It Takes a Village (a Mexican Village, that is)

The year is 1985. I’m 8 years old. It’s summertime, and we are back in Coronado visiting my grandparents. (Every year we fly the entire family out from our hometown in Texas…including the dog, a large Airdale Terrier.)

I’ve spent all day at the beach with my parents. Boogie boarding, climbing over rocks in search of crabs, building sand castles, laying in the sand, listening to Madonna and Tears for Fears on my walkman.

Now, the question.

Where should we go for dinner? 

My dad always had the same answer.  “Well…if you’re asking me, I say…let’s go to the Mexican Village!”

My mom didn’t like it much, but she always went along with the plan. To be honest, I don’t remember a lot about the Mexican Village, other than I got to drink a Coke at dinner, and my dad really, really liked it.

Apparently there’s a lot of history tied up in the Mexican Village.  According to SanDiegoVille, “Seemingly most known for its salad dressing, Mexican Village restaurant first opened as a small cafe at 120 Orange Avenue in the original Coronado Firehouse building in 1943. It was operated by numerous owners before eventually closing in 2009. During its tenure, Mexican Village became a landmark Coronado dining room that eventually seated hundreds, serving notable guests over the years including Liberace and Ronald Reagan.” Cool!

I can’t wait to tell my Dad the Mexican Village is back!

Located at 126 Orange Ave, in the former digs of Spicy House and the Firehouse, it’s just a short walk from our home at the Ferry Landing.

Apparently the new operation has no affiliation with its previous owners, and was brought to life through the efforts of a few different players.  (For more info on this, check out the Coronado Times article here.)

After watching everyone’s Instagram feeds blow up with pictures of temptingly gooey queso fondido, lovingly-crafted margaritas and plucky chopped Caesar salad, I decided it was time for us to give it a try.

Mexican Village food porn on Instagram.

I brought my husband and my girls for a visit last Sunday, and we left full, relaxed, and pleased.

First things first…the decor is bright, bold, and energizing. All the kids LOVE the zebra just inside the entrance, (don’t forget the sombrero for the photo opp.)

The new Mexican Village flaunts some fun and frisky wall art by local street artist Alex Malone and lots of playful, South-of-the-Border accents (think Day of the Dead pillows and cactus decor.)

Your kids won’t get bored here (there’s lots to see) and I can say this because my girls are notoriously temperamental–much like the banditos you see decorating the bar here. (The poor family sitting next to us had to endure the wrath of my seven-year-old when she was told she may NOT order a Shirley Temple.)

The menu is robust and tempting. Featuring Acapulco-influenced Mexican cuisine, the apps range from Mexican pizza, tiger shrimp ceviche, roasted ear of corn, and of course, the queso fondido (which we ordered.)

It came out perfectly melted with oaxaca cheese, jalepanos and chorizo, with tasty homemade corn tortillas. Muy bueno!

My husband loved his Black Cadillac Margarita and I enjoyed my Raspberry Jalapeño Paloma. Next time I want to try the Spicy Sancho Margarita or the Seared Pineapple Margarita.

We weren’t super hungry so we split the Mexican Village Citrus Caesar Salad with chicken on top and it was pretty fabulous. We ordered extra dressing and it was the bomb!

My girls each ordered a kids meal…one with a bean and cheese burrito, one with quesadillas (kids meals will cost you a reasonable $7.) Both came with a decent side of rice and beans. The girls gave me a big thumbs up when we asked them how their food was. (Again, this happens NEVER.)  My girls also reported “glitter in the sink” during their trips to the bathroom. This is a major bonus so I need to check this out next time we go.

As you can see, we didn’t order that much food, but what we got, we really liked!  For your enjoyment, here are a few more quick food pics from my friend, the lovely Renatinha de Oliveria.

How good does this look? I’m excited to visit again, and I can’t WAIT to bring my dad!

Watch out Mexican Village, Papa Howard is coming for you. And he’s hungry.