Friday, January 18, 2013

Taqueria: My Mexican Home Away From Home

¡Ay, caramba!  I miss Mexican food.  Since leaving Southern California 14 years ago, I have yet to find good Mexican food on the East Coast.  When I go back to visit my friends in Cali, the first thing we do upon leaving the airport is hit up a good taqueria - and I really do mean the first thing... hugs, baggage, tacos.  There are a couple of decent places in New York City, but they're not home to me.  But then I found Taqueria LES and I was home for the first time in a long time.


Jessie, my LES Gastronomic Adventure partner in crime, and I decided to grab lunch from Taqueria Lower East Side for ourselves and another coworker, Adam.  The ambiance of the place is exactly what you want from a good hole in the wall Mexican dive.  It was clean, tacky, and a Mexican flag and piƱata hung from the ceiling.  Even though it was 30 degrees outside, it started to feel like sunny California to me.


Our bartender/waitress took our order and gave us some great suggestions off the menu as everything (and I do mean everything) looked delicious.  We decided on an assortment of tacos and tostadas and a couple Jarritos as well.  Jarritos is really the only soda I enjoy and will indulge in from time to time.  There's something about a tamarind or mango soda made with real sugar that'll get you going!  While we waited, we drooled over the other patrons' tortas and decided we would be back to get one soon.  

I got fish tacos and a carnitas tostada.  First, the fish tacos... Fish tacos are my litmus test of a good Mexican place.  These fish tacos were fresh, crisp, lightly fried and not over cooked.  They were topped with tangy salsa verde, cool crema mexicana, and crunchy cabbage.  These tacos were legit and I was in love.  I almost forgot to take a picture because I was having a love affair with them and got caught up.  


Adam and I concurred that the carnitas tostadas were a delight.  The carnitas were tender, juicy, and just the right combination of salty and spicy.  They melted in your mouth.  Jessie's bistec taco was also a hit.  Hands down, we decided that this was our new Mexican home away from home.  Now if I could just get all of my Cali friends to move here, I'd have no reason to ever go back to Cali - well except for the sunsets. 

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