What better way to pay tribute to a great artist than with food? A tiny eatery on the eastside is dishing up equally beautiful, modern Mexican-American food. Kahlo Kitchen opened last October in a shopping center across from El Dorado High School, whose partnership runs deeper than offering student specials. The vibrant wall mural of Frida Kahlo was painted by a team of students from El Dorado, who won a contest that the restaurant hosted. Other whimsical touches include metal cheese graters that serve as lampshades and hand-drawn plates.

A collection of classic antojitos (little cravings) is offered, ranging from corn in a cup and chilindras, to piña loca and mangoñeada, but the Kahlo nachos and foot-long hot dogs are musts. Thick, freshly fried tostadas are sturdy enough to hold house-made cheese sauce, charred corn, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce, pickled jalapenos and a drizzle of sour cream. Add beef or chicken for an additional fee. These nachos are truly a work of art and touch on all flavors and textures.

Drinks include made-from-scratch aguas frescas and lemonades infused with pureed strawberries. The horchata is rich and creamy, while the cucumber water is sweet and tart. The aguas are served in mason jars with a tamarindo-sugar-coated rim that’ll make your mouth water upon arrival.  

Wings and a chicken sandwich are tossed in a sauce of your choice: buffalo hot, lemon pepper, barbecue, mango habanero or pineapple habanero.

Five different burgers are on the menu, loaded with toppings atop a 6-ounce beef patty on a brioche bun with your choice of fries, or for an upcharge, papas locas or Tostitos preparados. Diego’s burger is an enticing combination of a muenster cheese-stuffed poblano, roasted corn, caramelized onions and asadero cheese smothered in a creamy poblano dressing.

Described as a “Mexican rodeo in your mouth,” the Chorizo burger doesn’t disappoint with a chorizo infused patty topped with avocado, mushrooms, sautéed pineapple, more chorizo, cucumber, asadero cheese and chipotle ranch. For a little extra, you can now sub a portabella mushroom in any of the burger options. You’ll need plenty of napkins for these juicy, messy burgers.

Desserts include a churro platter, sopaipillas and fresas con crema (strawberries with cream), but the fruit tacos are the most popular. Tamarindo taco shells are stuffed with a jicama and cucumber slaw and topped with mango strawberry salsa and served with a side of chamoy sauce.  

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