Thursday, June 18, 2015

El Original TX MX

Hell’s Kitchen, Manhattan

Ate: Iced Tea, Chile con Queso, and Beef Enchilada (shredded beef, topped with chile gravy, sweet onions, cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese) 

Art’s Rating: 3.75 / 4 jalapeños 

I finally made it here! A fellow Texan who works near me wanted to go for lunch and so we chose this place. I don’t understand all the bad reviews – I actually thought this place was good. And as my fellow Texan said – it’s “almost” there. Pretty close. And much better than Javelina, in my honest opinion.

First, the Queso. FINALLY! This had the right color (i.e., fake yellow) and consistency (i.e., not natural) and tasted just like Tex-Mex Queso. This alone is worth coming to. 

It was lunchtime, so I just stuck to iced tea – but that was good, too! I had the beef enchiladas, which were fine. However, I always judge a plate not by the main food item, but the sides. The refried beans and rice were perfect. The “chile gravy” was a little odd – was hoping for a more traditional red enchilada sauce. 

I will definitely come back here for margaritas and try their other items on the menu.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


Park Slope, Brooklyn 

Ate: Lobo Margarita, Guacamole, Chili Con Queso, Chalupas - Carnitas Extravaganza (shredded pork, lettuce, tomato, cheese, con carne, ranchero, topped with an egg) 

Art’s Rating: 2.75 / 4 jalapeños 

I was in Brooklyn with a group of friends and was craving a margarita, so we stopped by this place. I had been here many years ago on a bad date – ha! The place is conveniently located on 5th Avenue, Park Slope’s main commercial corridor, and the décor is fun inside. 

However, the food was just fine. Margarita was good, but the Chili Con Queso was a bit odd – slightly coagulated cheese. The Chalupa was fine. 

Friends ordered the Sangria, which was made with Cinnamon Tequila. Repeat: Cinnamon Tequila. They were not aware of this, it tasted awful, and was quickly sent back. We all tasted it and agreed. Luckily, the waitress and bartender were cool about it and got margaritas instead. With no Cinnamon Tequila. 

If you’re in the neighborhood – stop by here for a margarita and snack. But I don’t really recommend lunch or dinner here.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Austin, Texas: 4-Star City

I was recently in Austin for a wedding and ate as much Tex-Mex as I could. This included the obligatory visit to Chuy’s and eating as much creamy jalapeño sauce as humanly possible. Of course, I started with a frozen margarita and chile con queso. My main course was the Combination #4 Relleno & Enchilada – ordered both with chicken and creamy jalapeño sauce (really, I cannot get enough).

I had brunch at the South Congress Café and started with the Gumbo with Duck & Oysters and “Silverfire margarita” - dulce vida organic 100% blue agave tequila, cointreau, fresh sliced jalapeño, a hint of tabasco, fresh squeezed lime juice, and agave nectar. Both spicy and perfect! My main course was the “Migas Enchiladas” - farm fresh eggs, corn tortillas, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, three cheese blend, refried black beans, smoked gouda potato pancake, house made tortillas with ranchero sauce and lime sour cream. #Perfection. 

I had dinner at La Condesa with a large group and food highlights included: HUARACHE DE NOPAL Y CHORIZO (grilled cactus paddle, house-made chorizo, poblano rajas, black bean purée, queso fresco), COLIFLOR A LA PLANCHA (roasted cauliflower steak, chipotle raisin purée, marcona almond, chile de arbol vinaigrette, garlic-cauliflower soubise), RÓBALO (whole branzino, garlic-epazote oil, salsa verde, cauliflower escabeche), and ELOTE. Yet another perfect meal in Austin, Texas. 

Ended the trip on a simple note at the Mean Eyed Cat: drinking a beer outside with friends and eating “Stubb’s Mean Nachos” with brisket.

Thank you, Austin. This place is food heaven. Now please bring some of your food and restaurants up to NYC!

Brunch at the SoCo Cafe - Migas Enchiladas

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

NY Times Restaurant Review: Javelina

Unfortunately, this new wave of Tex-Mex restaurants are not getting good reviews (see NY Magazine article below).  This review is spot on.  I thought it was bad because I was there on the second day of opening, but it sounds like things haven't changed in the months since opening.  

I must pat myself on the back for the NY Times to agree with my blog/review that the flour tortillas were there best!  

Hopefully, things change for the better at Javelina after these reviews (i.e., find a bigger place!).

Source:  NY Times

Monday, May 11, 2015

NY Magazine Restaurant Review: Javelina and El Original Fail to Deliver on the Promise of Tex-Mex Cuisine

Article in NY Magazine regarding the "mini Tex-Mex craze" going on in NYC, which makes me very happy. Not so good reviews, but I still want to try El Original.  I thought Javelina was good despite the service - definitely want to go back.

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Union Square, Manhattan

Ate: Margaritas, Guacamole; Queso Sampler - traditional queso, white queso & “Mag Mud” - white queso, black beans, pico de gallo & guacamole; and Steak Fajitas with house made flour tortillas

Art’s Rating: 3.50 / 4 jalapeños

My friend and I were VERY excited about this place opening and overall, it was good. The wait was long, but luckily snacked on some margaritas, guacamole, and QUESO. Yes, queso has finally arrived in NYC. While waiting, we talked to people at the bar and it was *all* Texans! Good to know I’m not alone in the Big Apple for my quest for queso and good Tex-Mex.

The food was standard fare. The queso we ordered was white, which was not really Tex-Mex-style, but it passed the test. The steak fajitas were great, but the best part – homemade flour tortillas! These were legit authentic and great – even ordered more to dip into the queso.

Overall, I recommend this place. I was there on the second day this place opened – things were a little rough, but hopefully things work out over time.  

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NY Times Article on Tacos

Excellent article in the NY Times regarding tacos in NYC. Looks like I need to try some new places! As always, suggestions welcome.