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Best Mexican in Philly


philadining
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There's them pictures!  Yeah!  That was just a silly feast of much Mexican goodness.  The chicken-lime-ginger soup is off the hook and everything else was just delicious.  This is definitely my new fave "down and dirty" cheap eats place.  I'm totally jonesing to go back.  All I need is a dining companion... :smile:

Well, I'm already supposed to be introduced to Jamaican Jerk Hut...

Clue: If you've followed the pattern of my posts on the Pizza Club thread, I tend to propose outings after the 25th of the month.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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  • 3 months later...

The Taqueria directly across 9th Street from Acapulco is open again...finally. (This is the place with the bright orange walls and the sign proclaiming "los taquitos de Puebla."

I had eaten there once when they first opened, where I happily devoured a plate of arguably the best tacos al pastor in the city. And then they were closed, with a sign saying they'd re-open soon. And then the sign disappeared, and the place looked dead. But lo, my wishes have been granted, and they reopened a couple of weeks ago.

So they have this sammich, you see...cemitas. With whatever meat you choose (suadero, carnitas, chorizo, pastor, etc.) served on a sesame seed bun. I had the al pastor, which meant that not only was the bun stuffed full of that lovely pork, but also contained pieces of the pineapple (pastor is shaved from a spit, a bit like shwarma. A pineapple sits atop the spit, marinating the pork as it turns), slow-cooked onions, avocado, and cilantro. Freakin' fantastic.

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Aha!! The infamous "sweating pineapple" from the Rick Nichol's article of so many months ago! I'd always driven past there in the hopes of it being opened and always found it closed. Glad to hear someone has tried it. I'll be there very soon, now. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I know some Philadelphians sometimes venture over here to the wilds of Jersey so I have to mention this place. If you jump off the expressway at the Hammonton exit and drive about 2 miles to Hammonton you will be on 12th street. The Fiesta Mexicana is at 327. We’ve eaten there 2 or 3 times and though it’s always busy we have been the only gringos in there. The food is excellent.

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Taquitos de Puebla got a mention in LaBan's "scary food"article. Yeah, they've got eyeball tacos on the menu.

I didn't have those last night. I had tacos suedero, which were lovely. And I discovered  tepache...which is pineapple cider. I am so a regular.

After reading your review I headed over to de Puebla last night to take some home for dinner. We had the cemitas al pastor like you suggested. The meat actually has nice little chunks of pineapple in it and a real good flavor. We also had tacos con chorizo and the suederos, which were all really good. I think I left with five different choices, which was way more food than we needed, for about $30.00. I always get so excited in these places that I order way too much food. We are going to finish it tonight for dinner.

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Taquitos de Puebla got a mention in LaBan's "scary food"article. Yeah, they've got eyeball tacos on the menu.

I didn't have those last night. I had tacos suedero, which were lovely. And I discovered  tepache...which is pineapple cider. I am so a regular.

The eyeball taco thing intrigued me, so I did a google search. I'm guessing this is *not* an accurate representation of the real thing?

Spooky_Eyeball_Tacos.jpg

:laugh:

__Jason

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Taquitos de Puebla got a mention in LaBan's "scary food"article. Yeah, they've got eyeball tacos on the menu.

I didn't have those last night. I had tacos suedero, which were lovely. And I discovered  tepache...which is pineapple cider. I am so a regular.

Somebody educate me: what are tacos suedero?

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After reading your review I headed over to de Puebla last night to take some home for dinner.  We had the cemitas al pastor like you suggested.  The meat actually has nice little chunks of pineapple in it and a real good flavor.  We also had tacos con chorizo and the suederos, which were all really good.  I think I left with five different choices, which was way more food than we needed, for about $30.00.  I always get so excited in these places that I order way too much food.  We are going to finish it tonight for dinner.

a few of us headed over tonight. and lemme tell ya, it's on the short list for my fave taquerias in town. a quick rundown

  • al pastor does indeed kick ass, and the pineapple basting spit clearly shows why
  • capaneus, andrew and i had some mixed head tacos, which are gelatinous, rich, and kind of bland. i've never seen a taco that needs a squirt of lime juice more than these. the various chewy/gelatinous bits made me think that maybe we should have ordered head, eye, etc separately, so we could figure out what was what in there.
  • suadero, bistec, chuleta all solid, and as expected.
  • beef ribs were an unexpected pleasure. i have no idea how the star-shaped bones in these things were ribs, but it was excellent
  • beef cheeks were slightly mushy and rich, as ... well, it's what they are. great taco filling, beef cheeks is. who knew?
  • longaniza and chorizo--i'm not entirely clear about what longaniza is specifically vis a vis chorizo; they're similar but different

other things we ordered:

  • frijoles a la charra was a dish of fantastic beans, bits of pork and possibly beef, and big pieces of chicharron (pork rind) in broth. it was great, but the broth was almost unpleasantly salty. served with plain tortillas
  • guacamole was the plain kind--just avocados, lime juice, cilantro, onion, queso blanco. also kinda salty, although it may have been their chips, which unlike many mexican places, they actually salted pretty well.
  • nopales salad was a take on it i haven't seen before--big slices of avocado and queso blanco, an almost equal amount of nopales and onions with cilantro and pickled jalapenos. good stuff. a hell of a lot for one person.
  • the plate of radishes, cukes and limes instead of chips on the table at the beginning of the meal. why, that's downright healthy!

guess what all this cost? no seriously, guess.

ok i'll tell you: ELEVEN BUCKS A HEAD with tip (unless we miscalculated and screwed everyone over because of running out to get the baby home and fed, in which case sorry, i swear i'll pay you all back--pm me).

i mean, note that we had several orders of a few of those taco platters up there.

dang that was good. and the orders came out in under five minutes each. la lupe could learn a lesson from these folks.

enjoyable from beginning to end. great place. but seriously, the tacos al pastor were the best part. they're fantastic. and the beans.

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So I was strolling down 9th Street yesterday evening (Saturday, 11/4) around 5 and saw the Craig LaBan clip in the window of Taqueria de la Puebla.

As I stood there reading it for a good little while, a guy came out of the restaurant and said to me, "You want tacos? Come on inside."

Turned out he was one of the staff.

One good sign: When I walked in, about half of the 8 tables were occupied. By the time I was midway through my tacos al pastor (I didn't have the stomach for the eyeball or cow's head tacos that night), almost every table was occupied. Mine was the only non-Mexican face in the place. (I did a similar head count as I passed La Lupe. About 40% of its tables were full, and the gringo/Mexican ratio was about 50-50.)

Service was so fast it made my head spin, and very friendly to boot. Prices can't be beat (I only ordered the one plate plus a cup of coffee -- they sweeten theirs with honey before serving it to you). And the food was all that and a bag of chips.

I predict they'll have to consider larger quarters within six months or so.

Sandy Smith, Exile on Oxford Circle, Philadelphia

"95% of success in life is showing up." --Woody Allen

My foodblogs: 1 | 2 | 3

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I had my first al pastor taco from La Puebla this afternoon and it won't be my last. Damn those are good! The meat is incredibly tender and the pineapple is sort of infused into the meat. Really really good. A single taco is $2.00!!! Amazing. Might be my favorite new snack food.

I ran into a former co-worker from Amada there and his taco platter also came with a big plate of grilled spring onions and the usual cucumber/radish/lime wedge plate that also accompanied my single taco. He let me try some of his grilled onions and they were very good as well.

This place is such a good value.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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T Or a culinary remnant of the Calabrese invasion during the Mexican-Italian War?  This is a mystery.  But the combination of spaghetti, tomato sauce, Parmesan and queso fresco was oddly tasty.

Or maybe it was when the Etruscans opened a can of whoop ass on the Olmecs.

Dum vivimus, vivamus!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Philadining and I visited La Puebla tonight and have decided that this is the Holy Grail of Tacos al Pastor. Never had better ones anywhere on the planet. Real pieces of pineapple in with the pineapple infused pork that's been cooking on the circular gyro-like spit in the back all day long. Also tried the delicious Frijoles al Charro - big honking bowl of porky, brothy smoky goodness with chicharrones floating on top. Oh baby. Really awesome rib sticking fare for a chilly evening. Some grilled spring onions and a molcajete filled with freshly made guacamole to round out our feast and life is good. All this yumminess and two beverages come to the whopping total of $17.00. :shock: I freaking love this place...

Pix to follow from Phil when he has time. You'll be drooling over the visuals.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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gallery_23992_3971_125.jpg

As Katie noted, this place delivers the goods for the Tacos Al Pastor. I'm not all that obsessed with the shwarma-style spit, I'm concerned with the flavor, and these are seriously great.

gallery_23992_3971_74003.jpg

the meat is really tender and juicy, with nicely charred edges, a slab of pineapple perfectly accenting the richness of the pork.

gallery_23992_3971_127459.jpg

I mean, you know, just look at that!

Three tacos al pastor. Five bucks.

These come off the vertical spit in the back. It's not so easy to see anymore, but we rudely charged into the kitchen and took pictures, they seemed amused by us...

gallery_23992_3971_182733.jpg

I have no idea if the pineapple actually drips down onto the meat, but the result is delicious.

gallery_23992_3971_20944.jpg

There are lots of other interesting Taco fillings done on the plancha, but it's going to be really hard for me to divert from the Al Pastor. I found them perfectly tasty just as they were, maybe a little squeeze of lime, but if you want to tart them up a bit, there's a plate of accompaniments, and some very tasty salsas. Nopales salad, some spicy marinated onions, cucumbers and radishes provide some nice contrast to the meaty tacos.

gallery_23992_3971_85322.jpg

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The guacamole was simple, but very good, and not too salty as had been previously mentioned.

gallery_23992_3971_112288.jpg

The Frijoles a la Charra were not too salty either, I thought they were some of the tastiest beans I've had in a while. Of course it never hurts to load them up with bits of chirizo and float an armada of chicharones on top.

gallery_23992_3971_2949.jpg

Some of the tacos come with a couple of grilled spring onions, but not the al pastor, so we got a side order of them for 2 or 3 bucks. Deliciously sweet.

gallery_23992_3971_87672.jpg

This place doesn't have quite as deep of a menu as some restaurants nearby, but for Tacos, this is my new favorite spot - I really can't see any reason to go anywhere else. I'm eager to head back and try some other tacos, or their choriqueso, or....OK, maybe just a big pile of the al pastor!

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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as a side note, we discovered last week that they don't serve the frijoles a la charra on sundays. we asked why and were told that on sundays they have the lamb with soup, and they only cook up one kind of soup a day. most days it's frijoles; sundays it's barbacoa.

(i didn't ask if he meant goat, since most of the mexican places around serve up goat on sundays)

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Im surprised that no one has mentioned El Sombrero in Avondale, Pa..

Groceries, Fresh made food (Including bags of fresh tamales) and still wam tortillas from their $1 Million Dollar machine!

http://www.mytravelguide.com/restaurants/p..._Store_Inc.html

well it does say 'in philly.' i think that el sombrero has been mentioned in the chester county restaurants thread, but i'm not sure.

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I called to confirm and Jose's has the Chicken-Ginger soup again, now that it's cold out.

I know what I'm having for dinner tonight! :wub:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Return visit to La Puebla. Tried the Choriqueso

gallery_23992_3971_19502.jpg

which was good, but I've had better, I would have liked a better crust on the cheese and more chorizo flavor.

Got and order of Cachete Tacos (beef cheek)

gallery_23992_3971_59502.jpg

which were luxuriously soft and fatty, a little gelatinous, and actually not all that flavorful. A splash of salsa, and some of the onions, radishes, and nopales provided helped a bit. But overall I think I just prefer a taco filling with a bit bolder flavor and firmer texture.

Such as the crusty, tender, sweet Tacos al Pastor

gallery_23992_3971_81388.jpg

Man, those are great.

Also had some guacamole, which is simple and good (and cheap) but needs more chips.

For dessert, another order of Tacos al Pastor. Really.

I'm still looking forward to trying more things here, but I might end up just sticking with the pork and pineapple...

Oh, and BTW, there were two of us eating, shame on you for thinking I'm THAT gluttonous!

Edited by philadining (log)

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I have a hard time ordering anything except tacos al pastor and the cemita al pastor. But the cemita especial (steak milanesa, nopales, poblano, oaxaca cheese, avocado, onion, etc.) is even bigger than the other cemitas, and is damn fine.

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I think I saw one of those Cemitas Especial- it was HUGE! The roll looked to be about the size of the guy's head. What was really impressive though, was that this guy, who was not very big, made quick work of the sandwich, then ate a plate of tacos too.

"Philadelphia’s premier soup dumpling blogger" - Foobooz

philadining.com

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I think I saw one of those Cemitas Especial- it was HUGE! The roll looked to be about the size of the guy's head. What was really impressive though, was that this guy, who was not very big, made quick work of the sandwich, then ate a plate of tacos too.

You should be ordering the cemita de pastor. It's like twice the al pastory goodness...with avocado. And a half a sandwich leftover for the next day. (OR, cook up some rice and beans and add the filling of the sandwich. Toast leftover bread to use as roll. Yes, I eat there so often that I have multiple ways to use my leftovers.)

I'd also like to point out that in addition to the horchata, they've got a changing roster of aguas that are always a nice accompaniment to the food. I haven't seen the tepeche (pineapple cider) for awhile, but have recently had very nice melon water recently, and last week they were doing jamaica. Mmm.

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I was there last night and had the cemitas al pastor, it was just too much. I made the mistake of eating the whole thing and I regretted it later. The roll is just too much bread! It's very good bread, but I still prefer the tacos. The plain corn tortilla really lets the filling shine. If you want to add avocado, that bowl of green sauce they bring has bits of avocado in it. We also had the choriqueso, which I agree is too much cheese, not enough chorizo.

Can anyone tell me what that white liquid is in the jet-spray machine near the kitchen? It looks like the fermented pineapple juice I've had in another tacqueria.

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