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Terrific new Mexican in Westmont, NJ

There is a new Mexican place that just opened up on Haddon Avenue in Westmont. (Westmont is between Collingswood and Haddonfield.)

It's called La Guadalapana ( I think I spelled that right) and it's across the street from the little shopping strip that has the Radio Shack and the Dunkin Donuts.

It is a tiny little place with about 8 tables. They are open every day from 10 to 10. The woman behind the counter was MAKING THE TORTILLAS AS I ORDERED THEM.

It was fantastic. I got a bunch of things to go, as I had stopped in unexpectedly, but plan on going back to sit down. I brought home three meat tortillas- a pork which came with a nice salsa of mango, and two beef tacos- they both came with garnishes of radish and cucumber. One bean quesadilla and one calabaza blossom-that one was spicy and GOOD. I also had a glass of horchata, which is hard to find. He also has huitlacoche on the menu. They have a lot of options and he makes everything fresh. The owner told me he used to be on Federal Street in Camden but lost the lease and opened up here a week ago. In June he will have a tent at the Westmont train station every Friday.

For those of you who crave authentic Mexican ( and I'm not talking about Tortilla Press in Collingswood here) this is the place for you. Those tortillas are something else.

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  1. Good report! I've driven by there this past week and wanted to stop in to check it out. We could use some good Mexican in the area. So glad this is not yet another Italian restaurant...

    1. Nice review, all those details, hungry now!

      Did they have any mexican desserts?

      1. I'm trying to peg what region of mexico the cooking is from. The calabaza blossom and tacos sound like it's from mexico city, but the mango salsa is throwing me for a loop. What were some of the other menu items, if you recall? I'd love to find a place that has cemitas poblanas and tortas, which I have yet to find in NJ.

        1. Drove past the other day and we were intending to go this saturday. Glad to hear you liked it.

          Were the tacos mexican or texmess?

          Taco House on 70 hear "the point" also has authentic mexican food and that horchata that makes even Andrew Zimmern wretch.

          1. I did not ask the owner what region he's from- after he gave me a sample tortilla with some goodies on it, I was so excited that I think I started babbling and he probably thinks I'm some kind of nutso white lady. The menu was pretty extensive- I am pretty sure I saw tortas on it, Glutton, but I can't remember if there were cemitas poblanas. Also, I used the term "mango salsa", but it really was so subtle, more of an accent, I don't know if "salsa" is even the right word for it. It was just little chunks of onion and mango sprinkled through. Shabbystorm, he did make a point of showing me a huge iced cake with strawberries on top that was in his refrigerator - he was very proud of it and said he would be doing birthday cakes if people wanted them. There may have been sweet things on the menu that I didn't notice- I was more into dinner food at the time and didn't look for desserts. Also, I think he had some Mexican breakfast dishes, since he will be open at 10am.

            As far as I could tell, it was Mexican and not "tex-mex"- I have been to the Southwest several times and lived in Manhattan for a quite while (where there is good authentic Mexican if you know who to ask), so I think I'm pretty good at picking out the difference. But if someone goes and has more information than me, please post here.

            I really hope he can make a go of it. We really need a good Mexican in the area and I am afraid people will be put off by some of the stranger sounding items on the menu.

            1 Reply
            1. re: michelle71

              As promised we had lunch there today. At 1pm we were the only ones in there.

              The #1 thing to know - which you've probably already gathered - is that its mexican mexican. The diners who came in after us were probably unprepared: I heard orders for garden variety texmess things like nachos. One diner got a burrito and was surprised when they delivered something the size of my maine coon cat instead of an alpo filled tube ala taco hell.

              I had a quesadilla with huitlacoche - which some menus list as "corn fungus" but they list as "corn mushrooms" (perhaps more appealing to many - but how can you resist "fungus" if you're looking for the out of the ordinary?) It was a a thick slightly puffy homemade (yes they were making them while we were eating) tortilla filled with roasted corn kernels, the black fungus and cheese. I'd give it an A+.

              I also had 2 tacos al pastor. They are mexican tacos: no crispy shell, iceberg lettuce and tomatoes with dog food. They came on thinner smaller tortillas (perhaps 6in diameter). To pork was just right and the other toppings were fried onions, fresh chopped cilantro and fresh chopped pineapple. The plate had 2 lime wedges, radishes and cucumbers. Another A+.

              On weekends they have tamales. We ordered 3 different types but when she came to the table she brought just the mole tamales. (we wanted to try different ones). They were very good. Not leaden. I give them an A.

              My Dallas native wife got a combo platter since she loves chiles rellenos. The rellenos were perfect and the rice wasn't that dried out messkin rice you get in Tx but actually edible. There were also tostadas with refritos on the place along with a few hunks of queso fresco, fresh avocado and lettuce/tomato. She loved it.

              I asked for tap water 3 times - camden county punch is fine with me - but she gave us bottled water along with our mexican drinks (bottled boing). They also have mexican coke (sugar not corn syrup) but it wasn't until I was paying that I saw the aguas frescas. I got pineapple in a huge big gulp size cup to go (only $3). It was terrific.

              You'll see the huge buns for the semillas (like a sandwich) on the counter. I think I get one next time.

              Ambiance: hole in the wall. The site of a string of failed delis. Among the mexican decorations you'll see remnants like an incongruous "Hamburgers" sign. But you really come for the food right?

              suggestion: put a mexican food app on your iPhone or bring a dictionary. You won't recognize many of the names and unless you speak spanish you might not get an adequate description. Next time I'll try more unknown items "wonder what that's like?" and let you know. So yeah, we'll be back.

              ps
              cash only.
              no paper take out menu otherwise I'd post some names of the dishes.