Los Olivos Mexican Patio: Happy Hour Report Card
The Spot: Los Olivos Mexican Patio, 7328 East Second Street, Scottsdale, 480-946-2256. www.losolivosrestaurants.com (Second location: Los Olivos Norte, 15544 North Pima Road, Scottsdale, 480-596-9787)
Nikki Buchanan The cheese crisp at Los Olivos
The Hours: Old Town location: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 11 a.m to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Happy Hour: 4 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday
The Interior: In the '20s, Tomas Corral built a tiny adobe house on this spot and his wife Cecilia made tamales for the Hispanic community who came to dance on Saturday nights under the olive trees planted by Winfield Scott.
Owned and operated these days by Tomas and Cecilia's grandchildren, this sprawling Mexican restaurant emotes a comfortable, old-school vibe.
Although some customers grouse it needs a makeover, those of us who've been coming here forever don't want a thing to change -- not the saltillo-tiled floors, the Diego Rivera-like murals, the oddly Mayan indoor patio, the dim lighting, or the funky, lived-in look of the place.
The "Happy Hour Fiesta" happens around a square bar in the lounge, decorated with Mexican beer signs and furnished with a TV tuned to sports. It's decidedly un-hip and mostly quiet -- except during spring training, when the entire restaurant often becomes a zoo.
The Food: Happy Hour appetizers -- priced at $4, $5 and $6 -- couldn't be more straightforward. And because you can't sit anywhere without someone plunking down a basket of chips and salsa in front of you, it's easy to get full pretty quickly. Thin, crisp and warm, the chips are vehicles for two carafes of salsa -- one chunky and mild, the other (my favorite) bright red and decidedly hotter.
Nikki Buchanan Chips and salsa
But exercise restraint here because you're going to want room for the cheesiest and best cheese crisp in town, served bubbling hot from the broiler ($4). It's built on a thin, pliable house-made flour tortilla, browned on the bottom and almost pastry-like in its flakiness. Still hungry?