Celebrate Dias de los Muertos with pan de muerto, an eggy, yeasted sweet bread with a cross of bones baked on top, from Panaderia La Espiga Real.
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For a man operating an under-the-radar Mexican restaurant out in Brooklyn, Roberto Santibañez carries a trunk of accolades. His newest restaurant, Fonda in the East Village, an offshoot of the original Park Slope location, has ruby walls, gothic trimmings, and a great happy hour, a peepshow of what the menu has to offer.
Quick and easy tacos, tortas, and burritos with a self-service condiment bar. Harlem's El Aguila takes it's cues from In N Out.
Casa Enrique, a six-month old restaurant in Long Island City, is carving out a new tier of Mexican restaurant in NYC. Ambitious but accessible, there's incredible enchiladas, tostadas, and a lamb shank you could bludgeon someone with.
When the thunderstorm hits, it's best to be somewhere warm, with flowery bachata music tinkling in the background, sheltered by sturdy walls and good food. Tacos Morelos, just might be the place.
When Taqueria Xochimilco slipped away a month or so ago, I was crestfallen. Taqueria la Paz has opened in its place, with new owners, a different menu, and a cheery awning featuring a hard-shell taco wearing a mustache and a focus on breakfast classics.
A non-descript antojito cart at Junction Boulevard serves a special snack: the unique tlacoyos, served simply and vegetarian-friendly, with ancient purple ayocote beans.
There are hundreds of flavors frozen into paletas, Mexican popsicles made with fresh fruit, juices, and savory accents. But have you tasted the hard-to-find varieties? Nance, mamey, grosella, and rompope, waiting in a reach-in freezer near you.
At its best, a fish taco is a totem of simplicity—just perfectly fried fresh fish in a warm tortilla with a drizzle of crema, the sweet crunch of cabbage, and a little hot sauce for punch. We checked out the city's fish taco scene to sort out the good, the bad, and the just alright.
This prototypical Williamsburg bodega has been serving the community since...you guessed it: 2000. The salsas may not sock you in the face like you might hope, but the meat is hot and fresh, the lettuce crisp and clean, and if the avocados were any more ripe, they would collapse into guacamole themselves.
Almost everything is well prepared at Tacos Cachanilla, a Sunset Park taqueria, from the handmade tortillas to the platters of barbacoa blanca to the freshly fried chile rellenos. And if you order wrong? The three house salsas and some excellent rice and beans will boost you in the right direction.
You can drink well at Angelo Sosa's new noisy cantina in Hell's Kitchen, Anejo Tequileria. There's Modelo Especial on tap, great cocktails, and flights of mezcal that show off the distinctive flavors of the smoky spirit. Maddeningly, the kitchen's crutch is sugar, serving braised shortrib tamales sweeter than any margarita.
As local Mexican businesses go, the Zafra and Carrera families are moguls. This year, they opened a taqueria, Carrera's, in Bushwick, a natural extension of their businesses, selling Mexican products to local bodegas and high end restaurants. It's a cozy respite on a gritty stretch of Flushing Avenue where trucks blast down the thoroughfare.
Downtown Bakery has been serving Mexican food in the East Village for almost twenty years. If you haven't eaten their burritos, swollen with refried black beans and crumbly orange rice, or indulged in the hangover obliterating powers of their huevos rancheros, then you've at least walked under the blue and white awning that shoots over the sidewalk. Downtown Bakery began as an Italian establishment, but over the years it's become a staple taqueria in the East Village.
The tamales from La Güera, a modest taqueria in Sunset Park, are fantastic renditions of a perfect, portable food. Tamales ($1.50) sit at the front in an Igloo cooler, all the easier peddle to pedestrians and still warm at midday. There are smoky mole tamales with dark black centers, cheese and green chili versions, and sweet pineapple-infused tamales that sometimes hold dried plums. But the phenomenal banana leaf-wrapped oaxaqueño tamales that are cause for celebration.
Like a grand marquee announcing the latest blockbuster, the multicolored sign "TORTAS" of Puebla Mini Market can be read two blocks away. Puebla Mini Market is an orderly shop in Sunset Park: part bodega, part torta cart, but first and foremost a juice stand. Most customers shoot past the juice stand and beeline for the back, where the famous double-sided plancha (basically a panini press) squashes overloaded sandwiches into tight, well-toasted packages. This unique sandwich shop was created by Don Pepe, the creator of thirty-three (and counting) styles of torta, which you can peruse from a well-lit photographed line-up overhead.