Milagro Grill: Happy Hour Report Card

Milagro --chips and salsa and guac.jpg
chips, salsa and guac at Milagro
Case in point: creamy, chunky, just-right guacamole, jazzed up with lime, serrano chiles, red onion, fresh cilantro and a sprinkle of cotija cheese. Although the chips aren't served warm, they're thin and crisp, and I love the house salsa -- a dark, earthy, not-particularly-fiery blend made with faintly smoky cascabel chiles.

Camarones Dulces are lettuce wraps Mexican-style -- crunchy, sweet and irresistible. A handful of tiny, beer-battered rock shrimp come piled atop crisp-tender gem lettuce (think butter lettuce crossed with romaine), drizzled with sweet aioli (do I taste honey mustard?) and topped with house-pickled chiles. I could eat a dozen of them.

But what I've really come for are the tacos because brand new Milagro swept the Arizona Taco Festival a week or so ago, earning first, second or third place in nearly every category and walking off with the Grand Champion award. Call it a miracle.

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Carne asada tacos
Milagro offers three taco choices at happy hour -- chicken, pork or steak -- which may not be mixed and matched. Seven bucks buys you three of the same tacos, topped with fresh cilantro, cotija cheese and a smear of guacamole. The roasted pork is cooked al pastor-style with ancho chile and pineapple, while the steak is a traditional carne asada. Both are juicy, tender and mostly flavorful, although I find myself thinking that neither is quite as good as my idealized version of each dish. This is the curse of being crowned Grand Champion. So much to live up to!

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Churros with cajeta and pistachio cream
Dessert isn't on the happy hour menu, but our server talks us into baby-size chocolate churros served with cajeta (goat's milk caramel) and pistachio cream. Because the churros have been piled on top of each other, they've gotten soft from the steam, which doesn't stop us from polishing them off anyway, eating the pistachio cream straight from the dish with our forks.

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Habanero-raspberry margarita
The Drink: Milagro runs all kinds discounts on happy hour beverages: $4 draft beers, $4 premium bottled beer, $4 Sangria roja, $5 select wines by the glass, $5 house margarita and a $6 Habanero Raspberry Margarita. Yes, I know. It sounds odd and maybe too girlie, but it looks and tastes pretty good -- a little hot, a little sweet and very festive.

Conclusion: I'd come back in a heartbeat just to relax on the patio over margaritas, chips, salsa and guacamole. For me, the Camarones Dulces alone are worth a trip. Although the regular menu (which definitely takes a page from The Mission) seems pretty pricy, happy hour offers an affordable way to enjoy this easygoing neighborhood hangout.

Grade: B+

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Location Info

Milagro Grill

4280 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: Restaurant

Zinc Bistro

15034 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

The Mission

3815 N. Brown Ave., Scottsdale, AZ

Category: Restaurant

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