Cinco de Mayo is this weekend! Here is a menu of great places in New England to gather with friends and enjoy Tex-Mex food lubricated with margaritas.
Three Stones Mexican Mayan Cocina, 105 Canal Street, Brattleboro, VT — The Mayan cuisine served here was inspired by founder Alejandra Bolles (1938-2011), who was born in Ticul, Mexico, and was taught by her Mayan Indian grandmother to cook on a simple stove of burning wood with three stones around it. Three Stones makes fresh tortillas daily out of corn masa in three styles. Empanadas are meat and/or cheese with wrapped on corn masa and deep fried it. Even the seeds of pumpkins are toasted, ground and made into delicious delicacies. All the food is prepared with care and heart. Hours: Wednesday- Saturday, 5-9 p.m. Menu. 802-246-1035. Map.
Bodegar Taco Bar. Two locations: 980 Post Road, Darien (203-655-8500) and 1700 Post Road, Fairfield (203-292-9590) — The owners describe the Bodega Taco Bar as “modern Mexican with an urban beach vibe.” Everything – soups, sauces and salsas — is made from scratch. This kitchen is aromatic with cilantro, avocado, line, and tomatillo. Pork is on the grill or in the oven all day every day, making an appearance in tacos, tortas, arepas, burritos, paella and more. The kitchen uses 50 (!) types of peppers. Does this sound authentic yet? Don’t overlook the guacamole and the Brussels sprouts. Or you can order the board – code for the weekly specials. “Everything” the owners declare, “tastes better in a tortilla.” Darien menu. Fairfield menu. Hours: Open daily, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Map to Darien. Map to Fairfield.
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill. Two locations: 2070 Post Road, Fairfield, CT (203-955-1643) and 271 Crown Street, New Haven, CT (203-777-7700) — This place caters to local people and college people, and the buzz is high-energy. In warm weather, come enjoy outdoor as well as indoor seating. Chips and guacamole are very flavorful, as are the corn tortillas. Salsa has a fun smoky taste. All the standards of Mexican cuisine are on the menu, which also works well for vegetarians. Don’t hesitate to mop up the tasty Chimayo chili and Mexican crema sauces. On Sundays, all tequilas are half-price. Food menu. Cocktail menu. Hours: 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Map for Fairfield. Map for New Haven.
Margarita Grill, 78 Route 302, Glen, NH — This family-owned business serves a menu that it describes at Southwestern-inspired cuisine with a New England twist. Ingredients are menu of fresh, locally sourced, organic, non-GMO foods. Start with Margarita’s fresh-squeezed margaritas, beer and wine, and dine on tasty choices like guacamole, barbecued pork nachos, St. Louis-style port ribs, stuffed jalapenos, smoked wings, fried wontons, and crab cakes. Also, diners love the loaded chicken nachos, massive plate of nachos with everything on them. Service is friendly and knowledgeable. Hours: Monday- Friday, 4-9 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, noon-9 p.m. Dinner menu. Kids menu. 603-383-6556. Map.
Diego’s Newport, 11 Bowens Wharf, Newport, RI — These listings are about the food, but we begin here with just a side note that a trip to Diego’s Newport takes you out of one of the town’s great wharfs, packed with water views, people watching, shopping, and a general feeling that you are on a holiday. The food is very good and a spin on Mexican, with excellent margarita’s tacos, and steak and fries. You can get a vegan burrito or vegan nachos if that’s your preference. The bar offers Mexican-style and Prohibition-inspired cocktails. The atmosphere of Diego’s is warm and festive. Lunch and dinner menu. Spirits menu. Hours: weekdays, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; weekends, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. 401-619-2640. Map.
La Hacienda Restaurant and Taqueria, 603 Plainfield Street, Providence, RI — This breakfast and lunch restaurant looks small – somewhat like a diner– from outside, but do not hesitate to venture in for the best Mexican breakfast you will find north or south of the border, along with very friendly service. Diners love the Eggs Divorced, huevos rancheros, and fluffy pancakes. The eight-ounce steak with fried eggs, frijoles and sour cream will send you to heaven. Unlimited serving of tortillas allows you to make your own taco combos. American breakfast items also are served. For lunch, try the Pollo en Mole Rojo or the Mexican chicken soup. Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-4 p.m. 401-275-2385. Map.
Guerrero Maya, 449 Westbrook Street, South Portland, Maine — Some very tasty and authentic Tex-Mex flavors are in store for diners at the unpretentious eatery, where fans return over the over. The serving staff is courteous without exception, and everyone seems to love the free chips and salsa at the start of the meal, and the mini sopapillas with whipped cream topped with strawberry at the end of the meal. Margaritas large and powerful and not excessively sweet. Big compliments for the enchiladas, ranchero sauce, authentic beans and the fresh Mexican cheese. Prices are very reasonable. Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Menu. 207-747-5965. Map.
Miguel’s Mexican Restaurant, 397 Hogan Road, Bangor, Maine — Miguel’s is serious about the health of its customers and local farmers, so the restaurant makes an effort to cater to people with dietary limits, including vegans and paleos, and people who want to avoid antibiotics and hormones. Much of the raw material for the kitchen is bought from local farms. Traditional Mexican favorites include flautas and quesadillas and tacos. For dessert, make room for Mexican hot chocolate, fried ice cream, or Mexican chocolate cake. The rstaurant’s full bar offers a very large selection of tequila and mezcal selection. Hours: Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Menu. 207-942-3002. Map.
Howling Wolf Taqueria, 76 Lafayette Street Salem, MA — Lots of good reviews for this Tex-Mex place that identifies as a scratch kitchen, with Mexican cuisine made daily. Diners love being greeted by an upbeat, friendly atmosphere filled with music and chattering voices. Favorite dishes might include the unusual avocado fries, various tacos (shrimp, savory pork with pineapple), and a giant steak fajita. The bartender recommends a challenging house drink, the Dire Wolf: vodka, gin, rum, tequila, house-made Howling Fusion, chambord & blue curaçao. Howling Wolf has two other locations, in Marblehead and North Andover, which offer counter service only. Hours – Daily, 11:30 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. Menu. Drinks menu. 978-744-9653. Map.
La Veracruzana Mexican Restaurant. Two locations: 31 Main Street Northampton, MA (413-586-7181) and 63 South Pleasant Street Amherst, MA (413-253-6900) — With two locations in this college-heavy region, La Veracruzana Mexican Restaurant is praised for its authentic food, good margaritas, and reasonable prices. Guests who come from the Southwestern U.S. or simply like Tex-Mex cuisine call the food at this place delicious and the real deal. Special praise for the chorizo and egg burrito, tamales, fresh guacamole, and the mahi-mahi fish tacos topped with avocado, cabbage, and cilantro. Staff members are friendly and willing to describe tastes and menu offerings. This is a small establishment, so it’s wise to come at non-peak hours. Eat in or take out. Menu. Hours: 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Map for Northampton. Map for Amherst.