Teocali – Hospital Hill, Kansas City, Missouri

The three-story brick building on Holmes street does not look as expansive as it actually is. My favorite spot? The second floor patio. Covered with a white tent, iron chairs and tables sprinkle the shaded rooftop as the cool breeze flows right through into the dining room. Sitting at one of these tables on this cool evening, I see the tops of homes, trees, power lines and tall buildings in the distance. It’s fairly quiet, only the sound of the wind against the plants and banners that line the balcony can be heard, along with the faint sound of latin beats coming from the speakers.

Enrique Gutierrez knows how to have a good time and he wants his guests to have fun with him. He offers DJ sets on weekend nights and the third floor rooftop is large and perfect for parties (when we can gather in big groups again, of course) or lazy Saturday afternoons when a classic margarits just sounds perfect; and they are.

I order a classic house margarita on the rocks with salt. It’s not too sweet, just enough salt and it’s nice and chilled and a wee bit on the strong side if that’s your criteria. I pair it with their Cantina style chips and salsa. The salsa is a bit more tomato forward but the seasoning curbs that flavor after the intial bite. Their Dip de guacamole ($6) though is where it’s at. Creamy with cilantro and white onion, it’s pretty damn good and the portion of it is perfect for one (I inhaled all of it) or you can share IF you find someone deserving. What Kansas City is a real fan of (as am I) are the Tacos Puerta Villarta ($14 with a meal, $4 a la carte). They come on a flour tortilla, with tilapia, lettuce, pico de gallo with a homemade chipotle sauce. I make some damn delicious fish tacos but these are pretty wonderful and my go-to order when I visit. A close second are the Flautas Nortenas ($14) a Teocali creation of two fried chicken flautas with homemade chipotle sauce and monterey cheese – honestly they shouldn’t be as good as they are. The crisp phyllo like dough makes them filling but not too much. If you order them a la carte ($5) you get two! There are Platos Vegetarianos as well – from Fajitas $(14) to Chiles Rellenos de Queso ($10) and Quesadillas de Hongos ($10).

It’s a family-owned restaurant and it shows. They put care into every bite of queso and guac they serve. With three balconies and lots of space, you can social distance here pretty well. On the next Taco Tuesday, roll on up to Holmes and find a nice spot on the patio, cool breeze, salty margarita, get a basket of chips, sit back and relajarse.

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