Talk about a tough choice. There's no way to offer up the whole enchilada in one post when it comes to Valley Mexican restaurants -- but here's a start. What's your fave? Tell us in the comments. Here are five of ours.
5. America's Taco Shop
We've sampled nearly every item on the small menu at America's Taco Shop, including tacos al pastor made with shredded pork that practically melts on the tongue, and tender, marinated carne asada that's packed with savory spices. But the one thing that's really worth traveling across town for is owner America Corrales' lard-free beans, which are so creamy and addictively delicious that we swear she must've bribed El Diablo for the recipe. Nothing could make for a better meal than a simple bean and cheese burrito here, unless you add a side of the mayo-slathered, cojita-dusted corn on the cob that's sweet and juicy enough to eat as dessert.
Get four more hot Mexican spots after the jump.
Leave any worries about calories at the door when you enter this parrot-themed Mexican joint, as nearly everything we crave on the menu is deep-fried. From nachos and taquitos to shredded beef or chicken tacos served in a crispy corn tortilla that's so fresh the oils are still curling the shell when it arrives on your table, the grub here is Sonoran style comfort food at its best. At first, our local pride was burned by the addition of a Greek ingredient into Mi Patio's spinach and feta cheese chimichanga, but the creamy white sauce and thick bites of perfectly cooked spinach make it easy swallow this non-traditional take on an Arizona tradition.
3. Carolina's Mexican Food
We'll be honest, half the reason we hit up Carolina's is for their giant freshly pressed, hot off the griddle tortillas that put Chipolte's gut busters to shame. But what they put in those tortillas (and serve up other ways) is reason enough for a visit, as well. The machaca beef practically makes us weak in the knees, whether it's stuffed in tamales, deep fried in a taco, enchilada-style, or just solo served with some of those stellar flour tortillas we were talking about.After you're done scarfing a combo platter, and have your dozen tortillas in hand, consider adding a pint of red or green chile to the mix. Then you're set to replicate their delicious flautas at home too.
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La Tolteca is about as close to a Mexican mercado as we can get without having to renew our passports. First we snag an amazing meal at the walk-up counter, like the green chile beef burrito, potato tacos, or amazing chilaquiles. Then we head off to the mercado for a spot of menudo to-go and a couple dozen fresh off the grill tortillas. And we always make sure to save room for all the tasty treats from their panaderia: Tres leches cake, cajeta filled churros, and galletas (cookies) galore!
When we cross the threshold of Barrio Cafe, we know we're in very capable hands. Whether it's a first date or dinner with the mother-in-law, the atmosphere is spot on and the menu from head chef Silvana Salcido Esparza makes us drool with alarming regularity. Regardless of who our company is, we always make sure to order the guacamole prepared table side, which is fresh, spicy, and bursting with juicy pomegranate seeds. The cochinita pibil and chiles en nogada are two of our favorite entrees, but everything is delicious from the tacos to their tasty Sunday brunch. Order a top shelf margarita (treat yourself here) and enjoy the equally top shelf Mexican menu.