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Mexican Food Heaven

Passadumkeg Jan 27, 2008 05:21 AM

Being the eternal optimist, I'd like to compile a short list of good-great Mexican food joints that we can take with us as we travel through New England. As we all know, there is great variety in Mexican food cuisine, but I'm looking for some places w/ some authentic dishes and fresh ingredients. Home made tortillas would be nice, but I've all ways been a dreamer. I admit to being a New Mexican food snob, but would love to find some So Cal style fish tacos or Tex Mex. My biggest hunt is for tacos asada, barbacoa, lingua and pastor. Give me some pozole, menudo, stacked enchiladas and soppapillas and I will be in Mexican Food Heaven! (But please, no beans in the chile.)
Muchas Gracias,
Marco el Chile Rojo

  1. t
    Tipatina Apr 6, 2009 07:06 AM

    I do like a post that goes on and on. Didn't wade through it all to see if anyone had mentioned El Camino Cantina in Brunswick.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tipatina
      Scargod Apr 6, 2009 03:32 PM

      No, they didn't but someone did today, as a matter of fact: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6098...
      With most browsers, you can search the page by using "ctl F". Be sure you click "expand all" if that is an option at the top of the thread, so that all comments are visible. Also don't forget the search function within boards. That's how I found the referenced post.

    2. LTGARCIA May 31, 2008 08:39 AM

      Honestly is there anything more entertaining than watching gringos argue about what constitutes "authentic" Mexican food? Or trying to out credential each other with who knows more Spanish or has lived more places blah, blah, blah. Who cares people? You are not going to find Mexicans that will agree on what is authentic never mind Yankees. Mexico is a very large and diverse country whose cuisine has blended the traditions of many cultures and been co-opted by others, most especially in the Southwest U.S. There is not such thing as truly authentic Mexican anymore, it all depends on where you go and that's true in Mexico as well. You're going to have a very different "authentic" Mexican meal in D.F. than you are in Veracruz or Zacatecas.

      So fine if you want to specify what you mean by "Mexican" - obviously in the U.S. and most especially in New England, people think that Mexican food = super cheesy Tex Mex. Why? Because that's all they've ever had under the moniker of "Mexican". Does that mean TexMex is less authentic than more traditional mainland Mexican cuisines? No, it doesn't. TexMex has a very long and esteemed tradition of evolving flavors and combinations and isn't some new bastardized invention. Like all cuisines, there are many varieties and some are good and some aren't so good. Some people have a clue what the original dishes were like and some have none but aren't afraid to try a bastardized version anyway. Usually the latter approach results in disaster of some sort, but not always. I'd rather see folks characterize as best they can the general sort of Mexican cuisine offered at an establishment and then whether the food is delicious and/or interesting or not. Trying to out authenticate each other is a bit pointless, especially in this area. Even the great Rick Bayless once claimed that no one in Mexico eats flour tortillas and sorry, but that just ain't true, especially anywhere Monterrey or north. So he's not infallible either.

      All that pontificating of my own aside, I will chime in my own opinion that La Veracruzana is mediocre at best. And it's one of the only Mexican restaurants in the general area actually owned by a Mexican. Martín is a nice guy, hailing from Poza Rica originally, but he's not committed to high quality cuisine. The most redeeming thing about his restaurants in my opinion is that they serve horchata. And even that is from a mix, but it's delicious all the same and you just can't get it anywhere else around here.

      Mi Tierra was originally owned by Mexicans, at least when it was in its original location in the front of the Hadley mini-mall it occupies, but is was only a grocery store then. Since it moved to the back and turned into more of a taqueria, I do find their food to be more like the taquerias in Mexico and southern Texas than Veracruzana for sure, so in that respect you could say it is more "authentic". However, I'm not sure if the original couple from D.F. (Mexico City) still owns it or if it changed hands since a number of people have referred to the owners as Central American, but I'm not sure if they are speaking from first hand knowledge or just repeating mis-information they've heard elsewhere. Their clientele is definitely more Central American than Mexican simply because there are far more Salvadorans than Mexicans in the area. They do sell real mocajetes there, which made me happy since I've never wanted to lug the things back from Texas or Mexico in my luggage. Given the slim pickings for Mexican style cuisine around here, I'd pick Mi Tierra over Veracruzana personally.

      That said, I would also caution people away from Mama Iguana's, a gringo owned joint in downtown Northampton, unless your only goal is good margaritas (which they do have with a dizzying array of tequila options). They have really awful molé and even misspell the spanish names of various dishes in numerous places on their menu (really dumb and inexcusable in my opinion - it's poblano not pablano you idiots!) The only palatable dishes I've had there are the enchiladas. The rest - forget it and have a liquid meal. Claudio (the owner) needs to stick to Italian or some other cuisine he has the slightest clue about - or at least do a lot better homework next time he ventures into new ethnic territories, in my opinion.

      2 Replies
      1. re: LTGARCIA
        fame da lupo May 31, 2008 12:33 PM

        I more or less agree with everything here. A reply:

        What's really interesting to me is when the reverse happens, and US tastes start to modify other cuisines. For instance, in DF I had a delicious taco called a "gringa," which was basically a taco al pastor with a flour tortilla in place of corn (delicious by the way, I enjoyed the pineapple more with the flour tortilla). Putting two and two together, I assume this represents gringo influence of food in Mexico, and not some historically typical way of doing a taco.

        Mi Tierra serves horchata, tasty enough.

        Re: Mama Iguana, I believe it's owned by the Spoleto guy, and if so let me assure you he does not know Italian food either.

        1. re: LTGARCIA
          Scargod Jun 1, 2008 06:00 AM

          Well, isn't this fun? "Mexican food" discusions really bring out the best in us, just like "Q" can and does. LT, you are like the pot calling the kettle black. I'm not sure how much is tongue-in-cheek but there is certainly some good stuff in the verbal meal you have presented. Didn't care much for the over-cheezy appetizer but I particularly liked the main entrees.
          We all deserve the right to "blah blah" about Mexican food; the food we love. Why would I/we be here writing long essays, just to have them deleted?
          We are looking for the holy grail of Mexican food and discussion and potificating is good, so we can start to see a picture of what a contributors tastes are all about. When "Eat Nopal" says something about Mexican food I listen. He's done a lot of pontificating and thumping of his chest; usually he is right-on by my standards. If someone makes a statemnet that XYZ is great, and it's their one and only post, then you don't know what to think, do you?
          If you're on Chowhound long enough you get a flavor, or taste, of what a contributor is all about. Some salt their comments with Spanish regularly, and out of habit (not to impress). Some use French...

          I should add that we ate at El Sarape in Hartford (it and its sister ship in Enfield, mentioned above) I did this revue: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52254...
          This is the nearest thing to "the real deal" I have had in New England, outside of Guadalupe la Poblanita, in New Haven. Wonderful food that will make you swoon!

        2. c
          cajuntoast Feb 11, 2008 12:27 PM

          I love El Rancho Grande on Plainfield St. in Providence. Definitely fits the bill for authentic/fresh. The owner even renders her own lard! Although, it's mostly food from the Puebla and Oaxaca regions so I don't think they have most of the dishes you mentioned.

          http://www.elranchogranderestaurant.com

          I'm going there for their Valentine's dinner...yum.

          7 Replies
          1. re: cajuntoast
            g
            gromitrose Apr 3, 2008 02:50 PM

            The Border Cafe in Cambridge and Acapulco's in Framigham, Sudbury or Newton. Good stuff.

            1. re: gromitrose
              applehome Apr 6, 2008 11:12 PM

              Acapulco's chain - muy muy gringofied... mixed combo fajitas, quessadillas... Don't move to Tejas if you think this is Tex/Mex or Mexican food - you'll be sorely disappointed. Nice salt-rimmed glasses for the margarita mix in the slush machines, though! Lots of gringo clientele.

              PDK, if you drive down I-95 (Rt 128), get off at Waltham and find Taqueria Mexico on Charles St. Menudo, birria, very tasty tacos lengua, and NO Frozen Margaritas. Cheap - nothing fancy. Lots of Mexican clientele.

              1. re: applehome
                Passadumkeg Apr 7, 2008 05:27 AM

                Thanks, our kinda place. Waltham off I 95.

                1. re: applehome
                  s
                  steve999 Apr 7, 2008 07:31 AM

                  Unless they rec'd a full liquor license recently, there's no tequila period at Taqueria Mexico. Just sangria and n/a beverages.

                  Other posts on this board recommend Taqueria el Amigo on Willow Street, Waltham. I haven't tried it yet.

                  1. re: steve999
                    applehome Apr 7, 2008 10:10 AM

                    They do have a good selection of Mexican beers. Also famous for their mexican milk shakes.

                  2. re: applehome
                    Scargod Apr 7, 2008 08:03 AM

                    Is the Taqueria Mexico in Wallingford related? This is supposed to be a small place. Looks to be about a mile off I-91

                    1. re: Scargod
                      applehome Apr 7, 2008 10:12 AM

                      I don't believe so. It's a popular name. They have opened up a second place, but it's in Brookline.

              2. m
                mollydingle Feb 9, 2008 10:11 AM

                Hi, Passadumkeag! I think you opened a real can of worms with this topic. I just want to mention to everyone that while Down East Maine is currently sparse pickin's for spicy food, it was not always so. 150 years ago, captain's wives had access to spices and were proud to use them as symbols of wealth and sophistication. Oscar Wilde on his American lectured in Gouldsboro. I know I'm a bit off topic, but it really bugs me how condescending some folks are about Maine.

                1 Reply
                1. re: mollydingle
                  Passadumkeg Feb 9, 2008 11:30 AM

                  Nah, I'm meeting my goals, culling a fine list of " go to's" while on the road. Everyone's voice is heard. It's what personal growth is all about. I feel very fortunate that after a very adventurous life that I've settled and put our kids through high school, in an area that has great natural beauty and, due to the great influx of summer tourism, allows a very good year round cultural life. There are many fine restaurants in the area that struggle through the winter but are kept afloat by the summer tourism. The same is true with the cultural life. Great music offerings year around.
                  As my wife is a Longfellow(married to the grandson of Russian immigrants!), I am very curious about Oscar Wilde's visit to Gouldsboro. Where can I find out more?
                  Thanks,
                  Mark

                2. s
                  surrys Feb 6, 2008 12:17 PM

                  Guadalupe la Poblanita on Chapel Street in Fair Haven (just east of Blatchley) has great mole. Hit up Tacqueria Mexicana #2 on Route 1 just past UNH (small strip mall on the left as you head out of town) for some terrific tacos al pastor (but avoid the entree-type dishes). Both places have pozole on the menu, but I haven't tried it.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: surrys
                    Scargod Mar 9, 2008 03:48 PM

                    I've had the pozole several times at G la P. It was very good!

                  2. d
                    Do Kwan Feb 6, 2008 10:29 AM

                    My Mexican Food Heaven sadly closed many years ago.

                    La Fogata in Pawtucket, RI.

                    The placed spoiled me.
                    I don't know how many times I've thought, "This was good, but it was no La Fogata".

                    ::sigh::

                    1. p
                      Pegmeister Feb 6, 2008 08:22 AM

                      Definitely need to put Angelas Cafe on your list. Just a small place located in East Boston. No beer or wine license, but when you taste the mole sauce you won't care! Do a search on the Boston board and you'll be amazed at the number of positive posts.

                      1. Passadumkeg Feb 5, 2008 04:35 AM

                        Thanks for all the great replies. Let me make clear, I live in down east Maine, but travel a lot in and through New England. I do really want to print out this list and keep a copy in the glove box of the "cah". n My mom is in NJ, so the Conn. tips mean delish stops along the way. Johnny, Michoacana sounds great. Starving in NH, we can get a very good bowl of menudo and barbacoa here in Hancock, Me (A short detour on the way to Acadia Nat'l Park). And Brattie, thanks for the tip on Veracruzana, we have a son at Hampshire College. Any good Mex in Spring field area. Try the green chile enchilada (mild) and the menudo only at Authentica in S. Hadley for a taste of New Mex.
                        Thanks again and keep 'em commin'.

                        10 Replies
                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                          j
                          jlny Feb 5, 2008 05:40 AM

                          Hey Passadumkeg. What's the place in Hancock? Where exactly? I spend time in the area and could really use an alternate to the mediocre Mex in Ellsworth.
                          Johnny in Boston

                          1. re: jlny
                            Passadumkeg Feb 6, 2008 05:19 AM

                            The Mex isn't mediocre, it's just expensive, bad. To get to The Mexican Restaruant, in Hancock, just continue on Rt 1 N. for about 5-6 mi. and going down a big hill, it it near the bottom on your left. It is part of a huge log cabin building that houses motorcycle sales. If you get to Hancock center, you've gone too far. The menudo, Mex tamales, and the taco plate w/ either carne asada or barbcoa are our faves.(5 tacos for around 4 bucks). Alittle further down the road is Ruth& Whimpies W/ cheapest lobster around, and Tidal Falls Lobster Restaurant w/ the prettiest view, byob & owned by a local nature conservancy. Next week we visit our daughter in Austin. Look out taquarias, here we come!

                            1. re: Passadumkeg
                              m
                              mmmpointy Feb 6, 2008 07:41 PM

                              Passadumkeg, it is my understanding that The Mexican Restaurant in Hancock is owned by "authentic" Mexicans who have come north with their countrymen for the blueberry harvest in Washington County and other seasonal work. Do you know if this is true?

                              I was stunned a few years back while visiting my mother-in-law in Columbia to find a place in Harrington called "The Mexican Store" stocking all sorts of Mexican food products. It was run by -- and largely for the benefit of -- the immigrant blueberry workers. Few locals would have anything to do with the place. Their loss.

                              We went in one day and bought a dozen homemade tamales that were just great.

                              1. re: mmmpointy
                                Passadumkeg Feb 7, 2008 03:48 AM

                                Sort of. The Mexican Restaurant is run by authentic Guatamalans. The Mexican Store & Restaurant in Harrington is gone(replaced by a greasy spoon.) and relocated in Hancock. The female owner is in jail for smuggling aliens and the hubbie is on the lamb. After being shut for a couple of months, it is open again and run by the mother. Food is still good. We agree about the tamales!
                                Have you ever been to the Reversing Falls lobster pound in Hancock. Beautiful spot, byob and owned by The Frenchman's Bay nNature Conservancy. We have a camp on Tunk Lake, wher do you go for lobbers around Colunbia?

                                1. re: Passadumkeg
                                  m
                                  mmmpointy Feb 7, 2008 09:30 PM

                                  The short answer is we don't go out for lobsters that much. Poor old mum-in-law in is her 80s and living in an assisted living center in Cherryfield now. Most visits center on taking her to doctors' appointments in Machias or shopping in Ellsworth. She likes to have fish and chips when we're out so it's usually Helen's. Pretty good lobster stew there.

                                  There's a little summer shack on Route 1 in Milbridge called Joshy's Place, right where the road bends going into town. Pretty good fried seafood there.

                                  The best lobster I've ever had came from a friend of Mum's whose husband is a lobsterman. Gave us a dozen fresh out of the ocean. So sweet.

                                  We'll have to try the lobster pound in Hancock. We tend to stick to Route 1 these days as the Black Woods Road seems really chewed up lately.

                                  1. re: mmmpointy
                                    Passadumkeg Feb 8, 2008 04:00 AM

                                    The Black Wood's Rd has been repaved! We make regular pilgramiges to Joshy's Pllace, grab some of the cheapest lobster and crab rolls, around and go Mc Clellan's park w/ a six pack . "The Way Life Should Be". If in Ellsworth gice The Union River Lobster Pot a try. Right by the bridge, on the river. give it a google.

                              2. re: Passadumkeg
                                j
                                jlny Feb 20, 2008 09:17 AM

                                Yeah, the Mex actually sucks!
                                I just tend to be understated about such things ;-)
                                I know just where that log cabin is- passed it many times on the way to Schoodic! We'll hit it next time we're in the area. Thanks for the tip!

                            2. re: Passadumkeg
                              s
                              sophie fox Feb 8, 2008 05:12 PM

                              Passadumkeag, have you heard about XYZ in SW Harbor? I haven't gotten there yet, but I hear great things about it.
                              I join in the enthusisatic shout-out for Joshy's in Milbridge - we spend summers in Prospect Harbor and frequently dinner is 2-3 crabmeat rolls at Joshy's! Extremely reasonable and delicious!
                              There's a Mexican restaurant in Gt Barrington on Rt 7 - can't remember the name right now - really good margaritas, and I like the mole. I was there last summer and some (drunken) idiot at the next table was complaining loudly about the mole "it's not hot! I can't taste any chocolate!"
                              The hostess was very upset, as the man was really obnoxious. I stopped and spoke to her on the way out "you should know that he was complaining that the mole wasn't hot" - she said "it's not supposed to be hot" I said "I know" and "he said that he couldn't taste the chocolate in the mole" she said "you're not supposed to" I said "I know" Sigh.
                              I really like your thread - thanks for a swell idea!

                              1. re: sophie fox
                                fame da lupo Feb 8, 2008 05:22 PM

                                XYZ is incredibly overrated. My girlfriend and I both left unsatisfied and much lighter in the wallet.

                                1. re: fame da lupo
                                  s
                                  sophie fox Feb 8, 2008 05:41 PM

                                  Gee, that's really too bad. I've heard from many people who love it.

                            3. BratleFoodie Feb 4, 2008 08:31 PM

                              La Veracruzana in Northampton, MA is fab!

                              Order at the bar, they have beer, delicious dipping sauces, daily specials. Very good, and right downtown, so you can shop like crazy after. Really, a lovely place. NOT the other downtown Mexican place, by the way...

                              Have a wonderful trip!

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: BratleFoodie
                                fame da lupo Feb 5, 2008 05:37 AM

                                I'll add my disagreement here. Veracruzana is no sabor, and $$$.

                                1. re: fame da lupo
                                  h
                                  homesick for food Feb 5, 2008 07:09 AM

                                  I 2nd your opinion; this food is about as far from Mexican as it gets. Bland, boring, like all of the other pseudo-ethnic spots in the area.

                                  1. re: homesick for food
                                    m
                                    mryummyface Mar 31, 2008 04:46 PM

                                    Anyone who calls Veracruzana sudo-ethnic probably hasn't had the real thing. Aside from offering totopos to satisfy the gringos, Veracruzan is about as authentic as it gets. Not all Mexican foods are boiling hot, most are adjusted to taste with salsas.

                                    However, if you are looking for something spicy and authentic. Try Mi Tierra in Hadley. What was once a tiny Mexican market, has moved behind the strip mall that houses College Pro Computers and Gregory's Pastry Shop (great cinnamon rolls) and turned into a restaurant. This place is the real deal. Don't expect to find much for vegetarians. It's out of the way, and great place to impress someone who's seen it all in Northampton.

                                    1. re: mryummyface
                                      h
                                      homesick for food Apr 1, 2008 12:01 PM

                                      Actually, I lived in Southern CA for years, speak Spanish fluently, and have travelled throughout Mexico & Latinoamerica. Ergo, I feel very comfortable talking about Mex food. I stand by my depiction of Veracruzana, and would also add that Mi Tierra is not authentic Mexican, but instead a Central American interpretaion of Mexican food (I believe the owners are Salvadorenses). Instead, I refer local hounds to Sarapes in Enfield, CT, which is the real thing. Happy Chowing!

                                      1. re: mryummyface
                                        fame da lupo Apr 6, 2008 10:12 PM

                                        You shouldn't have to rescue your meal with the salsa bar.

                                    2. re: fame da lupo
                                      h
                                      hollerhither Feb 5, 2008 04:49 PM

                                      I've disagreed with you before on this, and I'll state again for the record. Veracruzana is perfectly fine. I like the guac, and it is definitely the best in Northampton -- Bueno y Sano and Mama Iguanas certainly are not worth a visit. And I don't know what $$$ implies, but certainly two people can get out of there for less than $30 with drinks. "Authentic" Mexican? Not much around, true. But Veracruzana is perfectly fine for a burrito and a beer.

                                      1. re: hollerhither
                                        cowgirlinthesand Feb 5, 2008 05:36 PM

                                        I enthusiastically agree with the positive votes for Veracruzana. It's great quality food, terrific prices, the chile rellenos are authentic, wonderful, delicious and scrumptious, the guacamole is light and fresh, the chips are hot and salty, and the chipotle salsa is smoky, complex and utterly sinful.
                                        I go there from the Berkshires just to get a fix of something authentic and delicious on a regular basis! (Unless I go to Albany...)
                                        Rock on!

                                        1. re: cowgirlinthesand
                                          fame da lupo Feb 7, 2008 07:49 AM

                                          The food is bland. The meat tastes like it was stewed, they don't put cilantro in anything unless you ask for it, the tortillas are served plain without being toasted or fried in the skillet, etc. There are "sauces" with flavor but you shouldn't have to rescue a burrito by drenching it sauce. It's like steak. If steak is good, you don't have to put sauce on it. If you have to put steak sauce on the steak, you are dressing up bad food. That's what eating at Veracruzana is like. A boring steak that needs to be dressed up. Sauces should compliment the other tasty ingredients, not be the only thing of flavor on your dish.

                                          There taco selection is: chicken, shredded beef, cactus, chorizo, veggie. Having nopal and chorizo available is nice. But where is the carne asada, pastor, carnitas, birria, lengua, tripa, etc? Where is the adobo, barbacoa?

                                          A place having good guacamole doesn't impress me. Making good guacamole is one of the simplest things you can do in a kitchen. Open avocado, remove avocado, add salt, lime, cilantro. Mash. Done. Getting guacamole right does not deserve you accolades.

                                          And you're paying $8 to $10 for counter service and that bland food. The prices should be halved for what you get. Two people for $30? At a Mexican place? No offense, but this is simple food and it deserves prices reflecting that. See Mexican restaurants in New York, Boston, or better yet, out west and you'll know what I mean.

                                          There is no reason that simply being located in New England means your food has to be priced higher than restaurants doing the exact same thing in California.

                                          1. re: fame da lupo
                                            happybellynh Feb 7, 2008 08:04 AM

                                            fame de lupo- The cilantro thing could be regional. My mom grew up in San Diego eating at the taquerias etc. run by the huge Mexican popoulation there. She's appalled at the increasing use of cilantro in Mexican dishes, and any place that puts it in the salsa never sees another dollar of hers... I don't have a dog in this fight, but I'm not sure that liberal use of cilantro is a ticket to authenticity.

                                            1. re: happybellynh
                                              fame da lupo Feb 7, 2008 09:31 AM

                                              I don't make claims to authenticity, which is probably the most overused word in food. I do make claims about taste. Cilantro adds flavor, lettuce does not. Thus I'd prefer it if places like Veracruzana stopped using lettuce (usually iceberg) and added something more flavorful, like cilantro.

                                              1. re: happybellynh
                                                g
                                                GabachaYucateca Apr 1, 2008 05:27 PM

                                                Cilantro is used in several dishes indigenous to Yucatan, but certainly not all. I couldn't imagine eating ceviche, frijol con puerco, or choko lomo without it.

                                                You're not going t find any good comida casera around here unless you go, well, to someone's house.

                                                But I generally use my husband as my Mexican food litmus test...he's only been in America for eight months and never had tasted any other food besides Mexican until we met eight years ago.

                                                And La Veracruzana rocked his world.

                                                He is also a bit confused about why Americans go ape-$hit for "authentic," and can't understand why people bandy it about so. How exactly do you define "authentic" Mexican food?

                                              2. re: fame da lupo
                                                passing thru Feb 8, 2008 02:32 AM

                                                so fame da lupo, now we certainly know what you don't like. have any positive suggestions?

                                                1. re: passing thru
                                                  fame da lupo Feb 8, 2008 02:46 PM

                                                  I like Mi Tierra in Hadley. It is missing many things I consider standard Mexican fare (perhaps due to being owned by Guatemalans, perhaps not), but does deliver properly flavored food at reasonable prices. It isn't "authentic" Mexican, but tastes vastly better than anything else in the five college area.

                                                  My dream is a tasty Mexican joint in Western Mass that serves the full range of Mexican food and doesn't tone it down to the New England palate. Probably won't happen, but a guy can dream. In the meantime, I'll continue staining my Rick Bayless cookbook.

                                      2. Passadumkeg Feb 4, 2008 01:11 PM

                                        Hey, I just heard Loco Coco's in Kittery, Me is worth adding to the list. thanks, guys.
                                        Moca Locos

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Passadumkeg
                                          s
                                          sarahelan Feb 9, 2008 10:39 AM

                                          I will second loco coco's- delish!

                                        2. l
                                          lexpatti Jan 31, 2008 06:05 AM

                                          I love great mexican as well. Chowhounders pointed me to a great one in Lawrence Ma. - Cafe Azteca (the owners are from mexico). Lots of great reviews on line and they have received several awards. I also love Hermano's in Concord, NH - they have this wonderful garlic lemon sauce that I can't find anywhere. They also have two types of homemade salsa, very fresh. No mole though. :-( Their tortilla chips are homemade and delish!
                                          http://www.hermanosmexican.com/index....

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: lexpatti
                                            starvinginNH Feb 4, 2008 04:37 PM

                                            If you're in Manchester NH area, I'd highly recommend Consuelo's Taqueria for great tacos and burritos cooked on the grill in front of you. They have all the meats - carne asada, chile verde, carnitas, pork al pastor, chorizo, beef alambre with bacon, onion, pepper. Awesome hot sauces. Good drinks too -beer, Mexican sodas and even fresh horchata and agua de jamaica which I'm hooked on.
                                            consuelostaqueria.com

                                            For a great dive I'd recommend El Mexicano Jr
                                            197 Wilson St Manchester, NH (603) 665-9299
                                            It's authentic in flavor and ingredients and great atmosphere - bar/pool in the back room and counter with booths in front. Everything I've ever eaten there is good.

                                            I just can't agree on Hermanos, even though we've eaten there plenty since our friends always want to go there because they think it's "authentic." It's not, it's just upscale. So quality is good, but if you're from NM you will think the food does not have much sabor. (We lived in Texas several years and have eaten all over NM and AZ. I make my own green chile cheeseburgers here!) So based on your request, passadumkeg, as a NM food snob, please ignore any recommendations for Hermanos, or even La Carreta in Manchester/Nashua, or god forbid Shorty's chain. Sorry to people who like those places, but from your original post I kinda understand what you want.
                                            I doubt you will find any barbacoa or menudo or Baja fish tacos in VT/NH/ME, and if you do please tell me!

                                            1. re: starvinginNH
                                              l
                                              lexpatti Feb 5, 2008 12:53 PM

                                              Love consuelo's as well and really love El Mexicano Jr. I know that Hermano's in Concord isn't authentic but I still really love them - they do up some very nice fresh dishes (and that sauce that no one makes)!!

                                              1. re: starvinginNH
                                                happybellynh Feb 7, 2008 07:58 AM

                                                I have to agree that Hermano's doesn't really make the cut for me. I do frequently have a margarita and listen to the jazz in their lounge (over nachos, which are great), but frankly, I could give a rat's whether it's "authentic" or not... as long as it's tasty, fresh, and locally owned. In my experience, it doesn't always live up to the 'tasty' requirement (ie- like their frijole dip- hard, cold black beans with lots of cumin and apparently nothing else.. egh.)

                                            2. redfox697 Jan 31, 2008 05:49 AM

                                              Personally, I'm a big fan of Acapulco's in Stratford, CT. They have the best Chile Rellenos I've had anywhere. Their Arroz con Pollo is great as well.

                                              1. Morganna Jan 31, 2008 05:10 AM

                                                There is good food to be had at Roque's in Burlington, VT. I haven't had anything there I didn't like, though I haven't been there in a while. Friends who have been more recently report that it's still good.

                                                There's a Mexican place in downtown Barre, VT called El Sol that isn't bad. It's not great and of course not up to the standard of someone coming from SoCal, but for Central Vermont, it's good. It's owned by a woman who is, I believe, Mexican, or possibly somewhere in Central America. I never asked specifically. I have enjoyed the meals I've had there, though sometimes the meat is a bit on the salty side for me.

                                                1. JohnnyCT Jan 30, 2008 12:19 PM

                                                  In Connecticut:

                                                  Plenty of authentic Mexican places in Bridgeport. My favorite is Taqueria La Michoacana 1914 Main Street.

                                                  www.chowhound.com/topics/403597

                                                  I like Mi Pueblito in Waterbury.
                                                  www.chowhound.com/topics/347357

                                                  Do a search for posts by adamclyde for some good info about places in Norwalk, Stamford, and Westchester.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: JohnnyCT
                                                    d
                                                    drepp Feb 4, 2008 03:47 PM

                                                    had great tacos al pastor at la michoacana today. they have the spit to roast the pork with pineapple just like in mexico, fantastic!

                                                    1. re: drepp
                                                      d
                                                      drepp Feb 5, 2008 08:08 PM

                                                      forgot about mi rancho 2754 fairfield ave bridgport c.t. for great tamales. every thanksgiving i have a big party at my house for my gringo and latino friends and the biggest hit more than the the turkey are the tamales, $1 each i buy 80 and they are gone by the end of the night! so for tacos La Michoacana , for real tamales Mi Rancho

                                                  2. EastRocker Jan 29, 2008 01:25 PM

                                                    Mezcal on Mechanic St. in New Haven is the most authentic mexican I have had in CT.
                                                    If you aren't afraid of neighborhoods that are a little rough around the edges, the Fair Haven section of New Haven has a bunch of great hole in the wall taquieras.

                                                    there is also an amazing taco place on white street in danbury.

                                                    1. b
                                                      bear67r Jan 29, 2008 04:53 AM

                                                      There's a hole-in-the-wall spot on Route 5 in Enfield (right off I-91) called Sarapes that is very good - some of the best Mexican I've had in New England. It's real Mexican (probably Oaxacan), not Tex-Mex. They've got all your tacos on their regular menu, and menudo is a frequent special. The enchiladas colorado are my personal favorite.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: bear67r
                                                        h
                                                        hollerhither Jan 29, 2008 06:44 AM

                                                        Yes, thank you for mentioning Sarapes, I was there for lunch a couple of years ago and for the life of me could not remember its name! Great enchiladas colorado.

                                                      2. d
                                                        discostu41 Jan 28, 2008 07:34 PM

                                                        Not that easy to find authentic non-Americanized Mexican food in CT. Puerto Vallarta isn't it. Seems like every place I try looking for an authentic place has an entire menu drenched in cheese. Mexicans can't possibly eat that much cheese. Su Casa was disappointing the first and last time eating there.

                                                        Mentioned in the Mexican Food Hell thread are two taquerias in Wallingford and West Haven. I've only been to the W. Haven one (called Taqueria #2, I think), but this place is the real deal. The menu is entirely in Spanish, and they have an amazing selection of tacos. Mezcal in New Haven had pretty good chorizo and eggs. Guadelupe la Poblanita was good, but it was gone the last time I tried to go there, presumably for good.

                                                        That El Sarape sounds good, and there are supposedly some good ones in Fairfield and Bridgeport that I should probably try.

                                                        9 Replies
                                                        1. re: discostu41
                                                          j
                                                          Jestner Feb 4, 2008 03:59 PM

                                                          I agree with your assessment on Puerto Vallarta, etc. Those places cater to the Americanized-TexMex crowd, much like Chilli's.

                                                          Guadalupe la Poblanita is at 136 Chapel St. As you head east, on the left hand side. There is a parking lot in back. I was just there in late-November.

                                                          1. re: Jestner
                                                            j
                                                            Jestner Feb 4, 2008 07:34 PM

                                                            Actually - as you head east (heading away from downtown NH), its on the right hand side...sorry for the typo.

                                                            1. re: Jestner
                                                              fame da lupo Feb 5, 2008 05:36 AM

                                                              The problem w/ a thread like this is that you have people who don't know better highly recommending places that turn out to be bastardized versions of Mexican.

                                                              1. re: fame da lupo
                                                                Passadumkeg Feb 5, 2008 05:45 AM

                                                                Yes, but at least, there is a list of recommendations to suss out as we travel through a foreign land. Walk in the door and trust the senses, man trust you Chowhound inner being . Once if feel that a place is upscale or run by giringos, I flee.

                                                                1. re: fame da lupo
                                                                  Morganna Feb 5, 2008 08:18 AM

                                                                  The OP did not request only a list of authentic and perfect Mexican restaurants run by only "real" Mexicans. The request was for good Mexican food of a wide variety of types. Seeing as the OP has a fondness for New Mexico dishes, that would seem to imply that a good Tex-Mex place would suit. So what is being listed are good Mexican, or Mexican inspired places that one can find in New England, a place that is not generally riddled with a lot of such options.

                                                                  I don't know about you, but I would rather have the chance to get some good Tex-Mex locally than nothing Mexican at all, seeing as taking trips south regularly simply aren't part of my budget. :)

                                                                  1. re: Morganna
                                                                    fame da lupo Feb 5, 2008 04:45 PM

                                                                    New Mexican and Tex-Mex are two different breeds.

                                                                    1. re: fame da lupo
                                                                      Morganna Feb 6, 2008 05:31 AM

                                                                      Yes, I know that. That wasn't the point. The point was that New Mexican isn't "Authentic Mexican" either (at least according to the standards I've seen bandied about in various other threads here), and since -that- style was tolerable, then it is not unreasonable to conclude that good Tex-Mex would also be tolerable to the OP, or *gasp* even some of the other people who might actually use this thread as a reference and who -aren't- from New Mexico or California where authentic Mexican is widely available and who might just be looking for something that's a good value and good experience.

                                                                      No, you're not going to find perfect authentic Mexican food in New England. You'll find things that are close to authentic and good, you'll find things that are Mexican-inspired and good. You can even find some really outstanding Mexican-inspired stuff. When the alternative is -none- (since authentic Mexican recipes made by gringos don't count so I can't even make my own, apparently), good Tex-Mex is an adequate substitute, and therefore this particular thread holds value. Despite the fact that there is no perfectly authentic Mexican food to be found in New England (according to the standards of the people who make this claim, I don't claim to be enough of an authority to say that for certain myself).

                                                                      1. re: Morganna
                                                                        Scargod Apr 7, 2008 07:25 AM

                                                                        Amen, Morganna. Mr. Marco Red Chile, AKA PDK, asked for Mexican/Southern California/Tex-Mex places that had some of the "authentic dishes" found in this style of food. I'd say that covers about five US states' food. He said nothing about "authentic Mexican only".
                                                                        Man, I'd love to have a lingua taco with onion, cilantro and lime!

                                                                        1. re: Scargod
                                                                          Passadumkeg Apr 7, 2008 01:03 PM

                                                                          Ooh, ooh, me too! Al pastor, carne asado.crispy tripas, barbecoa, tacos, yum. Stuffed soppapillas, a bowl of red chile, con frijoles y carne tambien. Rico! Suave! Delisioso!

                                                          2. rdesmond Jan 28, 2008 10:49 AM

                                                            I have been to the restaurants mentioned earlier, and none are near as good as El Sarape in Hartford (931 Broad St). We are talking house-made real moles, pozole, all sorts of tacos (barbacoa, lengua, etc.) cabrito and birria-it's just like Mexico.

                                                            1. passing thru Jan 28, 2008 08:36 AM

                                                              la casa del pueblo on broad st in central falls, ri. good barbacoa tacos and menudo. they serve tacos arabes as well.

                                                              1. r
                                                                Redstone Jan 27, 2008 09:18 AM

                                                                Puerto Vallarta. They have several locations in Connecticut. It's a small, family-run chain and the food is just phenomenal. The pricing is about the same as any decent Mexican place.

                                                                Another good hit is Su Casa in Branford. do try their appetizer sampler platge if you go there.

                                                                And, despite the Connecticut Magazoine award for "Best Mexican food in the state," you probably won't find what you're looking for ar the The Cuckoo's Nest in Old Saybrook. The people who own it and many of the employees are friends of ours - and the food is OK, really, but it's not the best Mexican in the state.

                                                                There are supposed to be some terrific Mexian places in New Haven; go to www.newhavenadvocate.com and see their recommendations.

                                                                Redstone

                                                                5 Replies
                                                                1. re: Redstone
                                                                  Passadumkeg Jan 27, 2008 10:18 AM

                                                                  In what towns are Puerto Vallarta Restaurants?

                                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg
                                                                    r
                                                                    Redstone Jan 27, 2008 12:13 PM

                                                                    You can find their locations and menu here:
                                                                    http://www.puertovallartausa.com

                                                                    Oddly enough, they also have some locations in California. I recommend the Chili Verde Burrito.

                                                                    Redstone

                                                                  2. re: Redstone
                                                                    r
                                                                    ratbuddy Apr 3, 2008 04:41 PM

                                                                    Puerto Vallarta is garbage. It's pure gringo chow, and not even well executed.

                                                                    There are a few places in Hartford worth checking out, Coyote Flaco is decent, as well as Monte Alban - here's the menu http://www.menupix.com/hartford/resta...

                                                                    Don't know if that's authentic enough for you, I like it though.

                                                                    One other place to check out if it's still open, El Mariachi Loco on Main Street in Manchester, CT. It's about halfway from 384 to Cavey's on the right. They have all that 'gross' authentic mexican stuff but judging by their execution of the less adventurous stuff I like, they will do you right.

                                                                    1. re: ratbuddy
                                                                      m
                                                                      methodishca Apr 6, 2009 06:54 AM

                                                                      El Mariachi Loco is still there and it's still amazing. Along with Abyssinian (Ethiopian restaurant) in Hartford, it's my favorite restaurant in Central Connecticut. We're very lucky to have them here!

                                                                    2. re: Redstone
                                                                      Scargod Apr 3, 2008 06:02 PM

                                                                      What New Haven Advocate recommendations are you speaking of? Reader's Poll? Chuckle... snicker....
                                                                      I mean do you think Aunt Chiladas is decent food and that New Haven has some "terrific" places? Then I think you are way off the mark. New Haven has a couple of passable places, like El Amigo Felix and I really like Guadalupe la Poblanita, but the rest are pretty pathetic, and I'm a gringo.

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