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Need Help with Mexican Food

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So I'm pregnant and past my due date by 4 days now and we're going to give the spicy food thing a try. I'd like to eat some Mexican food.

Trouble is, I know very little about Mexican Food. I was thinking of trying Coyote Flaco in PC today or maybe that healthier place in Dobbs Ferry...I can't remember its name.
I'd prefer healthy fresh ingredients over anything processed or canned but I also want spicy flavorful food. Where should I go? I'll travel almost anywhere in Westchester/Greenwich. As long as the food is fresh.

This brings us to my second dilema...what do I order? Aside from tacos and burritos I know nothing about mexican food. What do some other dishes include and what do they look like? Can someone give me a crash course in mexican food and then point me in the right direction for lunch today?

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  1. Tomatillo is the place in Dobbs. http://www.mexchester.com/ They use organic produce from Stone Barns (as per website anyway) and "all natural" chicken and pork, so that probably fits the bill for you. Tiny, cute place!

    14 Replies
    1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

      I would suggest Sunset Grille in White Plains. Any of their dishes are good, but if you ask for THE hottest salsa they have, you will barely be able to breathe.

      Good luck on your new baby, by the way.

      1. re: dolores

        Sorry, but if you go to Sunset Grille your baby may be crawling by the time you get your entree. Seriously, we did encounter the slowest possible service there and the food was not as good as we were led to believe. I don't know the place in Dobbs, but it sounds promising. If you are on the Portchester side you can try MaryAnn's where you can get fresh ingredients and lower fat side dishes. Ask the wait person to guide you in ordering. If you are a real gringa you can always have fajitas and spice it up with the salsa. Buena suerte (good luck) with the baby and the meal:)

        1. re: dolores

          Dolores I'm shocked! did you forget all the recent, awful posts about Sunset Grille? Bleh.

          Organic life, if you want really good Mexican and spicy go to Mexican Corner in New Rochelle. You don't have to order specifically spicy stuff, just order whatever you like/crave and ask for their spiciest salsas. There ya go. Flaco is okay, better than the Tex-Mex type joints but not all that. I'd send you to Tortilleria los Gemelos in Port Chester but the seating is extremely uncomfortable and so certainly not for you. Good luck w/everything.

          1. re: laylag

            Hi laylag. Oh no, I recall the posts. But I, like Truman, believe in being shown. I'll have to get back there again for myself. Heck, there are folks that like restaurants that I hate. In the case of Sunset Grille, there appears to be more there than meets the eye.

            Where is Mexican Corner, laylag? They are past Little Mexican Cafe but not as far as North Ave.? Can you give me a landmark, preferably one from the 1950s? Just kidding, of course. Are they on the corner of Lawton St.? Thanks.

            1. re: dolores

              I'm not super familiar with cross street names in New Rochelle but they are on a corner, hence the name, closer to North Street than Little Mexican Cafe. It's easy to miss as it's small. Windows on both sides. Do try it. Definitely order the carnitas tacos and the sopes too. Have carnitas everything since they are so good. Chilaquiles were sadly soggy and disappointing though. Better ones at Tortilleria in PC. Little Mexican Cafe wins the tacos al pastor contest. Haven't done moles at any of them yet so can't speak to that but will do although if I recall Adam Clyde liked the El Michoacan mole best but I haven't been there yet.

              And, if you are going to brave it and shell out $$ in the process, let me know what happens when you go back to Sunset Grille.

              1. re: laylag

                Thanks laylag, I will!

              2. re: dolores

                This looks like the place...

                -----
                Mexican Corner
                497 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                1. re: Chris VR

                  very cool. Yeah, that's the place. here are the other place I mentioned in my post too (just using that as an excuse to play with this new google maps thingy.

                  -----
                  Tortilleria Los Gemelos
                  167 Westchester Ave, Port Chester, NY 10573

                  Little Mexican Cafe
                  581 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    El Michoacano is my choice, over all, for tacos. The onions are grilled, which makes a wonderful diffference, and they don't stint on ingredients. ( Family likes the mole; I haven't had it.) When I want a quick snack, I often stop in for a few tacos to go. Favorites are tripe or carnitas. Good milkshakes, too. Now I'll try to link the address!

                    -----
                    El Michoacano
                    485 Main St, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                    1. re: Pat Hammond

                      forgot about michoacano. Pat's right, they probably do have the best carnitas anywhere in Westchester or fairfield county. (they better if they herald from michoacan! But the surprising second to them, I think, in New Rochelle is the ultra divey Taqueria El Chino. LOVED their carnitas too. Only went once though, so not sure how consistent it is...

                      -----
                      Taqueria El Chino
                      72 Centre Ave Ste 2, New Rochelle, NY 10801

                      1. re: Pat Hammond

                        I went with my husband for a quick lunch as we were in the general Westchester area. I had tacos w/ carnitas and al pastor, my husband the brains and tripe. I agree, the grilled onions were a nice touch, though, although I'm a somewhat inexperienced authentic taco eater, I preferred the ones that we had in the spring in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. The pastor (I think) had a lot of fat in it, which isn't my thing, but my husband took care of that.

                        That said, the guacamole was good - had cucumber, which I'd not seen before, but I liked - as were the three hot sauces - none terribly hot, but we particularly liked the green one, and I liked the "brown" one which I thought had a bit of a smokey flavor - maybe from dried chiles? Very sweet service, and full of Mexican families with children having lunch. We kept seeing this dish that turned out to be called a shrimp cocktail go by - looked more like a large bowl of chilled tomato soup with shrimp and other ingredients - seemed to be enjoyed by all partaking. The bill for the guacamole for two, four tacos, a diet coke and a bottle of water was about $17 before tip.

                        Also enjoyed going to the market down the street - great prices on produce, which looked very good and interesting variety, and where I loaded up on dried chiles at a fraction of their prices in Manhattan, as well as chicken feet (soup) and Mexican chorizo (for the Lucques pork burgers - I've been having to make due with Italian sausage).

                        We also noticed a Peruvian restaurant around the corner - have already forgotten the name - but wonder if any one knows how it is.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I'm glad you got there, MM. The shrimp cocktail is delicious. I can't recall what its Mexican name is. The menu really deserves to be explored, and eating there with a group of friends would allow all to taste each others choices. Their milkshakes are very good, and I'll stop in for one to go. A mlkshake as a beverage with Mexican food doesn't appeal to me. In the winter, their soups hit the spot. I do love that place.

                          The Peruvian restaurant is called Cholos, and to my uneducated palate, quite good.

                          1. re: MMRuth

                            MMRuth - which place did you try? Little Mexican Cafe, Mexican Corner Restaurant or El Michoacano? I'm guessing the latter, since you had the grilled onions?

                            Michoacano has the best carnitas, but little mexican cafe has the best al pastor (but only if the spit is running).

                            man, it's been too long since I've been out to NR for mexican food. Shame on me?

                            1. re: adamclyde

                              The latter - El Michoacano. And the carnitas were good. You would fit right in w/ baby #4 and the rest in tow, based on our lunch yesterday!

            2. First, congrats. We brought #4 home last week (though mexican had nothing to do with it).

              If you want real, good mexican, don't go to Coyote Flaco. Port Chester has much more to offer. My fave in port chester has always been tortilleria los gemelos, on westchester ave. Great carnitas tacos. Healthy? not sure, but tasty? most certainly. Outside of tacos, if you go for lunch, get a torta. It's a big mexican sandwich. A crusty roll, spread with refried bean paste, slice of mexican cheese, avocado, sliced jalapenos, lettuce, and meat of choice.

              If you want pure spice, the chilaquiles there are quite spicy (particularly with the red salsa (salsa rojo). But for a good meal and serious spice, try camarones ala diablo. Shrimp in a fiery dense chipotle-based sauce. Very good (though I have to confess not having it at lose gemelos).

              If you want more ambiance (but not much more) head to little mexican cafe in New Rochelle. Or for a quaint, more charming, but still every bit as authentic place, try mexican corner restaurant in New Rochelle.

              Now for fresh/healthy. These places certainly have plenty of stuff that isn't completely laden in fat (though, that does eliminates carnitas, though, since it is pork shoulder cooked in lard). So you'll have to just figure out what sounds good and is likely to be rather healthy.

              In fact, real mexican, as opposed to americanized mex, is quite healthy and really relies on good, fresh ingredients. The american stuff is what you see always completely smothered in cheese and stuff like that.

              Just one caution, I very rarely order chicken of any kind (outside of soups), in mexican cooking since it is too often dry and over cooked. Maybe a collective heavy hand or just tradition, in tacos, or elsewhere, chicken is usually overcooked and dry in my experience.

              If you want places in fairfield county, avoid anything in greenwich. Fonda La Paloma, Boxcar, etc., are all terrible. Stamford has one or two relatively decent taquerias. But Ole Mole is a decent, but very fresh-like mexican place that caters to an american palate. It's my wife's favorite place around. Not mine, but it's a good compromise for us.

              4 Replies
              1. re: adamclyde

                Wow, thanks for all of the suggestions. I tried Taqueria Mariachi Loco (because I was stuck home and at the mercy of waiter on the run) and the result was heartburn and disappointment.

                I will have to try some other places. The baby won't come out!

                Also which is more spicy, red or green salsa?

                1. re: OrganicLife

                  It really depends, but I'd say that the salsa rojo (red) is generally more fiery. Good luck (with food and baby) and report back. BTW, if you are having your baby in Greenwich, the hospital food is much better than Stamford hospital. However, Stamford hospital has better overall accomodations. If you are in Stamford, your significant other can get some good food just outside of the hospital (there's a jamaican place (top of the hill) within a 2 minute walk, as well as others).

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    In Mexico, the green is almost always the hotter of the two and usually at the tacquerias there you get at least two different versions of the red. Here I too have found that it varies greatly from place to place. Yesterday at LMC they brought us salsa verde that was killer hot, impossible to handle without horchata and we didn't have any. Waitress never returned with red so our food was salsa-less.

                  2. re: OrganicLife

                    My first child was born the day after I feasted on Brazilan shrimp with tons of garlic. I always felt it was the garlic. Just another idea...

                2. See comment on recent experience at Little Mexican Corner

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/416119

                  1. It is so sad that Westchester has such a small selection of serious Mexican eateries. My favorite was a small place called Burrito Poblano in Tuckahoe. They suffered a fire 2 weeks ago and may have to close for good. When I visit a Mexican restaurant, the first test is the salsa. The second; I ask for some Jalapenos. If they bring me the preserved type you find in Taco Bell, chances are you're better off going to the Bell.

                    Mexican restaurants thrive on the fact that most Americans don't really "understand" Mexican cuisine. This is probably why most order their foods from BMF (Best Mexican Foods). Sort of like the equivalent to an American restaurant buying all its food from Sysco (the same company that delivers to jails and public schools), rather than going to the “market” and hand selecting the best possible produce. I see the BMF truck in front of Blue Moon Mexican (Bronxville) all the time. I had no idea so many foods can come out of cans!

                    I have about 10 items I'll check for with new restaurants and I'm 100% on point with regard to guessing what the food will be like.

                    Not to go astray here, everyone's got to try Rosa Mexicana in NYC just once to set a benchmark that no restaurant in Westchester has been able to match. Well, then again, maybe it's not such a great idea.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: billyparsons

                      I agree and disagree. When I first came from California 7 years ago the pickings weren't quite what they are now, and while they aren't on par with what you find out there, there are legitimately good options now. I should qualify... if you are using rosa mexicana as your benchmark, then true, you won't find any really good, high-end mexican places in westchester (with exception of maybe sunset grille that others have had mixed experience with lately). All those kinds of places that I've been to have been big disappointments out here.

                      But so much of the goodness from mexican food can be found in the taquerias, bodegas and eateries around, that Westchester actually has some very good options. Mine and others recommendations can be found in some of the places linked to above.

                      1. re: billyparsons

                        For those who were fans, Burrito Poblano has reopened.