El Update de Comida Mexicana

14 Nov
2011
Posted in: Arizona, Food, New Mexico
By    10 Comments

We’re fans of Mexican food. We tried to find good tacos in Burlington, Vermont. We loved eating Mexican food in Chicago. Now we’re in New Mexico and searching for more.

First thoughts: the Mexican fast food available here is so, so much better than Taco Bell. I have no idea why Taco Bell is so successful when relatively authentic food is so much more tasty. A Crunchwrap Supreme? A Mexican Pizza? A Nacho Cheese Gordita? No thanks. Give me a pork taco with diced onions and cilantro or give me … something from these places:

El Parasol

El Parasol is a small New Mexican chain. We liked the beef tacos and the guacamole. However, the tacos were pretty greasy, and the chicken taco was just OK. This is probably a great place to eat if you have a hangover.

Taco Cabana

Taco Cabana has locations in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. It’s the real deal, and we’re in love with it. The huevos rancheros are awesome and so are the breakfast tacos. We need to go again. The best part is the salsa bar — there are entire jalepeños available as garnish. Just a pile of whole jalapeños! It’s insane.

Tia Lupe’s, Alamogordo

Billed as Alamogordo’s best business of 2011, we found this place to be just OK. It’s nothing special and probably not worth a visit unless you’re seriously in need of a taco fix.  It’s standard, mediocre Mexican, and the venue has a weird vibe. Can’t recommend it. And $4 beers in the boonies? Nope.

Si Señior, Las Cruces

While people on review sites seem to like it, we found this place mediocre as well. The chips and four salsas were good, The drink specials were great ($2.50 house margaritas from 2-6PM). The Hatch-grown chili relleno was tasty. But everything else (tacos, enchiladas, beans, rice, etc.) was standard mid-range mediocre. We don’t recommend this place either.

Chips and salsas, drinks: yummy; pretty much everything else: meh.

Chips and salsas, drinks: yummy; pretty much everything else: meh.

So, where have we had the BEST Mexican food on the trip so far? Eau Clarie, Wisconsin at Taqueria Sandoval. And this has led Lisa to the absolutely astute conclusion that with Mexican food, mid-range is mediocre. Either go high-end or bargain-basement. Don’t waste your time or money in the middle. We need to find some dives in New Mexico.

Update: 

Filiberto’s Mexican Food

Seemingly a good value, but very, very meaty. So meat-tacular that you can’t pick up the tacos because they’re so full. We suggest you stick to the burritos. They’re big, but not too big, and most are under $5.

  • Marie

    Rocket Cafe in Gallup. You’re welcome!

  • Mary Pautz

    The Range Cafe
    925 Camino Del PuebloBernalillo, NM 87004Between Albuquerque & Santa Fe
    Don’t tell anyone else ok?  Try the shrimp tacos!

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      We’ll have to stop here when we pass back through.  Any picks for Arizona?

      http://rangecafe.com/ 

  • Barb

    Just buying fresh food at some of the El Reys in Milwaukee is what I like.  A new one just went into an old Sentry grocery building on 51st and Oklahoma.  Clean, friendly clerks, and as always, the best tamales ready for carry out.  Cialantro, 38 cents a bunch and I use to hate it…now can’t get enough!

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      Yes — this also supports the cheaper is better theorem of Mexican food.

  • http://twitter.com/scottsala Scott Sala

    That’s why the food truck craze (3 years behind LA and NYC) in PHX is so biased by excluding the authentic Mexican food trucks and favoring foodie white people (mostly). My favorite tacos are random trucks in Mexican worker areas.

    When in AZ, head to any Rancho Market or Ranch Market (2 similar chains). They are grocery store megalopolises that have fresh tortilla factories inside, food to-go, sour crema in 8 flavors/nationalities in the deli counter by weight, every ingredient you’d need for real Mexican food.

    If ever in NYC, hit Greenpoint, Brooklyn for Papacitos. mmm.

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      Perfect! We’ll check these out.

  • Luz and Sue

    Sue likes the breakfast tacos at Taco Cabana also.  Let us know if your heading into TX – we’ll have ideas then!  :)

    • http://www.pauldavidolson.com/blog/ Paul David Olson

      Sounds good! Might be a few months.