When I was in high school at Bryan Adams, Mexicali in Casa View, right next to the Casa View Library, was the place to go for tons of good Tex Mex that cost about the same as a hot cafeteria lunch.

My favorite was this gigantic shell containing a chicken fajita salad piled high with tomatoes, jalapenos, sour cream, guacamole and cheese (those were the days when I could gorge on tacos with impunity). Mexicalis and the library are both gone from the old shopping center, but fortunately both have moved closer to my neighborhood. (The library is now the Lochwood Library) Mexicali is now at 11277 E. Northwest Hwy., alongside what appears to be a popular biker hangout.

There’s nothing fancy on Mexicali’s menu—simply fare you would expect at a Mexican or Tex-Mex joint. One exception might be the shrimp cocktail, a tall glass of shrimp doused in a Mexican cocktail sauce with cilantro, peppers and onion, and topped with avocado pieces. And there’s still my favorite salad, which I now order sans the sour cream and cheese. Overall, staying inside the box is what has made this place a time-tested favorite, especially considering the quality—and quantity—customers still get for the price. Nothing on the menu costs more than $10 (except the fajitas for two), and most of the lunch specials are under $5, which isn’t much different from waaay back in the 90s.

With its authentic flavor, festive décor, Latin music and consistently good service, this is probably a perfect Cinco de Mayo party destination.