The Phoenix area is wealthy in greasy Mexican fast food. These places generally have drive-through and are open 24/7. Moreover, they quite simply make the world a better place. Take Armando’s in Deer Valley, for example. I was hankering for something good on the way to northern Arizona, and Armando’s stood out like a shiny beacon calling for me.
Hot on the heels of visiting perhaps the most overpriced (but still tasty) Mexican place I have ever been to, La Hacienda, I took a trip to Scottsdale Quarter to eat at Sol. Sol’s prices may not rival La Hacienda’s, but it is certainly in the upscale Mexican food family. Of course, it is not lost on me that while “sol” means “sun” in Spanish, it is also the name of the money in Peru.
It’s not often that I eat at a new place (for me) twice before getting a chance to review that place. Yet, that weirdly happened with Hash Kitchen, a breakfast spot (no, not a dispensary) with a few locations around the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. As you may expect, they specialize in Bloody Marys. Okay, but also in different kinds of hash if you’re not in a Bloody Mary mood, which I literally never am.
In LA, the word Rodeo usually means one thing: a shopping street in Beverly Hills. Sometimes it means another random street on the west side and occasionally it means the thing with cowboys and stuff. Almost never does it mean dinner, unless you happen to find yourself strolling along Sunset in Echo Park and stepping into the first divey Mexican place you can find that just so happens to go by the name of Rodeo.
Recently I was driving down Penn Ave around Lawrenceville and I just happened to spot a Mexican place called Los Cabos. Moreover, it wasn’t just Mexican, but SoCal-style Mexican and I just had to stop in. What I found was a small Mexican spot that looked like the average corner taco or burrito shop all around Southern California, including the famous California Burrito.
While Pittsburgh may not be a hotbed of Mexican food, a friend of mine has been telling me to check out El Burro Comedor forever. The trouble is that the place is all the way over on the North Side, which in Point Breeze may as well be West Virginia. Nonetheless, I made it there and noticed that in addition to seeming like hipster central, the place had a menu that seemed to be pulled right from San Diego.
The world may be full of Mexican restaurants, but little taquerias are kinda confined to certain parts of the USA. Fortunately, while in San Jose we happened upon a place called Tacos al Pastor #2. The whereabouts of #1 are unknown, but the thought was that any taqueria deserving of a sequel was deserving of my stomach.
San Francisco’s Financial District may not be lauded for their Mexican food (that distinction belongs to the Mission from what I hear), yet somehow I found myself at Tropisueño getting down with Mexico. A far cry from a simple taqueria, Tropisueño is a pretty classy place, with mood lighting and menu prices somewhat reflecting a neighborhood that calls itself the Financial District.
Seattle is pretty far north of the border. The border with Mexico, that is, because Canada is super close. So, when I went to dinner at Casa Rojas on Bainbridge Island, I had my trepidations about the quality of the cuisine. These trepidations were certainly tempered on account of the meal being paid for by an alum, but I was still hoping for something good.