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Cinco De Mayo Is Our Excuse To Revisit Three Old Mexican Favorites And One New Kid On The Block

La Chinesca

248 Aguirre Street, BF Homes Parañaque, (02) 738-0724

 

Located a few stores away from Chef Bruce Ricketts’ first restaurant Sensei, along Aguirre Street in BF Homes Parañaque, is La Chinesca. It’s his one-year-old passion project that started as a series of Mexican pop-ups, eventually morphing into a restaurant when Chef Bruce, together with his then fiancée, now wife, found an ideal (small) space conveniently located near Sensei. Named after Mexico’s Chinatown, La Chinesca is a 20-seater taqueria with no signage (look for a painted Mexican mask instead), serving, in my opinion, the best tacos in town. Its secret lies in the use of good quality, handmade tortillas made with imported masa harina (corn flour) from Mexico. The tortillas are rolled flat and quickly cooked just minutes before serving.

 

La Chinesca’s Tripitas Tacos

 

Posters at La Chinesca

 

Assorted tacos at La Chinesca

 

La Chinesca is set to open a more central location at Rockwell Power Plant’s new wing by this June or July. In the meantime, check it out on May 5 (Cinco de Mayo) to avail of its special promo of two tacos for the price of one.

What to order: Tripitas, Campechano, and Guisada de Res Tacos, Guacamole, Mezcal shots

 

Drive By Tacos

167 Aguirre Street, BF Homes Parañaque, (0977) 348-9211

 

I credit the BF Homes rush hour traffic and the need to kill time, plus the restaurant’s screaming “Taco Shop” signage/wall mural for this serendipitous good find, which turned out to be yet another must-try taqueria in the middle of Aguirre Street.

 

Drive By’s can’t-miss signage

 

Chili Beef Bowl Nachos at Drive By Tacos

Drive By Tacos is owned by Mikey San Miguel who previously worked in the kitchens of some of the country’s top toques. His Mexican creations show a depth of flavor that is definitely not run-of-the-mill. By adding a fun twist to familiar traditional flavors, the menu selection is definitely more approachable to a wider market and age group, which explains why Drive By is a favorite merienda stop of mothers with school kids in tow, as well as a popular pit stop of the after work, drinking crowd. It just recently opened a 2nd branch on Gloria Diaz Street in BF Resort Village in Las Piñas.

What to order: Chicharones Taco, bite-size Ox Brain Tacos, Sriracha and Hoisin Fish Tacos, Chili Beef Bowl Nachos

 

Lo de Alberto

City Golf Plaza, Doña Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig, (0942) 639-6771   

 

This neighborhood Mexican joint located inside the City Golf compound originally occupied the small outdoor stall (with no aircon) located in the middle of the parking lot. Its recent move to a bigger space, thankfully with aircon, within the same compound, has led to more people discovering it.

 

Lo de Alberto’s traditional Molletes

 

At the helm of the Lo de Alberto kitchen is Mexican chef Balam Nazar, whose Chilango style of cooking has a very homestyle taste and look. He serves made-from-scratch dishes that you’ll not find in other Mexican joints. For example, the Molletes is a traditional open sandwich with refried beans and melted cheese served with salsa, usually eaten for breakfast, but also suited for those looking for a light lunch or snack. At Lo de Alberto, everyday is a celebration, thanks to its buy-one-take-one promo on cocktails.

What to order: Molletes, Ensenada Taco (crispy tilapia fillet, Baja California style con chipotle cream), Chilaquiles (Lo de Alberto’s version of nachos), Tamarindo (tamarind juice), Margarita by the glass or carafe, Mexican Lime Pie

 

Taqueria Seta

4988 P. Guanzon Street, Barangay Poblacion, Makati, (02) 851-7365

 

Poblacion’s newest Mexican turns out to be Chef Ian Padilla’s latest restaurant. (He is also the chef of Common Table in Salcedo Village.) “Seta” meaning mushroom in Spanish, it’s obvious Chef Ian is fond of naming his restaurants after mushrooms. Remember his old French restaurant, La Girolle, another term for chanterelle mushrooms?

 

A mural of Frida Kahlo by Kookoo Ramos at Taqueria Seta

 

Elotes or grilled corn with cheese, lime, and cilantro

 

At this new restaurant, Chef Ian experiments with a variety of imported Mexican peppers to create interesting dishes from scratch. His menu greatly complements the bar stocked with affordable (popular) tipples not meant to break the bank, making it a popular happy hour margarita stop. The two-level space was a former dorm that the owners transformed into a beautiful and airy space, filled with brightly painted murals with Mexican themes, lending it a hip and fun, yet relaxing vibe. For Cinco de Mayo, Taqueria Seta is partying big, with margaritas at P100 each and Cazadores tequila at P75 a shot and P1,250 a bottle. Plus, Burlesque PH and DJ Cedez will be performing. Taqueria Seta is also participating at the Cinco de Mayo celebration to be held at the nearby Z Hostel.

What to order: Margarita, Elotes, Chicken Skewers

 

 

Photos by Cyrene de la Rosa

Follow the author on Instagram and Twitter @cyrenedelarosa