suggests food and drink pairings. (My result was their new Limeade Fresca and Empanadas … which I promptly enjoyed.)

Since I’m hugely into drinks, we’ll talk booze first. Starting in May (and ending September 4), OTBs across the country started offering a seasonal margarita, a Watermelon Margarita, made with watermelon purée! To make it more exciting, OTB is offering this fresher-than-fresh margarita for just $4 all day on Thursdays! (For $1 more, make it a grande, and for $2 more you can make it a Coronarita!)

Not into tequila? (I hear you, friends.) OTB is now offering four new non-tequila cocktails–the Limeade Fresca,  Cuba Libre, Padre Island Tea, and Poncho Punch–all unique, new options for OTB.

They didn’t stop at new drink options–they are also offering new food items on their bar menu that launched last month. If you want to try all of their new items, make sure you’re in for happy hour (4-7pm weekdays) where you can get snacks starting at just $2. (If you’re too cheap to shell out the $2 for queso, go ahead and sign up for Club Cantina and get a free queso or sopapillas!)

So, cheers to inexpensive happy hour snacks and booze at OTB this summer. And make sure to snap pictures of your visit and post them using #PatioVida!

 

 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of On The Border . The opinions and text are all mine.

Salsa Limon – Fort Worth Centro

I’m pretty sure most Fort Worthians (I think that’s what we are called) will agree that Salsa Limon turns out some of the best tacos this side of Arlington. That said, I was really excited to hear that they opened a new location in downtown Fort Worth in the Tower building. This isn’t just a typical Salsa Limon … oh no … because this one serves liquor. Now you can get a margarita or a spiked agua fresca while enjoying the yummy tacos. Blessed be the taco gods.

Salsa Limon is trying to honor and preserve true Mexican taquerias–they use only the freshest ingredients. Their best selling taco is the El Capitan, which just happens to be my personal favorite. A buttery, toasted flour tortilla, Oaxaca-Jack cheese, pickled cabbage, onion, cilantro, and whatever filling you want. BRB I have to go wipe my drool real quick. I’ve always gone with my “safe” order of a Chicken El Capitan, but I got to experience some different meats that might have changed my order. I tried the Tripa for the first time last week, and to my surprise, I enjoyed this Mexican delicacy. If you want to just trust me that it’s really good, but not know what part of the animal it comes from … stop reading now. For those of you who are curious: cow intestine.

Now for the salsa. I may or may not be known to ordering large quantities of their amazing salsa and to keep it in my fridge … but let’s not spread that around. So the tomatillo (my favorite) and piquin are traditional taqueria salas, and the jalapeño and habanero are family recipes. Basically, if you haven’t tried all of their salsas, especially the jalapeño, you must. I personally believe that the range from mild to crazy hot goes a little like this: tomatillo > piquin > jalapeño > habanero. Salsa Limon says that piquin is spicer than the jalapeño, but try it at your own risk.

salsa-limon-2

The difference between this location and the others, as previously mentioned, is that they have booooooze to calm your fired-up taste buds. I would recommend the sour margarita as it’s as pure a margarita as you can get here. All the limes are squeezed by their fun orange juice machine regularly, so it’s fresh fresh fresh. Not into margraitas? You can also add rum, vodka, or gin to their agua frescas. I personally enjoy the hibiscus tea with gin.

 

Bonus- This location is perfect for late night. I have always felt that downtown Fort Worth was lacking in late night eats- problem solved. They are open till 3 am Friday and Saturday nights. Double bonus- they have a pretty great patio that looks onto the streets of downtown.

Salsa Limon- Centro
Website
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
550 Throckmorton Street (Fort Worth)
817-615-9760

Hours:
Monday- Thursday: 7am-10pm
Friday- Saturday: 7am-3am
Sunday: 7am-9pm

 

Mí Día From Scratch

DFW has some serious options for Mexican food, but we’re so accustomed to the watered down (yet still delicious in its own way) Tex Mex that we forget that there are authentic options out there–Javier’s, Meso Maya, Mí Día, and more.  Mí Día From Scratch recently opened its second location in Plano, and it features the food we’ve come to expect from Chef Gabriel DeLeon that blends authentic Mexican cuisine with tastes of Santa Fe and a bit of Tex Mex.

The food is incredible (and we’ll get to that in time), but the real winner here is those of us who enjoy a drink from time to time.  Their extensive Tequila Tower offers quite a few high end tequilas for their hand crafted drinks, and they’ve even  infused their own tequilas to use in their signature drinks like the Blueberry Habanero Margarita featuring their blueberry-infused Patrón Silver, Cointreau, habanero, lemon, and agave nectar and the Riviera Maya with Strawberry-Infused Dulce Vida Blanco tequila, St. Germain, Coiuntreau, lemon, and agave nectar.  The infusions are flavorful without being overpowering, and the Patron XO infused with dark cocoa and strawberry is not to be missed–rich yet strong and perfect to sip with dessert.

The food has been some of the most unique and authentic seen from a Mexican restaurant in the area since the opening of the original location in Grapevine.  Make sure to call over their fully stocked tableside guacamole cart and start with a giant Molcajete of fresh guac made with your instruction for $15 (enough for 4-6 people)–and don’t forget the bacon.  Their Sopes de Carnitas (corn masa boats with black beans, pork carnitas, queso fresco, pickled onions) were also a nice start to the meal with a nice tang from the roasted tomatillo salsa.

 

Their menu, as mentioned, offers traditional Mexican options along with some Sante Fe and Tex Mex options.  Everything ordered was incredible, but the biggest upset was that our stomachs weren’t large enough to put away more of it.  Standouts were:
Wood Grilled Banana Leaf Wrapped Salmon (rubbed with achiote, citrus, served with morita whipped potatoes, sautéed chayote & mango-lemongrass mojo): the fish was fresh and the citrus gave it a nice brightness.
Duck Carnitas (Maple Leaf Farms duck, pickled onion, roasted poblanos, micro cilantro, chile morita on flour tortillas): these little tacos served flat were delights thanks to the richness of the duck.
Codorniz (pecan-grilled Manchester Farms whole quail served with guajillo rice & charro beans): these little beauties were tender and exquisite … I may upgrade to the three-bird plate next time.

 

While the meal was amazing, I’m pissed I didn’t go for the Quesadillas de Huitlacoche (Sautéed Mexican truffle, queso asadero & roasted veggies between house made blue corn tortillas) because they sound ah-mazing.  Also a huge miss?  Not saving room for dessert.  (I mean … a Deconstructed Mexican Macaron?  How did I miss that?)

… a return trip must be planned.


MÍ DÍA FROM SCRATCH

midiafromscratch.com
PLANO: West Plano Village, 3310 Dallas Pkwy #105, (972)403-7474
GRAPEVINE: 1295 S Main Street, (817)421-4747

Cuellars’ Fajita Ranch

If you’ve ventured up 75 lately, you may have seen a new restaurant sign among the many around Parker for Cuellars’ Fajita Ranch.  The restaurant opened in June and was created by three cousins offers “Ranch-Mex” options, which is exactly what you think it is from the name–the foods you’d eat when hanging out on your family or friend’s ranch, mesquite grilled, and served in healthy portions.

Their drinks are quite Tex-Mex–think plenty of margarita options, both frozen and on the rocks, and in many different flavors.  We tried a few of their flavored margaritas and they were plenty fruity and just enough boozy.

cuellars_swirl_susie-oszustowicz

Appetizers are about as you’d expect with a couple surprises like their Bean Layer Dip and White Wings, which are delicious wings wrapped in bacon.  (Bring it on.)  Just make sure to keep it light with the appetizers because you’ll have plenty of food on its way to you after ordering your entrées.

White Wings
White Wings

For dinner, since it’s in the name, you should probably go for the fajitas.  The best part?  They have a LOT of options for you from the traditional beef and chicken to portobello mushroom and ribeye fajita style.  Just make sure to throw on some extras–think baby back rubs, jalapeño sausage, and fried eggs.  All fajitas are served sizzling and mesquite grilled … and delicious.  But if you can’t make up your mind (or have an army to feed), you can go for their “Combo Corral” options–the Fajitas del Rey feed “two” and the Tailgate Party feeds “four”.  Both are vastly huge portions of meat and come with plenty of sides and other goodies … eat hearty, and make friends to share with.

Other entrée options include steaks and chicken (available grilled or chicken fried), fish, some Tex-Mex favorites like chipotle quesadillas and burritos, and healthy things that I don’t really need to talk about because … fajitas.

Dessert is as it should be–golden, crispy churros served with molten chocolate sauce and delicate sopapillas.

cuellars_churros_susie-oszustowicz

CUELLARS’ FAJITA RANCH
fajitaranch.com
3310 N Central Expressway (Plano)
(972) 905-5638

Freebirds re-imagined (and delicious as ever)

Who doesn’t love Freebirds? I mean, seriously … any place I can order a 5 POUND burrito is A-OK in my book. I lived within walking distance of a Freebirds location for a few years, and I’m pretty sure the steak nachos directly contributed to my “graduation” to a brand new pants size. Ahhh, those were the days.

Anyhoooo. Lately, it seems this College Station staple is seemingly popping up on every corner; burrito lovers, rejoice! One of the newest locations is the Castle Hills location in The Colony. This location is significant in that it features their updated design concept. Freebirds was kind of enough to invite the team in to check out the re-design, and of course, to be reminded of how awesome the food is. (As if I could have forgotten.)

The staff at Freebirds Castle Hills was obviously pretty gosh-darn proud of this re-imagined location, and it was easy to see why. Freebirds fanatics may be surprised upon entering the restaurant to note an absence of graffiti-style artwork, no motorcycle hanging from the ceiling, and … wait for it … no tin foil animals perched on every exposed surface. The new concept features a new, modern, industrial farmhouse design, incorporating digital menu boards, a reclaimed wood wall, cold rolled steel, and an open kitchen concept. The restaurant sure is perty.

Picture courtesy of Freebirds
Castle Hills location – Picture courtesy of Freebirds

But, let’s cut to the chase: The food continues to be worthy of an extra trip to the gym.

Freebirds is a freezer-free operation, meaning “fresh” is the only option. Freebirds focuses on premium ingredients, and just about everything you can imagine is prepared in-house; guacamole is prepared twice daily and on an as-needed, basis, the beans are cooked in-house (FYI- the refried are lard-free, thankyouverymuch), and the grass-fed sirloin is marinated in the restaurant for 24 hours prior to grilling. Heck … they even grate their own cheese.  Freebirds insists upon “talent-based” cooking, which means recipes are far from formulaic. For example Freebirds’ carnitas are slow-roasted, and they are done cooking only once they have achieved perfect tenderness … and not when a timer goes off. Clearly, an exercise in patience and passion.

All of your old favorites- burritos, bowls, tacos, nachos, quesadillas, and salads- are of course still available at Freebirds. If you haven’t visited in a while … first of all, I’m sorry. Secondly, Freebirds has rolled out a few new menu items in an effort to offer something for everyone. In addition to their delicious lineup of grass-fed steak, pork carnitas, and chicken, Freebirds has added a vegan protein option: Tempeh Calabacitas. This Mexican-inspired dish consists of squash, bell peppers, and nutty tempeh tossed with an authentic blend of spices. I tried it for myself- on a salad, no less (how healthy am I?*),  and it was delicious, and certainly a welcomed deviation from  the largely uninspired variety of vegetarian dishes available at many restaurants. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, but don’t want to sacrifice your meat (after all, this is TEXAS), Freebirds has got you covered.

New menu offerings include 6 entrees under 600 calories, and no, you don’t have to order a salad! IN FACT, you can still order a burrito. Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.

*Pay no attention to the various other cheese and meat laden entrees pictured in this blog


Freebirds Castle Hills
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Menu/Fax Order Form
6225 N. Josey LaneSuite 124, The Colony
214-469-1449

Sunday-Thursday 10:30am – 9:00pm
Friday-Saturday 10:30am – 10:00pm

Information on Other Locations

Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila

Written by Anna Tomczyk

Everyone loves a relaunch.  That’s why, when Susie asked me to stop into Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila (formerly Lazaranda), I was excited to see how they’d remixed their offerings and if they still had their killer ceviche on the menu.

As I entered Cinco, I noticed the modern craftsman décor splashed with bold Mexican colors and up-beat Mexican music. I was greeted immediately by a friendly, fun staff and they escorted me to a table in the bar area. The bar at Cinco is separated from the main dining room, allowing this restaurant the ability to go from a happening Saturday night out, to a calm mid-week dinner in no time.

I quickly noticed their expansive tequila list (because … tequila), Mexican beer and drinks, and, of course, their margaritas–they have 10 different choices when it comes to their margaritas, a fully loaded tequila bar and are also stocked with more than 12 beers on tap … holy tough decisions, Batman. My date (ahem … my handsome husband) and I both tried out the house margaritas, he ordered his frozen and I had mine on the rocks. It should be said that this is not an average boring house margarita made with mediocre mix and (god forbid) cheap tequila … oh, no, you won’t run in to that here. Their house margarita is made with 100% Agave Tequila and freshly squeezed key limes allowing a natural, balanced sweetness to blend flavors with the smooth tequila. They dusted the rim of the glass with a blend of salt and Tajin, which added a slight savory tang to this semi-sweet drink. Both styles of margaritas were more than acceptable – whether you like it on the rocks or frozen, the house margarita is a must!  Also, don’t miss the incredible selection of tequilas–great for mixing or sipping!

Picture courtesy of Cinco Tacos
Picture courtesy of Cinco Tacos

As we were happily sipping on our margs, we were able to try many appetizers and the house chips and salsa. I was again very delighted to see the generous use of Tajin on the house-made chips that paired nicely with their in-house salsas. All of their salsas were very fresh and full of flavor, and my favorite was the Molcajete Salsa –a peppery, roasted tomato blend with a warm medium spice.

Their appetizers were phenomenal and proved to be authentic, but mastered to their own unique style. Among the many small plates we tried, the Aztec Shrimp Ceviche was one of the most memorable. The shrimp ceviche boasted a bold key lime flavor, with grilled cactus leaves, fresh tomatoes, onions, and Serrano and pasilla peppers. I am always a sucker for ahi tuna and the Michoacan Fresh Tuna Tostadas had a satisfying blend of citrus and savory, and the creamy chipotle dressing completed the small bite perfectly. We finished our small plate happy hour with dessert, and the house made flan was a show-stopper with a warm, nutty flavor, and creamy texture.

foto-home-0211
Aztec Shrimp Ceviche

Cinco Tacos Cocina & Tequila is a taste of Mexico right here in Dallas. With so many choices throughout the DFW area for Tex-Mex and Mexican restaurants, this hearty Mexican restaurant is a must try for those seeking a truly authentic Mexican dining experience. You will not be disappointed with the modern accents on traditional classics, and the chef holds nothing back with the freshest ingredients and a well-rounded menu.  I’d suggest bellying up to the bar and ordering a (few) margaritas and enjoying a boozy happy hour with some of their delicious appetizers.


CINCO TACOS COCINA
cincotacoscocina.com
Facebook | Twitter
5000 Belt Line Road, Addison
(972)866-8900

Happy Hour: Monday-Friday, 3-7pm
Beers: $3-4
Wells: $4
La Zaranda Signature Wine: $4
House Margaritas: $4
Premium Margaritas: $7
Select appetizers $9.50-11

Sunday Brunch Buffet: Sundays 10am-3pm
$19.95/person, $7.95/children 10 and under

***Cinco Tacos Cocina invited me in to try out their offerings gratis.  All images courtesy of Cinco.***

Primo’s: New Ownership, Old Favorites

Primo’s is a Dallas institution in it’s own right. It would be harder to find a cheesier enchilada or a frostier happy hour margarita than the familiar offerings at this beloved industry favorite.

In case you missed it, Primo’s closed its doors in 2013 and reopened them again in early 2015 under new ownership. The new owners attempted to update Primo’s tried and true menu, much to the chagrin of many once-loyal fans. It wasn’t working. I have wonderful news for Primo’s loyalists and Tex Mex enthusiasts alike: Primo’s is, once again, under new ownership; and this time, new owners Dirk and Mark Kelcher (of Ron’s Place and now Cedar’s Social) intend to restore Primo’s to its former glory. Primo’s fans can expect to see the majority of the original menu, with a few thoughtful additions  that don’t take away from what Primo’s should be.

Some welcomed additions to Primo’s menu include a variety of new specialty cocktails, as well as a collection of aptly dangerous tequila flights. While Primo’s Tex Mex menu is full of old favorites, their re-vamped cocktail menu is creative and playful- in a good way. If you’re feeling indecisive, throw caution to the wind and consider allowing  the bartender to craft you an off-menu libation based on your personal preferences. I was lucky enough to sample several off-menu creations, such as the delightfully zippy Basil Jalapeño Margarita and the cleverly crafted Moscow-Rita, prepared with ginger beer in place of triple sec. While all of the specialty cocktails I sampled were interesting and delicious, I would be remiss not to remind everyone how comforting and satisfying Primo’s house marg so happens to be. Not too sweet, not too tart, and nice and smooth; simple and darn near perfect.

I can happily confirm the Kelchers are delivering on their promise to stay true to Primo’s old school Tex Mex roots. The chips are crispy and hot, the salsa spicy, the queso decadently thick and cheesy, and the guac is fresh and chunky. Primo’s beef tacos cause grease to dribble down your chin in the best way possible. Meanwhile, the chicken tacos are quite possibly the ultimate soul-warming comfort food … apart from, of course, the enchiladas. Fajitas are served sizzling, decorated with sexy little char marks that cause one to salivate in anticipation.

Ongoing specials include Margarita Tuesdays, including $3 margs and $7 taco plates, along with Happy Hour Monday-Friday, 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m., including $3 domestic drafts, house wines, house margs, and well. $7.99 lunch specials are available Monday-Friday from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.


Primo’s Tex Mex Grille
www.PrimosTexMex.com
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1400 Hi Line Drive, Suite 116 (Design District)
(214) 390-7671

Hours of Operation:
Sunday- Monday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tuesday- Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Wild Salsa

I’m always stoked to try new places and the new taco joint (if you can call it a joint) on Main was a pleasure.  Upon walking up to the front door, I was worried that the entire place would take the lead of the awkward sign in front, but it certainly didn’t.

The decor was complete with backlit Patron bottle columns (top right), authentic Día de los Muertos art from Mexico City, and a curtain separating the walkway from the bar seating area with rose designs on them.  It was quite a festive atmosphere and I look forward to heading back to explore the concrete bar further – it spanned half the restaurant!

The patio was lit by large string lights and was complete with tables and one in particular with a fire pit smack dab in the middle.  I look forward to heading back to enjoy the patio when it dips below triple-digit temperatures to watch the beautiful people frequenting the adjacent Mercantile pool.

Once at our table, our waitress recommended the Wild Rita … the Wild Rita was no slouch.   It was spicy, fragrant, rimmed with chili-lime salt, and it was BIG.  I’d give the drink a AAA rating – and I don’t even like tequila!  They also have Negra Modelo, Dos Equis, and Bud light on tap, a drink list with five interesting margaritas and six cocktails to choose from.

The only thing better than the margarita was the food.  The chips were just about average, but the avocado salsa was to die for; it’s no wonder that this place is called Wild Salsa (I went through two bowls myself before our food came).  They offer other salsas for a cost and sadly my dinner guest didn’t feel the need to try them … bummer.  I partook in the three-taco platter with rice and beans and tried three different ones … including a “lengua”, or beef tongue, and it was delicious!  They use local ingredients and they are listed on a chalkboard at the front of the shop.

Bottom line: I like a swanky place that can still keep its focus on the food and drink, and Wild Salsa does just that.  Definitely put a night aside to jump in here and enjoy the unique fare and strong drinks.

Extra info: they have a great wait staff, everyone is very friendly.  Food is served late on Fridays and Saturdays (but I don’t know how late).  ALSO, they may be opening for some serious late-night drunk taco action because they have what looks like a to-go window on Main.

Drink strength: 4.5
Overall: 4

Wild Salsa 
www.wildsalsarestaurant.com
1800 Main St (Downtown) | 214-741-WILD

Specials:
Monay-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $3.50 beers, $4 house margaritas, $4 wells