Taste of Wine: Real Mexican cuisine is at Alfonso’s

Taste of Wine: Real Mexican cuisine is at Alfonso’s
Alfonso’s of La Jolla, now in Solana Beach, offers real Mexican Jalisco-style food along with seven top shelf Margaritas. Their popular Carne Asada & Camarones is shown above. Photo by Frank Mangio

With Cinco de Mayo celebrations here, we’ll put the wine scene on hold as I fall in love again with all shades and tastes of Margaritas and its chief ingredient, tequila, nicely paired with a vast selection of Mexican cuisine.

I did a little digging and got a few opinions about this subject and it didn’t stop at the drinks.

I wanted the latest on an authentic Mexican restaurant whose menu reflected the real thing, made from scratch and fresh daily. The total package was found in Solana Beach at Alfonso’s of La Jolla.

The food is modeled after the style of the state of Jalisco, the same district as the source of its favorite beverage, the margarita. The liquor in the drink is Jalisco tequila.

We’ll get to the details on tequila but first, let’s stay with the magic of Mexican food.  The food is family. It’s the mom and pops of the Mexican food scene with recipes that produce layers of flavor that get passed down to present generation restaurateurs. And so it is with Alfonso’s of La Jolla. 

After some 45 years in the same location on Prospect and now a year of serving delicious dinners in Solana Beach on the Coast Highway, it has adjusted nicely to North County. Laura Villa, the operations manager, commented that, “We make all of our food from scratch, so it’s an easy adjustment to reach out to our customers who have special diet needs, as well as our traditional recipes.”

Two stand-outs are: Carne Asada and Camarones (steak and shrimp), the biggest seller in a big array of dishes ($25.19). If a bowl of soup is your beginning choice, try the chicken soup with broth, chicken chunks, carrots and zucchini ($10.49).

A must try is a generous bowl of fresh guacamole, made from ripe and flavorful avocados, diced tomato, chopped onion and cilantro, plus special house accents.

I love this, with a big bowl of chips to scoop up the guacamole while you wait for the main course and sip through a tequila-based margarita.

Back to the tequila. My choice was the La Fonda Cadillac with the prime 1800 Tequila, with Gran Marnier and Sweet & Sour added perfectly ($12.89). There are three levels of quality in tequila: Silver, Reposado and Anejo. It has to do with the aging that ranges from two months to more than two years, which upgrades the smoothness, smokiness and finish of the beverage. The juice is extracted from the blue agave plant and primarily in the city of Tequila, in the highlands of the state of Jalisco.

Tequila is also enjoyed as a shot with salt and lime, and at Alfonso’s there are some 17 different choices of straight tequilas. Draft, specialty and micro beers are also at the bar, with 11 wine choices on the drink menu.

You’ll enjoy substantial savings at the daily happy hours. Mondays it’s 3 p.m. till closing with a Margarita Schooner for just $7.89. Mini fish tacos are $6.89 and three TJ tacos for $7.89.

Mariachi bands originally came from the state of Jalisco so it’s only fitting that on Cinco de Mayo, Saturday May 5, Alfonso’s has live music and special pricing on select food, tequila and beer. Alfonso’s of La Jolla is the “real deal” in Mexican food and drink for North County. Call (858) 454-2232 for more information or visit alfonsosoflajolla.com.

Wine Bytes

• WineSellar and Brasserie in Sorrento Valley San Diego is having a “Mamma Mia” Mother’s Day dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. May 12. Cost is $79 each. All entrees and wines will be old country Italian. Call (858) 450-9557 for details and an RSVP.

• The International Paella Wine & Beer Festival will be at the Embarcadero Park South in San Diego from 1 to 6 p.m. May 12. This is a Paella Cookout family event, where 40 chefs will compete for the world Paella Championship in Spain. Early bird tickets start at $38. For ticket information, visit paellawinefest.com.

• An elegant champagne brunch is planned for Mother’s Day May 13 at the Westgate Hotel, downtown San Diego. Brunch to be served between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.  Complimentary mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, a juice bar and classic brunch favorites will keep you eating for hours. Price is $89 for adults and $35 for children. RSVP at (619) 238-1818.

Reach Frank Mangio at mangiompc@aol.com

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