Drink and dance the Sunday afternoon blues away at the Whole Enchilada and Moss Landing Inn, Monterey.
As chef Luis Solano prepares prawn tamales, he extends an aromatic invitation to party guests. The scents of cilantro and lime tango through The Whole Enchilada’s kitchen, enticing anyone who wanders by to join the culinary dance. “Food is a celebration,” Luis declares. “In Spanish we say, ‘alegría corazón.’” The phrase, meaning “happy heart,” perfectly captures the mood of today’s private gathering. // Luis honors his father’s profession, tequila manufacturing, at The Whole Enchilada. He offers a well-stocked bar and friendly advice on what to sample. “There are so many boutique tequilas coming out now,” he says. “But for the best, you go to the people who’ve been making it for hundreds of years. It has to be bottled in Mexico, 100 percent agave.” Sauza Hornitas is ideal for traditional margaritas. For straight sipping, Luis suggests Cazadores Reposado, a solid, peppery tequila. He’s also a big fan of Herradura. Whatever the choice, he cautions against liquors that use molasses to increase the alcohol and darken the color. Luis says, “That’s what goes to your head and makes Montezuma mad.” -Sarah Brueggemann Coastal LivingCheck out the comments for California's Best Mexican Restaurants Or Click to Add your own recommendation