Some Like it Hot!

Finally, just what Agoura Hills needs, a fantastic authentic home-style Mexican food eatery! Plata, housed in the former home of Latigo Kid does not resemble Latigo in the least. Decorated in modern upscale chic, it's classy and comfy at the same time. Service is delightful, friendly and has all around a hipster vibe. We started with margaritas. These are no joke friends! If top notch margaritas are what you are after, Plata serves them up with a smile! The Hibiscus, Blueberry-Sage, Patron, and regular margaritas rock. They are big and refreshing, made with freshly squeezed juices. Melissa at the bar is a true champ! Fresh chips are seasoned and served with salsa, but do yourself a favor and get the homemade guacamole. If the owner, Ramon is there, have him make it. It's served in a giant martini glass and is enough for 4. Street Tacos are fantastic and full of flavor. We had the carne Asada, carnitas, chicken, short rib (my favorite) with sour cream, cheese, and pico de gallo. I loved them all. The meats were perfectly marinated, juicy, and flavorful. We can't wait to go back for more delicious south of the border dishes! Plata Taqueria & Cantina 28914 Roadside Drive Agoura Hills (818) 735-9982 Hours: Daily: 5:00 p.m.-11:00 pm Closed Sunday


Recommended Dishes: Margaritas, tacos, guacamole.

Using my three years of high school Spanish I remembered the word Loteria meant game.  It's great, the knowledge we retain from high school. I'm still not positive if one train leaves the station traveling at 30 mph and another trian leaves a half hour later at 50 mph when they will meet. One thing I am sure of though, is that I have visitted Loteria Grill in the Farmer's Market and enjoyed the regional Mexican specialties, I did not realize that there was another right in the Westlake Promenade. Being that it was about 104 degrees today, and that we just had to check out the brand new Target off of Lindero Canyon ("Danger, Will Robinson...danger!") we decided we needed lunch too. We started off with a cold glass of homemade lemonade ($2.95). Made fresh daily, the drink is sweet and tart at the same time, but ultimately refreshing. Salsa and chips are a welcome starter and there's plenty of them. We like the homemade smoky chipotle pepper sauce ($.95). We enjoyed a Quesadilla ($8 )with Oaxaca and jack cheese, flour tortillas, fresh guacamole, and pico de gallo. Of course we added the marinated chicken ($2.50) which made it even better! In case anyone was wondering what Oaxaca cheese is;  I'd never leave you in the dark. First off, let's pronounce it correctly: (wah-hah-kah), then know it comes wound in a knot. Named after a part of southern Mexico, this semi-hard cheese is much like an unaged Jack cheese. Feel better informed? Good! We also tried the Nachos. ($8) This plate was huge and included fresh corn tortilla chips, black beans, pico de gallo, Jack cheese, tomatillo salsa, onion, and cilantro. We added sour cream and the garlicky shredded beef ($6). I don't know how they make this beef but it is truly outstanding! Service is friendly, and the 50-seat establishment does get full, but you can always eat outside. Loteria! Grill 180 Promenade Way Westlake Village (805) 379-1800 M-F 11:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m. Sat/Sun 10:00 a.m.- 9:00 p.m.


Recommended Dishes: Quesadilla, Nachos, Pan Seared Shrimp with Garlic, Shredded Beef in any dish, salsas, tacos.

We've always enjoyed Kay 'n Dave's for a casual lunch or dinner and last night was no exception. Start off with a House Margarita ($6) or a refreshing Strawberry or Mango Margarita ($8). It's a surefire way to beat the heat, even in Santa Monica! Fresh lemonade ($ 2.75), is always delicious too. There's a small selection of red and white wines by the glass or bottle ($6-$8) and both Mexican and domestic beer. ($4.50). Do order the fresh guacamole ($7) served in it's fancy schmancy lettuce cup. It's made dialy with avocado, jalepenos, tomato, onion, and cilantro. I also love the Squash Flower Rellano ($8). A beautiful squash flower gets stuffed with jack cheese, garlic, herbs,and sour cream. The jalepeno tomato sauce is served on the side. The Tostada de Casa ($9) is a tasty dish to which we add grilled steak ($4). Handmade tortillas are covered with romaine, beans, jack cheese, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream. My favorite dish is the Kitchen Sink Burrito ($13) to which I add the tender, juicy, flavorful steak ($3). To date, it is one of the largest, overstuffed burritos in the city. It does live up to its name. Rice, beans, cheese, steak, guacamole, onions,  sauce,and sour cream are literally crammed into a fresh tortilla. There is a ton of steak in every bite. Beef Barbacoa Tacos ($14) are also a winning dish. Two huge tacos are wrapped in soft homemade corn tortillas served with anchiote sauteed zucchini and Oaxacan white rice. Our third and final favorite dish is the Chicken Suiza Enchiladas. ($15). Two chicken enchiladas are served in a creamy tomatillo sauce with white rice, avocado slices, black beans, pico de gallo, and sour cream. This is truly a Mexican treat! Kay 'n Daves 262 26th Street, Santa Monica (310) 260-1355 Hours: Mon-Fri: 10:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m. Sat-Sun 11:00 a.m.- 11:30 p.m. Also located at 15246 Sunset Blvd. Pacific Palisades and 9341 Culver Blvd. Culver City.


Recommended Dishes: Guacamole, Kitchen Sink Burrito, Tacos, Suiza Enchiladas, Tostada, Squash Flower Rellano.

It's not really nuevo, after all it's been around for 18 years, but El Tapatio is possibly one of the best Mexican joints in the valley! This authentic Mexican fare can be yours for around $20 for two. And you will be stuffed, and happy. Parking can be tricky, so either nab a space in the miniscule lot, or park in the Albertson's lot on Victory and walk over. Walk up to the counter and order, then grab some chips, pico de gallo, and a table, then wait until your number is called. Chips are fresh and homemade and pico de gallo is some of the best we've ever tasted! Tacos ($1.60) are made on soft fresh tortillas. We love the carnitas, chicken, and asada. All meats are well-seasoned, tender, and full of flavor. Topped with a sprinkling of white onion, cilantro, and pico de gallo, you'll want to order at least three! From the Plate Combination Menu, try the #1, the Super Nachos ($7.50). We order it with steak, but you can choose any meat. It's topped with tortilla chips, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. These nachos are muy bueno! The #7 Enchiladas Plate ($7.90) is a steal for three huge chicken (or any meat) filled, cheese-covered beauties, served with creamy beans, rice, lettuce, guacamole, onions, and cilantro. If you're thinking of having a party, El Tapatio caters and is really reasonable too! El Tapatio #1 22806 Victory Blvd. Woodland Hills (818) 883-6142. Hours Mon-Fri & Sun 8 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat. 8 a.m.-11 p.m.


Recommended Dishes: Nachos, Enchiladas, Tacos.

We were really in the mood for some yummy Tex-Mex and were right in the middle of the Jewelry District in DTLA when I suggested Bar Ama. This place is packed at night so we decided that we would stop in for lunch instead. I am glad we did! We grabbed a parking spot at a meter right on 4th Street (2 hour parking) and got ready to enjoy some of Josef Centeno's delicious food. Enter the slated wood-paneled modern space, with metal chairs and exposed vents and you'll immediately be greeted by a warm, wonderful staff. Order up some homemade Guacamole and Chips ($10). The combination of cilantro, lime, celery, chunks of fresh avocado, and serrano chili is exquisite! Centeno creates a fine Cilantro Caesar Salad ($11) based on his grandmother, Ama's recipe. Shredded Little Gem lettuce, cotija and romaine, tossed with anchovy, garlic, and chipotle vinaigrette. The star of lunch was Mom's Green Enchiladas ($13). Filled with chicken, tomatillo, and Montery jack then served with a salsa verde; these are one of the most poular dishes at BAR Ama. These were absolutely devine and I can't get them off my mind. For dinner be sure to try the craft beers, Mexican wines or any of the tequila cocktails! We've already made plans to come back for Frito Pie, and a pound of fajitas! BAR Ama 118 W. 4th Street. DTLA. (213) 673-1480. Dinner: M-Thu 5:30-11 pm, Fri-Sat., 5:30-midnight, Lunch: Mon-Thu., 11:30-2:30 Fri.-Sat., 11:30-3

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