On A Warm Summer Evening

| June 1, 2012 | 0 Comments

Casa Guadalajara –  A Diane Powers Restaurant

Now that Cinco De Mayo is behind us, local residents have a narrow window of opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Old Town before the area is engulfed by the throngs of visitors who will descend onto San Diego in the July – September tourist season. Old Town is one of the nation’s most popular attractions because it combines our city’s history with perhaps some of its finest Mexican dining opportunities. If there is one thing that many visitors really want to do, it is to enjoy the tastes of the cuisine of our southern neighbor.

The month of June is an especially good time to go to Old Town, because the evenings are usually wonderfully balmy, cool without being cold, with clear moonlit nights. It is a grand time to enjoy patio dining, under the stars.

One of my favorite locations is Casa Guadalajara for its authentic ambiance, amazing food and gorgeous patio, where a fountain bubbles gently in the background. And, it has its own parking lot, although the lot can fill up quickly on busy evenings.

Entrance of Casa Guadalajara Restaurant in Old Town

I walked in the front door of Casa Guadalajara Restaurant in Old Town and knew immediately that it was going to be an exciting evening. Tables were set up in long rows for a large private party in the main dining area. Splashes of red, green, orange and yellow bounced off the Mexican artifacts on the counters, ostensibly casually arranged but, in truth, placed with an artist’s precision. Brilliant murals were painted on walls, depicting Mexican themes. Multi-colored tiles covered the tortilla kitchen, adding a sense of gaiety to the ambiance.

Sounds of laughter, chatter, clinking glasses and clattering silverware flowed from the dozens of patrons who were happily dining, drinking and just enjoying the place. Mariachis, in full regalia, strolled through the rooms playing rousing music. It can really get your heart pounding.

Casa Guadalajara is a gem of a restaurant and Powers lavishes love and attention to the property. She travels extensively in Mexico to purchase artifacts and to search out new menu concepts. “We hold our own private food competitions among our chefs,” she told me. “We create and evaluate new ideas and test new menu items each season. Then, those which are popular are added to our regular menu.” She added that the menu must always have new and tempting dishes to provide continuing interest to her clientele.

“We hold our own private food competitions among our chefs"

Prices are very reasonable. Casa Guadalajara is affordable for family dining and for frequent visits. The prices and ambiance have made it a favorite for private parties and corporate events.

The cuisine at Casa Guadalajara has won many awards. Recipes are traditional Mexican and modified for contemporary tastes. Portions are very substantial. Tortillas are hot, fresh off the griddle, made by a costumed lady who works continuously in the “tortilla kitchen.”  Mexican spices, chiles are used extensively. Guacamole and salsa are omnipresent.

Tacos and enchiladas are very popular dishes. The enchiladas trios offers beef, chicken and cheese enchiladas on one plate, with condiments for each — a great taste sensation. Tostadas are overflowing with salad greens and chicken or beef. I always love the chicken fajitas, sizzling strips of chicken brought on a hot, hot griddle together with fresh flower tortillas, guacamole, rice and beans. It is challenging to be able to stuff the food into a taco roll and eat it without spilling food all over the table. I can barely finish each delicious bite. Pescado a la Naranja is one of the award winning dishes for which the restaurant is famous – grilled sea bass in a sweet orange sauce that just explodes with flavor on the palate. It comes with black beans in a cute tortilla shell cup. I asked for “veggies” and they came tastefully grilled and arranged in the same cup – very cute!

Casa Guadalajara offers great flavors, exciting ambiance and terrific value. Yes, it is a Diane Powers restaurant! It even offers easy and convenient parking, a treasure in Old Town. Casa Guaralajara is open for lunch and dinner daily and features a weekday happy hour from 4-7 p.m. The restaurant is located at 4105 Taylor Street, at the edge of Old Town and is easily accessible off Highway 8. Call 619-295-5111 for information and reservations.

Delicious fish tacos.

Category: Entertainment

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