Cinco de Mayo

I might be obsessed with some elements and as you probably may have noticed,  tacos are part of it. So when Cinco de Mayo happened, I realized it was another good excuse to have a taco crawl all day. My run in Central Park North in the morning reminded me (just in case I had forgotten) I am actually living in Spanish Harlem, and for once I was pretty happy to hang out in my neighborhood. National Mexican music screaming in the colorful streets, Harlem is great to get coconut ice cream for $1 and huge fresh squeezed orange juice for half the price of the rest of Manhattan.

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Unfortunately, East Harlem is not known to have the best Mexican food in town. Is it because it is mainly made up of Puerto Ricans? I decide to head to the only decent place recommended by most of the guides and foodies: Taco Mix, located on 116th st and 3rd avenue. The line is long, way too long, since we have to wait 30’ to get the precious taco Al Pastor. The pork is sliced to order off a rotating spit and covered with a pineapple that is probably giving only the juice to the meat. No cube of fruit, they are just covered with the traditional cilantro-raw onions mix. If you want to try the traditional Mexican taco, Taco Mix is the place to go.

Toloache 82 is a lot fancier, located in Yorkville. It seems you cannot go wrong with the menu. The guacamole is one of the best I had, the quesadillas are definitely looking original and the black truffle on one of them is really savory even though they won’t feed you. The fish taco is generous, baja-style tilapia with spicy-jicama slaw (Mexican coleslaw-style), topped with guacamole. I would not rate them favorite fish taco but they really worth it (click here for the taco-crawl). Anyway the restaurant offers one of the best Mexican foods in the city, so I would recommend to spend you next dinner out there.

For your upcoming Margarita night, head to Tequilla Park Taqueria. Located on the second floor of the Hudson Lodge, the huge taco-margarita garden is great to hang out, watch people or play the babyfoot. Watch out because your night will cost you a lot with the $16 margarita and the $8 baby-tacos.

Taco Mix
234 E 116th St # 1,
New York, NY 10029

Toloache 82
166 E 82nd St,
NY 10028
(212) 861-4505

Tequilla Park Taqueria
356 W 58th St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 554-6217

Check the Taco-crawl here to get the top 10 tacos in NYC. Bonus, there is a Map!

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El Toro Blanco

toro-ddI tried…the new hot Mexican spot in Manhattan. Please remind me this experience next time I want to try a restaurant that just opened. It has been weeks I read about El Toro Blanco in West Village. I tried to make it once on a Thursday night. Packed, no table for 2 by 10pm and the bar is small so everyone is fighting to get a spot. A table booked one week later, the venue is pretty empty (is that because it’s Tuesday night, less than 20°F outside or because it’s already not trendy anymore?). Let’s have a drink? The $15 tequila shot kills our wish to celebrate our graduation day. The $12 guacamole is just good and comes with homemade (?) warm chips and three salsa fresca. The spiciest one looks like a mayo.

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Tacos are served; it was the only reasonable price on the menu, which is fine for me as I’m tracking NY tacos. Great presentation, but the white crumbs on the top scare me: cheese on a taco? The avocado and pineapple bites are so big they fall from the taco and I must eat them with a fork. I desperately try to catch the taste of the shrimp taco. Bland. The enchiladas soaking in melting cheese definitely convinced me we are at a Tex-Mex restaurant.

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Yes it is trendy. Yes the decoration is nice. Yes we are in West Village. But next time I will just go to a tacos truck.

257 6th Avenue, B/T Bleecker and Houston Streets,
New York, NY 10014
(212) 645-0193