Where to find amazing tacos in a city full of amazing tacos.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of La Esquina, NYC’s stalwart downtown-hip taqueria, owner Derek Sanders, head chef Adrian Ramirez and Mexican food expert Richard Ampudia (who helped Sanders open the restaurant) took an epic research trip to Mexico City. "Since Derek and I collaborated on the opening of the original La Esquina ten years ago we thought it would be great to re-visit Mexico City and try some of the new taco places that the new culinary boom in Mexico City has brought about,” Ampudia says. “We also thought that it would be great to re-visit some of the old taco places that were part of the original inspiration behind La Esquina and see how they have aged, which ones are thriving, which are not there anymore and to understand how some of them have changed by the success and popularity of Mexico City amongst the new foodie culture of the world.” The trio ate a whole bunch of tacos—both crazy and classic—and came back with a slew of ideas, which they’ll use to revamp the menu at La Esquina. (Keep a look out for new Ensenada-inspired ceviches.)
Here, the team shares their top three taqueira picks from their trip to Mexico City.
Though the team was a little nervous to revisit their favorite menu items at this old-school spot, it should the test of time. Highlights included the ultra-tender, practically unadorned rib eye taco, homemade salsas and the cactus grilled with a touch of soy sauce, salsa inglesa (worcestershire sauce) and Maggi seasoning.
A pioneer in the field of tacos al carbon (tacos made with meats grilled over charcoal), El Farolito’s signature al pastor tacos were a hit with the team who described them as having the “perfect amount of caramelization” and being “deliciously porky.”
“The tacos at El Parnita were as fun as the wacky grandma who runs this great cantina,” Ampudia says. Highlights included El Viajera stuffed with suckling pig, pickled onion and avocado, El Rellenito filled with chipotle peppers, farmers cheese and black bean puree, and a habanero salsa that, according to the team, could “wake up the dead.”