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Fiesta Mexicana

Photos by Dan Bishop

April 2013

Mexican fare is Milwaukee’s latest hot "in-food," where Hispanic influences can be found almost everywhere. When it comes to eateries and menus, the new seamlessly blends with the old. Here’s a mix of places to consider when a South of the Border fix is needed.

Cafe Corazon
From the heart of Riverwest, the Corazon serves lunch and dinners daily except Monday. There’s a dynamite brunch pleaser on Saturday and Sunday that includes chorizo and eggs, and migas, scrambled eggs with strips of corn tortillas and melted cheese, along with rice, beans, salsa and bacon or sausage. There are lots of other goodies to choose from that help "morning" become electra. Indulging in breakfast tacos with hearty doses of jalape-o is a great way to jump start any day, especially after a rollicking eve on the town. 3129 N. Bremen St. (414) 810-3941

Fajitas Grill Centro
In his new space on Mason Street, chef/co-owner Arturo Napoles offers several new dishes not found in the old place, such as appetizer scallops. Yet a true Fajitas fan will still walk the Baja for Napoles’ fried plantain with tomatillo sauce. Open for a power breakfast at 7 a.m., the morning menu includes traditional huevos rancheros and delicious cilaquiles, fried corn tortillas simmered in salsa and dished out with cheese, eggs or beans. Lending an artistic touch, Hispanic-themed artwork by local painters adorn the brightly painted walls. 530 E. Mason St. (414) 312-7799

La Canoa
"Canoa" means "fishing" in Spanish, an apt name because seafood makes up most of the extensive menu, including saltwater crayfish and red snapper not often found locally. The dishes are from various regions of Mexico, making a visit here more of an eating adventure than is generally found at the typical Tex-Mex cantina-style establishment. For the exotic, try the octopus (pulpo) or frog legs (rana). La Canoa’s soups earn rave reviews. 1520 W. Lincoln Ave. (414) 645-1140

Riviera Maya
Moles here are among the best in the city. Thick, rich and luscious, the Maya’s spicy sauces are its trademark. Among numerous available fillings, try the garlic shrimp or the papitas, an ensemble of corn, sautéed onions, poblanos and potatoes. Encacahuatado is a peanut mole made with broiled tomatoes, white onions and chipotle peppers. Vegetarian varieties are also available, with the rollitos de col being among the lip-smacking best. This consists of two cabbage rolls stuffed with zucchini, corn, bell peppers and carrots. The Mexican rice is prepared traditionally, with white rice melded with carrots, peas and corn. 2258 S. Kinnickinnic Ave. (414) 294-4848

Taqueria El Fogoncito
Opening daily at 7 a.m., El Fogoncito is variously translated as "the little candle" or "little stove." Either way, the restaurant stands ready to scoop up at least five different huevos dishes even at that early hour. Any variety tastes best following a daybreak jog around the Mayfair Mall neighborhood. Yet night crawlers can also get a much-needed Cancun fix, with tacos as the signature dish up to 10 p.m. weekdays and 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday. There isn’t any Mexican bling here, it’s just basic, good grub. 10425 W. North Ave. (414) 331-5554

Mr. Senors
East Side late-night theatergoers and pub hoppers migrate to Dude Llanas’ little window ’til bar time, seeking hearty Grande burritos that are the panacea for all life’s unpleasantness at that hour. Worry not, there is also a Senorita burrito, billed as only "slightly" smaller than the hombre sized and tacos served here that even Montezuma would appreciate. This is post-party fare at its finest, presented from a tiny, only-to-go facility that opens at 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday and at noon on Sunday. However, huzzah, there is delivery service until 9 p.m. Both the red and green sauces, plus the tortillas, are handmade. 2335 N. Murray Ave. (414) 550-8226


This story ran in the April 2013 issue of: