So, I got out of work today with the intention of hitting up the taco cart for some Taco Tuesday delights. But rain, mixed with the A train not running up to my stop for some godforsaken reason, altered my plans. Luckily, we got a new taco joint in the neighborhood a few weeks ago that Elizabeth and I have been meaning to try.

Four tacos from Villa Patron in Inwood, NY

Four tacos from Villa Patron in Inwood, NY

Villa Patron, just west of the 1 train on Dyckman Street has only been open for three weeks, but it seems like a nice joint. Moody lighting, plenty of space and a nice staff. Alas, it seemed a litle slow to get my taco quartet, but the wait was, thankfully, mostly worth it. I’m gonna do this a little different and break ’em down individually.

  • The chicken taco was dry. Seasoned well, flavorful, but drrrrry. I’d probably try them one more time to see if they were always that dry. If they’re not, they’d be pretty damn good.
  • The al pastor taco (basically spicy pork with pineapple–hot and sweet) was the best of the bunch. Really damn good. An excellent mix of hot and sweet, with delicious pork. That hit the spot!
  • Fish taco! I, uh, forgot to ask what kinda fish it was. Pffft, whatevs. Fishies! I was happy to see they didn’t fry the hell outta the fish and instead cooked it nicely with a bit of spice, leaving the fish very moist and tasty. And they put enough fish in that taco to fill two tacos. Yeah!
  • Oh shrimp taco, why have you forsaken me? While not as overcooked as the chicken, the lil’ shrimp were dry and lacking flavor, acting more like taco filler than taco fiesta.

Each taco was $2.50, not a bad price for restaurant tacos, especially when they’re really hefty tacos. The plate came with radish and limes, necessary bits. I didn’t try the guacamole, salsa or anything else, but I sure plan to.

Will we eat tacos from Villa Patron again? Most definitely!

Our La Fiesta Feast!

Our La Fiesta Feast!

With a hankering for tacos and no desire to go too far from home, we ordered tacos and a mammoth burrito from La Fiesta, the taqueria Elizabeth found in Washington Heights a few weeks back. At $2 per taco, I decided to taste the rainbow of tacos and get six of ’em: steak, pork, chicken, spicy pork, al pastor and chorizo. Now, I’m not such a savage that I’d eat all six at once, but after downing the steak, spicy pork and chicken tacos, I damn near grabbed the other three.

The tacos at La Fiesta are exquisitely tasty, spiced wonderfully and very similar to the ones at Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery down in Hell’s Kitchen…though La Fiesta’s tacos come topped with a bit more onion and cilantro than at TDG. Still, they’re not just similar in terms of the rockin’ flavors–these tacos are a lil’ small. It’s easy and affordable to down three or four of these in a snap.

La Fiesta has officially become my go-to taco place when I’m at home. Hell yeah! More photos on Flickr.

After Ryan’s birthday extravaganza, I wasn’t expecting tacos for lunch today. I did have lunch and museum plans with my pal Daphne, though, and we decided to let our museum choice–The Hispanic Society, at 155th and Broadway–dictate our lunch selection.

Out of necessity, Daphne, a vegetarian, did some research. With the Caribbean foods that dominate Washington Heights, it’s often hard to find a place that isn’t all about meat, doesn’t include pork in the beans, or chicken broth in the rice.  That’s fine for my omnivorous tastes, but not part of the day’s plans.  Daphne found La Fiesta, a small, taqueria-style Mexican restaurant, only a few blocks from the museum.  And it had vegetarian tacos and burritos!  Success!

As we entered La Fiesta, the grill and food prep area stood to the left.  I was pleased to see tender-looking meats in bubbling tomatillo sauces, fresh chopped cilantro, onions, and limes, and queso oaxaca among the ingredients–this was no Dominican/Mexican hybrid, but a place with genuine Mexican flair.  La Fiesta’s dining area has a number of two-seater tables, a moderate, comfortable amount of space for lunch, but not set up for large groups.   (Of course, we were one of two occupied tables at lunch, so this was not a problem.)

While we waited for our tacos, we split an order of guacamole and chips.  The guacamole was a little smoother than I tend to like it, but the chips were delightful: crunchy, robust-flavored, with just the right amount of salt, and not too greasy, they stood out from many other taqueria chips.

Each taco, accompanied by slices of lime and radish, came tightly wrapped in paper.  I can’t really comment on the flavor of Daphne’s vegetarian tacos, but they looked delightfully cheesy (Oaxaca, I think).  I had one Al Pastor and one bistec taco, each topped with onions and cilantro.  I don’t know if the Al Pastor was properly from a rotisserie (the Mexico City way, based on Middle Eastern cooking methods), but it was tender, juicy, and a little sweet, just like it should be.  Compared to the well rounded and well balanced flavors of the Al Pastor, the bistec did not particularly stand out.  It was just a bistec taco, albeit a better-than-average one.

Sadly, since this was a surprise lunch, there are no photos to document the occasion.  But I fully intend to drag Ryan back for a second visit, where I intend to explore some other menu items, maybe a cemita, the sandwich of Pueblo, or a torta or a sope, all of which were on the menu.  And then there will be photos!  Lots and lots of photos!

Finally, stay tuned for our exploration of high-class Mexican in NYC at Rosa Mexicana!