Mi Cocina Sundance Square is 21 years old.
Finally, it’s old enough for a Mambo Taxi.
The Irving-based restaurant chain known for sound Tex-Mex and strong swirls is celebrating a birthday in Fort Worth and 25 years overall.
That means a quarter-century of brisket tacos, sunset fajitas and anything with salsa molcajete.
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When it opened as a spinoff from Mia’s in Dallas, Mi Cocina was considered the first “modern Tex-Mex,” serving enchiladas and tacos in an upbeat atmosphere with enticing drinks such as the Mambo Taxi swirl, the Mambo Limo (with Chambourd) or the strawberry-mango Dilemma.
Taco Diner was added as a “Mexico City-style” counterpart. But Mi Cocina remains timeless Tex-Mex, and most Dallas-Fort Worth residents have a favorite location, booth or platter.
It was a revelation to try fajitas “sunset-style,” on a bed of rice and covered with spicy queso and onion strings, or the “tacos Habana” marinated in adobo.
These days, Mi Cocina also sells spinach-pecan-bacon salads, and the “quinceañera” with mango, pineapple and toasted almonds.
For the anniversary, Mi Cocina brought back its poblano-bacon-cheddar “salsa Chacho” along with chicken, beef or shrimp chiles rellenos ($14.95).
Milagro sangria is served in hand-painted blue glasses by Tampico, Mexico, artist Luis Sottil from his Playa del Carmen gallery.
The Sundance Square location opens at 10:30 a.m. daily for early diners; 509 Main St., 817-877-3600. Others open at 11 a.m., including 4601 West Freeway, Alliance Town Center or Southlake Town Square. micocinarestaurants.com.
A new Taco Diner will open by summer’s end in Waterside, joining locations in Sundance Square and Southlake Town Square; tacodinerrestaurants.com.
And so it begins
The Waterside shops are taking shape months ahead of the coming Whole Foods Market.
Zoës Kitchen, the Plano-based fast-casual Mediterranean chain, will open June 16 in the shopping center at 5917 Convair Drive, on the corner of Bryant Irvin Road and Arborlawn Drive.
Blaze Pizza, a California-based fast-bake chain (like a Pie Five but with gourmet toppings) will open in July. One is already open next to Whole Foods in Arlington.
Then Taco Diner, followed by Piattello Italian Kitchen, chef Marcus Paslay’s new spinoff expanding the pasta dishes from his Clay Pigeon restaurant.
Unique and local
Small restaurants such as Phat Daddy’s in Grand Prairie will get big-time attention June 13-18 in the first North Texas Black Restaurant Week.
A similar Houston promotion has helped boost business for locally owned African-American-owned restaurants. More at ntxblackrestaurantweek.com.
’Shroom it up
Ellerbe Fine Foods isn’t usually in our “best burger” contest.
But the white-tablecloth West Magnolia Avenue restaurant is among the contestants in the Blended Burger Project, a James Beard Foundation event for beef-mushroom burger blends.
Chorizo in Southlake
New in Southlake: Chiloso Mexican Bistro, a fast-casual breakfast taco and burrito shop popular in Dallas-area locations.