Dining Outside the Home: Dos Reales Mexican Restaurant in Champaign, Illinois! When it gets steamy hot in the Midwest , rest assured you can cool things off at a casual spot for classic Mexican cooking and salt-rimmed margaritas that go down smooth and easy. Order a Taco Salad. It’s served in a fried flour tortilla shell, then cradled with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sour cream, chunky guacamole, and spicy salsa. Saira can add seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken to suit your taste. Either way, you get a healthy dose of veggies that’ll keep you coming back for more…whenever you pass through town.
Dining Outside the Home: Tortilla Republic Kitchen and Margarita Bar in Koloa, Kauai. Picture this. The sun is super-bright and tropical-warm to the point where ducking into a Mexican cantina for a salt-rimmed margarita would have been a good idea about an hour ago. Nevertheless, the shade on the outdoor patio feels 10° cooler under the turquoise blue umbrella as the breezes are beginning to stir. The house margarita goes down easy on its way to an order of Quesadilla Vegetariano. I’m sure you get the picture. Complimentary tortilla chips and spicy salsa are perfect for snacking. This is a recipe for making my day.
Dining Outside the Home: Mariachi’s Mexican Restaurant in Lihue, Kauai. Across a footbridge over a cool mountain stream, the dusty road becomes a well trodden path where the festive flavors of Mexico blend into a warm, inviting atmosphere. Hola, amigos. Please have a seat for open-air dining. The family-owned and family-run restaurant originated years ago in San Diego. Now on the island of Kauai since 1992, Mariachi’s not only offers a free ocean view, but the menu options come highly recommended as well. Think about what to order while sipping on a classic lime margarita, salted rim optional. Take things slow and easy. In time, you may come to see why the family chose a new life in paradise serving authentic Mexican food.
Dining Outside the Home: Yolös Mexican Grill in Las Vegas, Nevada! Every place has a story behind their name, so this place is no exception. Yolo! You Only Live Once! Head over to Planet Hollywood to get the party started. Yolös Mexican Grill has your number and it’s lucky number 7. Check out Happy Hour for amazing fresh fruit margaritas. Chilled and icy. Try any number of specialty foods with Mexican, Pacific Rim, South American, and Caribbean influences. The salsas are out of this world delicious. Habanero Papaya, Tomatillo, Roasted Tomato, Diablo. Make your next stop among the glowing lights of an urban cantina. You only live once.
Dining Outside the Home: Guy Fieri’s Vegas Kitchen in Las Vegas, Nevada! Gigantic words hit you before ever setting foot inside the door, “Go Big or Go Home”. And this is no joke. Whether it be boasting or a warning, heed these words. We shared the Original Ringer Burger, a mountain of juicy meat, gooey cheese, crispy onion rings, and donkey sauce (you don’t want to know). It came with a generous side of quad fries. Exactly. Naturally we needed to wash it down with a 52-ounce stemmed punch bowl listed as the Kicked Up Caddy. And it was. The specialty margarita was a perfect blend of tequila, Cointreau, agave, lime, and jalapeño. It came with two straws. Being Vegas, we got a “to go” container and walked around afterwards sipping on it. Be bold, go hungry.
Dining Outside the Home: China Poblano in Las Vegas, Nevada! For a mid afternoon break, rest your feet at the Cosmopolitan and people-watch awhile. China Poblano is a place where the menu features a magnificent blend of Mexican and Asian cuisine. Honestly, it works. One starring attraction is chef José Andrés’ created cocktail known as the “Salt Air Margarita”. Basically, the salty rim is eliminated and replaced with a thick layer of sea salt foam over fresh lime, agave, and tequila. It’s almost like taking a plunge into the ocean on a tropical island. Remarkable, refreshing, and invigorating. Well done.
Dining Outside the Home: El Nopal Mexican Restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky! Be bold. Slide into a booth as the staff quickly appears with a basket of salty, warm tortilla chips and a couple carafes of Mexican salsa. This is how to get the evening started at El Nopal. In a matter of minutes, two lime margaritas are delivered to the table. One sip reveals a burst of freshness followed by a citrusy finish. Why do we like Mexican food so much? Perhaps it’s the family atmosphere, the kick of spice, or the sizzling fajitas. More than likely, it’s the queso cheese! Am I right? Between the fresh veggies, the guacamole, and the refried beans, it all comes together for the perfect combination.
Dining Outside the Home: Monico’s Taqueria in Wailua, Kauai! Word is out. The pork Carnitas Plate is unbelievable. It is so incredibly good, even the staff has no idea how Chef Monico works his magic. He begins with cubes of fresh, tender pork meat, seasoned just right, and then cooks them in a way that presents a crisp crunchy outside with a burst of moist spicy pork on the inside. It will practically have you rolling your eyes in delirium. Where’s the photo, you wonder? I forgot to take one. I got so excited when Megan brought the Carnitas Plate that I dove right in. But my husband ordered the Chicken Taquitos and said they were “Muy Bien!”
Dining Outside the Home: Mariachi’s Restaurant-Authentic Mexican Cuisine in Lihue, Kauai! Step inside this shaded cantina setting to discover a place that has been serving south-of-the-border favorites in the Hawaiian Islands for just barely over ten years. But don’t let that stop you. The tried and true family recipes make up signature dishes that survived the test of time in Guerrero Mexico. Experience the bold flavors, the icy cold lime margaritas, the tender meats, spicy rice, and an entire menu of outstanding choices. Go crazy. Don a sombrero, celebrate the day, and check out the Happy Hour specials. Olé!