Posts Tagged With: Los Tacos #1

Best Tacos in Manhattan

Otto TacosA common misconception in NYC:  “There’s no good Mexican food here”.  “Skip tacos, concentrate on Pizza, bagels and hala”.  “For Mexican you got to go south then west”.  “Even the Mexican Soap Operas here suck”.  Somehow 350,000 tortilla challenged Mexicans opted for the Northeast, while the rest went to Texas or California.  Well, there’s no mistaken where the best Mexican food in the US is located, but that doesnt mean there are no decent options in NYC.  As with any cuisine you just need to a little bit of homework, thats all.  And in the past few years there appears to be a Mexican renaissance of sorts in NYC.  And if you think the soap operas are bad, think again.  Just like some of the taco joints I will highlight below, they are intense, colorful and will bring you to tears.  Here’s one example that will no doubt change your mind.  Now, lets get down to some of the best tacos the city has to offer…

Tehuitzingo –  I’ve already written plenty about this gem in Hell’s Kitchen.  For a while it was like one of those terrible soap operas (the other ones).  Did they close?  Oh no.  Oh wait, they not only reopened, but they multiplied.  Welcome baby Tehuitzingo on 9th and 41st.  6 pounds, 5 ounces.  Thats how much Lengua they sell every hour.  The original on 10th isnt the same bodega (deli) as it used to be, but the tacos are still the same no frills, no nonsense old tacos.  Its all about the great tasting meats with just the right amount of condiments.  Try the Al Pastor, beef tongue (Lengua), just beef, carnitas, or anything else you fancy.  I havent had a bad one yetTehuitzingo

Otto HorchataOtto’s Tacos – One of the new kids on the block, this LA expat is gathering a lot of attention lately.  Their Horchata makes every other Horchata I’ve had taste like 1% milk.  I tried all the tacos here except the chicken, and shrimp (top) is my clear favorite.  Coated with serrano cream sauce, with onions and cilantro, the Shrimp is perfectly seasoned and cooked just right.  The rest of the lineup is not too shabby either and that includes a mushroom tacos that both my vegetarian readers can appreciate

Empellon Taqueria and Empellon Al Pastor – The natural progression from the labs of Alinea and WD50 is obviously tacos.  Alex Stupak is perhaps the biggest player in this tacos revolution we are experiencing at the moment, with Emplellon Cucina, Empellon Taqueria, and now Empellon Al Pastor.  The latter is the cheap simpler tacos with the namesake Al Pastor, shaved off the spit Shawarma style, leading the pack.  Taqueria on the other hand is the fancy, polished taco option.  And if I would be drafting Tacos as part of a Fantasy Taco League, the beer braised pork tongue would most be my #1 pickEmpellon Al Pastor

Mission Cantina – The Mission District in San Francisco has some of the best Mexican food in the country.  Some in fact claim that this is where the Burrito was born.  So not surprisingly, James Beard winner Danny Bowien of the famed Mission Chinese Food in Mission can make a nasty Burrito, although its take-out only these days.  The wings here are great as well, and all these goodies will make you wonder about the low Yelp score.  Crafty shmancy tacos rule the right side of the menu, with Veggie tacos firmly in charge.  But one has to try the popular masa fish taco and the lamb belly while its still around.Mission Cantina Tacos

Los Tacos #1 – Where I come from, when you see a line, you stand on it, then you ask questions.  Same rule applies to Chelsea Market where three friends from Mexico and California are trying to introduce New Yorkers and tourists to Mexican street food.  Many claim that these are the best tacos in NYC, and who am I to argue.  Try any of them, doesnt matter.  As long as you try the Adobada.  Say it with me, A-D-O-B-A-D-A three times.  Good, you ready.  Now get out there and stand on line for those abodabasChelsea Market Los Tacos

Tacos Morelos – Another fairly new mom/pop/cousin joint in the suddenly taco heavy East Village.  The store and restaurant is on 9th and Avenue A where the slow roasted porky Cochinita Pibil reigns supreme.  But its the cart on 2nd and A, where the EV rockers get their fix after gigs at 2 am, and where my friend swears by the Al Pastor.  Almost 24 hours (they take a break around 4 am)  is 24 hours to me.

Tacos Morelos

 

 

 

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Categories: Chelsea, East Village, Lower East Side, Midtown West, New York City, West Village | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Chelsea Market – 10 Great Eats

Cull and PistolEver since god invented the CitiBike, I’ve been spending more time chowing in ultra touristy Chelsea Market.  A pleasant 15 minute ride there, and a strenuous 25 minute ride back on a gassy full stomach.  Navigating through the tourists at the market during lunch time should be an Olympic event.  The Chelsea Slalom.  Opening the door without letting an entire large polish group in and losing your family as a result somehow requires an online course.  With that said, unlike most touristy spots in NYC (e.g. Little Italy, Times Square, Restaurant Row) there’s good food to be had here.

Chelsea Market Los Tacos

Chelsea Market is a little misunderstood.   Since this is by far New York’s most famous “Market”, many avid tourists come here expecting a market similar to the Boqueria in Barcelona or Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem.  Chelsea Market is nothing like it.  Its indoors, not really ingredient heavy, but more a of a collection of unique restaurants and food purveyors.  And just like Eataly, Chelsea Market requires some exploring in order to get it, and avoid disappointment.

Adobada Tacos at Los Tacos #1 – The more I eat those little porky things the more I like them.  Tacos on the small side when you compare to what you get at a NYC bodega, but they are well marinated and deadly.  I often see tourists and locals fill the tacos with salsa and all the other free goodies available on the counter, ever so slowly killing the flavors.  Let the meat do the talking guys.Los Tacos

Pastrami Sandwich at Dickson’s – These guys, who look mostly like Boston Bruins enforcers, dont mess around with their meats.  Top quality stuff is sourced directly from a few hand picked local farms, enabling Dickson’s to produce tasty sausages, hot dogs (great dogs here) and this pastrami sandwich with Apricot Chutney.  This is not your average pastrami.  Bright, peppery, well marbled, fatty in all the right places.  Like slow dancing with your mother in law.Dicksons pastrami

Cappelletti al Prosciutto at Giovanni Rana – Fresh pasta galore at this Verona import.   After trying an array of pastas here (including a surprisingly flavorless Carbonara) I would stick to what they do best;  Ravioli/Tortellini, and the rest of the ravioli familia.  The “little hat” shaped Cappelletti is packed with flavorful, salty, porky goodnessGiovanni Rana

Chirashi Bowl at Lobster Place – Tourists flock to LP for the lobster, not realizing the tremendous sushi strength here.  One of the best ways to sample the fresh seafood at LP is via the Chirashi, a rice bowl topped with chef selected fresh raw goodness.  Other than the somewhat soggy octopus this thing simply rocked.  As long as you dont mind splurging the full $24 for the full bowl if sitting at the counter

Lobster Place Chirashi

Peppercorn Catfish at Num Pang.  Love me some good fish sandwich.  Something you cant easily find in NYC.  This is a fine combination of flaky catfish with mild pleasant heat, fresh veggies, and crispy baguette-like bread adding to a mighty fine Vietnamese Banh Mi resemblanceNum Pang - Peppercorn Catfish

Uni Tagliatelle at Cull and Pistol.  Squid ink pasta to me is like a box of chocolates.  You never know what you going to get.  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesnt.  This one works big time.  The richness, and sweetness of the uni sauce puts the Tagliatelle into another dimension.  And while the cherry tomatoes, and squid are just there to look pretty, they don’t hurt.  Even my oldest (13) who swore against squid ink pastas when she tried it in Venice, enjoyed this one.Cull and Pistol Tagliatelle

Lobster.   When I first decided to do a blog post about the Chelsea Market, I said to myself.  “Ziggy, be unique.  Give them something more than what those Asian tourists are coming for”.  But who am I kidding.  Nothing says NYC more to me than this only in NYC thing.  The Maine Lobster Roll!  You can get it at the Lobster Place, or its sister Cull and Pistol with the most addictive, perfectly cut and seasoned fries.  Or, do it Asian tourist style – grab a table and share an entire one.Cull and Pistol Lobster Roll

Mighty Mushroom Roll at Beyond Sushi.  Dont say I’m not thinking of you Mr and Mrs health nut.  For something that is less than zero calories (you lose while you chew and lose some more while you fight a polish tourist for a sit at the steps) this is pretty darn good.  And its not just the truffle essence that puts this thing on the list, its also the Enoki, Shiitake, Tofu, Micro Arugula, Shiitake Teriyake sauce… err who am i kidding, its mainly the truffle essence.  The same essence I blame for not taking a picture.

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Caramel at Liddabit  – This is simply an awesome cookie!  Dont believe me? I once brought the cookie to my cookie obsessed/snob co-worker Lou…

“So, how do you like it?”

“This is a good cookie!”

See?  What sets it a part for me is not so much the caramel, but the liberal use of dark chocolate chunks all around.Liddabit Cookie

Nocciola delle Langhe at L’Arte del Gelato – Pure awesomeness.  If there’s better gelato in the city, I didn’t have it yet.  If you always wandered about the difference between ice cream and gelato, this is a good place to see the difference.L'Arte del Gelato

Categories: Chelsea, New York City | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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