BEST GOURMET MEXICAN RESTAURANT Phoenix 2004 - La Hacienda
As the name implies, La Hacienda has the atmosphere of a traditional Mexican estate; the decor reminds us of Like Water for Chocolate. Roving musicians provide the background to a menu that reinvents classic Mexican cuisine. The appetizer menu includes a sampler plate, "antojitos mexicanos," which includes squash blossom quesadillas and crabmeat enchiladas, but do not miss La Hacienda's version of Puebla's chile en nogada -- ancho chile stuffed with roasted chicken and dried fruits, covered in pomegranate sauce. Notable entrees include quail stuffed with duck and rack of lamb encrusted with pumpkin seeds accented by blackened tomato chile jam.
Some traditions are even better reinvented.