The bloom of love

Waitress Zaira Rodriquez pours the incendiary salsa at Lupita’s.

Waitress Zaira Rodriquez pours the incendiary salsa at Lupita’s.

Photo By David Robert


668 E Prater Way
Sparks, NV 89431

(775) 355-1770

Our meal began with the initial Mexican joint taste test: the salsa. The salsa at Lupita’s whets the appetite for further exploration and provides the initial lift-off for an upward trajectory of flavor culminating in a breech of the culinary cosmos. This meal was like a rocket direct to el sol. As hyperbolic as that might sound, my love for the salsa was forgotten as soon as I tasted the guacamole ($3.50). It was as though I forgot my schoolboy crush and fell for my first true love. Its rich taste tickles every part of the mouth and tastes identifiably like fresh avocado.

It kept getting better. I had the burrito and taco combo ($5.95) with a chicken burrito and pork taco. My stomach does cartwheels of happiness just at the memory. The meats were well-seasoned with spices I was too overwhelmed to identify, and the taco was topped with delicious lime, cilantro and onions—nobody in the world uses onions better than the Mexicans—all on one of the best corn tortillas I’ve ever had. I usually prefer flour tortillas because I’m a total whitebread gringo, and corn tortillas are often so dry and stiff, but the ones at Lupita’s make me swoon.

My friend Tim had the camarones al mojo de ajo (garlic shrimp, $10.95), which he was kind enough to let me sample. It provided proof that in addition to being masters of the fields and the beasts of the earth, the cooks at Lupita’s have mastery over the creatures of the sea, as well. The buttery garlic sauce was like a secretion from the clouds of heaven.

I was trying futilely to speak Spanish, as often happens when I become enamored with a Mexican restaurant. “I know Spanish, too,” said Tim. “'Burrito’ is the Spanish word for ‘wrap.'”

But the apex of that outer-space taste blast-off I mentioned earlier was the beef fajita plate ($8.95) that my friend Nicole ordered. She claimed that the fajitas were the best she’d ever had and, after sampling them, I was inclined to agree. The beef is some of the juiciest, most succulent meat I’ve ever had the pleasure of devouring. I kept begging her for more, and since I’m lucky enough to have a bigger—nay, a grander—appetite than skinny ol’ Nicole, she was kind enough to give me more than my fair share of the offerings.

Another thing that distinguishes Lupita’s from the bazillion Mexican places in town is how comfortable and inviting it is inside. There’s a bar and patio seating, the servers are incredibly friendly, and there’s plenty of futbol and those cleavage-heavy soap operas on the TVs.

Actually, at one point it got to be a bit of a sensory overload because the jukebox was playing some serious polkacore, one of the TVs was blaring, there were people speaking in two languages, and then the food was knocking me out. But for the most part, Lupita’s is all about good fare in a comfortable place. It’s my current favorite Mexican place in town—well, not “in town” because it’s in Sparks, but you get the idea.