Full disclosure: Even before I started writing this weekly happy hour blog, the happy hour at CRUjiente Tacos was among my favorites in the Valley. I’ve been a huge fan of CRU pretty much since it opened a few years ago, and I honestly don’t understand how one could not be – the artisanal tacos by chef/co-owner Richard Hinojosa are mouthwatering and worth every penny (I’d pay double for my favorites, and I’m not just saying that), and the diverse tequila, mezcal, beer, Spanish wine and cocktails curated by beverage maestro and co-owner Jason Morris provide perfect pairings. If I had an unlimited happy hour budget, you’d find me at the bar of this sleek, small, rectangular Arcadia taco nook every week.
Select appetizers are available with happy hour pricing. You could make a crunchy, salty, snacky meal of the chips and guacamole ($8) and the chips and queso ($8). The chorizo- and poblano-loaded queso is the real deal, according to my Texas-bred beloved. (Chef Hinojosa also hails from the Lone Star State, so it checks out.) The sweet, spicy and delightfully crunchy Korean fried chicken taco is $4 during happy hour (regularly $5) and the melt-in-your-mouth pork belly taco (my favorite, and the subject of my own Best of the Valley blurb for Best Use of Pork Belly a couple of years ago) is $3.50 (regularly $4.50). Other tacos discounted during happy hour are the garlic-roasted mushroom taco and the crunchy tacos – lamb, beef and pork. The latter three remind me of my favorite fried tacos at hole-in-the-wall joints in my hometown, Tucson. They’re delicious and nostalgic.
I always get the Premier CRU Margarita (voted one of the Best of the Valley by us), which is a screaming deal at $5. If you’re not a tequila person, I recommend one of Morris’s incredible Spanish wine selections (wines by the glass are $2 off during happy hour) or a well drink ($5). Cervezas instead? All draft and bottled beers are $1 off, and Modelo Especial and Tecate Light cans are $3.50.
THE INSIDER SECRET
The Taco de la Semana is a weekly taco special that is always worth trying. Recent highlights have included grilled guinea hen with caramelized ginger and cauliflower purée, and masa-fried cauliflower with jalapeño aioli and red curry vinaigrette. Start your week with Margarita Monday and get happy hour pricing on the aforementioned marg from 3-10 p.m. CRU also hosts regular mezcal, tequila, wine and spirits tastings (often complimentary!), so follow them on social media for more information and to attend.
Happy hour runs daily from 3-6 p.m. Enjoy reverse happy hour on Friday and Saturday only from 9-11 p.m.