¡Lotería! Grill first opened in the LA Farmers Market by Jimmy Shaw in 2002. Now there are five locations across LA. Jimmy wanted to put true Mexican food on a plate after seeing so many Americanized versions of it all over Cali. Lotería is a type of bingo game in Mexico that uses game cards with images that represent Mexico. Many of these images are posted all over their restaurant. I read a guide of best foods to try at the Market and their popular nachos made the list. Some of their other favorites include the Chicharrón de Queso (pork dish), the tacos and their signature Guisos (slow-cooked stews). They also have a full breakfast menu for the early risers. Even though I was just sampling today, this mini nacho plate packed a punch. It consisted of corn tortilla chips, black beans, Pico de Gallo, jack cheese, tomatillo Salsa, onion and cilantro. I love nachos that just ooze with cheese and this one didn’t disappoint. The staff was great and it was fun to sit behind the counter and watch them passionately cook up some great food. I hope to grab a full meal next time around.
Whole Foods sells Engine 2 products and I thought I’d try one of their recipes. Engine 2 makes whole plant-based foods that taste good. They hope to help people rid themselves of refined and processed foods and live a more healthier lifestyle. I love stuffed bell peppers and this was a simple delicious healthy recipe to make.
2 red bell peppers, halved lengthwise through the stem end and seeded
1 avocado, diced and divided
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin, or to taste
1 (13-ounce) package frozen Engine 2 Plant-Strong® Organic Fiesta Blend Grain Medley, prepared according to package instructions
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Arrange bell pepper halves cut-side down on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet and roast until just slightly charred and softened, 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
To make the dressing, blend avocado, lime juice and cumin in a blender until smooth. In a large bowl, toss the Fiesta Blend Grain Medley with onion, cilantro and half of the dressing. Taste and add more dressing if desired; save remaining dressing for another use. Mound the mixture into the roasted bell pepper halves and garnish with cilantro.
This place is always a favorite for my boys and I. It is some of the best Mexican food in Chandler. Si Señor Restaurant has a location here in the Valley and one in New Mexico where they get some of their famous Hatch chiles that they use for some of their dishes. Hatch Chile is a high-grade, sun-dried chile that comes from Covarrubias Farms in the Hatch Valley along the Rio Grande (the “Napa Valley of Chile”). Martin and Irene Castillo established the first Si Señor Restaurant in their hometown of Deming, New Mexico in 1984. This location in Chandler opened in 2001 and is a huge local favorite. They have great happy hour specials, four dipping sauces to choose from for your chips and a live mariachi band on occasions. They even make their own tamales and tortillas in-house. The hospitality is always great here and the food is pretty amazing. And of course you can’t leave without having some delicious Sopapillas for dessert.
A tamale is a traditional Mesoamerican dish made of masa, which is steamed or boiled in a leaf wrapper. It can be filled with meats, cheeses, fruits, vegetables or chilies.
I’m a huge tamale lover. It’s traditional for me to pick up a dozen or two before Christmas. I get them either from some of the hispanic ladies at my work or from Aunt Chilada’s. Every year before Christmas, Food City puts on this Tamale Festival. My mother wanted to go and we hung out and ate some good tamales while soaking in the hispanic culture.
“The Home of the greatest Carne Asada in the Valley!”
America’s Taco Shop was founded by America Corrales and her husband Terry. America learned to cook from her mother in Culiacán, Sinaloa. Using fresh ingredients, America’s Taco Shop makes the best carne asada in town. I love their tacos and I feel like I’m in Mexico when I have them. Throw in some horchata and I’m in heaven!
Casa de Reyes is one of my favorite stops in San Diego. It is part of Fiesta de Reyes, a dining and shopping experience located in the heart of Old Town (the birthplace of San Diego). The original Mexican pueblo was established in 1821. There is live music and beautiful art in the plaza. Casa de Reyes is an outdoor restaurant that serves up traditional Mexican fare with flare. I ordered the Dos Beef Tacos platter and a Reyna’s sangria. It was delicious and filled me up for the evening.
If you grew up in Arizona, then you have eaten at Macayo’s Mexican Kitchen. Founded in Phoenix in 1946 by Woody and Victoria Johnson, Macayo’s has been serving the Valley for 70 years. They have worked hard to create a family feel to their restaurants by making hospitality their number one priority. Many of Macayo’s recipes have remained the same as has many of their traditions. I grew up in the days of ordering an open faced cheese crisp for an appetizer (along with some yummy chips and salsa). I’m also a big fan of their chimichangas with their awesome Baja sauce. But the best deal has to be their Señor Bob or Cha Cha mugs. You purchase one of these and bring it back for a margarita refill at a great price. I have many fond memories of eating here (especially at their Depot Cantina location in Tempe) and hope to keep my own tradition going for years.