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!