Finding good Mexican food in the northeast

Because he grew up in Los Angeles, Jeff’s experienced a host of good Mexican food. I grew up having an about once-a-year taco dinner, eating chips and salsa, going once or twice to Casa Lupita (Mexican restaurant that used to be in Warwick, RI) and then Taco Bell came to Woonsocket when I was in high school. Those were all good, but I hadn’t yet really experienced great Mexican food.

I went to Mexico in November of 2000 and searched in vain for some of the Mexican favorites I knew. I didn’t find them, but I did find a lot of great foods that I really loved. So, when I met Jeff, I was ready to experience the Mexican food he liked.

Shortly after we were married, he started making me tacos (not like I’d ever had), enchiladas, burritos… I’ve never been the same.

We’ve spent part of this year traveling in the northeast, and we’ve been searching whenever it was possible for some good Mexican food. Not Taco Bell…not Don Pablo’sreal Mexican food. We’ve been looking from Philadelphia to Boston. Finding good and truly authentic Mexican food has been a challenge. There are more Mexican eating establishments here than when I was I younger. Some of them even say “authentic” on their sign, but we’d define many of them as tex-mex restaurants in disguise (trust me, there is a difference). However, we have found a few gems. Our test food is carne asada/bistek (steak) tacos.

How do we distinguish an authentic taco from a tex-mex one? We look for soft-corn tortillas, meat (chopped steak, shredded and seasoned beef/chicken/pork and other meat like lengua), onions, cilantro and occasionally fresh jalapeno, tomatoes and/or guacamole on top. Hard shells, flour tortillas, cheese, lettuce or hamburger usually signal to us that the tacos aren’t the real thing.

All of these places offer great steak tacos for between about a dollar or two.

PHILADELPHIA


La Lupe’s
1201 S 9th St
Philadelphia 19147
215-551-9920

The sign on the front of their building reads, “The very best Mexican in Philly”. We think they’re right. What did it for us? Homemade corn tortillas. They have a full menu (sit-in or take-out), including a nice selection of Mexican sodas. This restaurant is located close to Gino’s (a famous cheese steak eatery).

NEW YORK CITY


Tacos El Paisanito
202 W Fordham Rd
Bronx, NY 10468-5509
(718)329-0278

I stopped by here during a visit with Aileen, Kate & Susan. I don’t think many tourists stop here. They seemed pretty excited about our stop. Excellent tacos, great sauce. I would stop here again.

Taco Mix
Frnt 1, 234 E 116th St
New York, NY 10029
(212) 831-8147

Located in Spanish Harlem, their tacos were made in the authentic style (soft corn tortilla, meat, onion and cilantro). Their meat was seasoned slightly different than we’re used to, but it was still very good.

PROVIDENCE

La Lupita
1950 Westminster St
Providence, RI 02909
(401) 331-2444

You’ll find this place in the Olneyville section of Providence. They have excellent tacos, and they sell Sangria soda. This non-alcoholic drink is my favorite Mexican soda.

GREATER BOSTON

Tacos Lupita
13 Elm Str
Somerville, MA 02143
617-666-0677

They serve both Mexican and Salvadorian dishes. Great tacos. We’d first tried another place up the street just over the Cambridge line because we’d read so many great reviews on it. This Chipotle-like restaurant had nice decor but only OK Mexican food. They substituted roast beef for steak (but still called it steak), and had skimpy-sized burritos. The real Chipotle is much better. Thankfully, we found Tacos Lupita, and our trip wasn’t wasted. The decor was not as nice as that other restaurant, but the food was far better.

Have you found any great Mexican food establishments in the northeast?

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You Know Better than I

We spoke at Leominster Assembly of God last night. They were finishing a study on Joseph. After our presentation, the pastor showed the second half of the animated movie, Joseph: King of Dreams for the completion of their study. What a great movie; we want to see the whole thing now! One of the songs in the movie really spoke to us as it touches on some of the lessons God has been teaching us. The song is the backdrop of a scene of Joseph in prison after being wrongly accused of sleeping with Potiphar’s wife. The song has a powerful message about giving God control.

Better Than I
by David Campbell

I thought I did what’s right
I thought I had the answers
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here

So I put up a fight
And told you how to help me
Now just when I have given up
The truth is coming clear

You know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go the need to know why
For you know better than I

If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing I don’t know
Is part of getting through

I try to do what’s best
And faith has made it easy
To see the best thing I can do
Is put my trust in you

For You know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go the need to know why
For you know better than I

I saw one cloud and thought it was a sky
I saw a bird and thought that I could follow
But it was you who taught that bird to fly
If I let you reach me will you teach me

For You know better than I
You know the way
I’ve let go the need to know why
I’ll take what answers you supply
You know better than I

Genesis 50:20, [Joseph said to his brothers], “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good.”

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