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Red Bank Mexican Food Crawl?

I am just throwing out an idea here.

Lately there seems to be more and more chow worthy Mexican joints in Red Bank. Is there any interest in walking through town one day and seeing what's what?

I don't want to organize or plan, but I would participate.

So, let's start by making a list of the places that might be worth a visit:

North of The Border

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  1. I would consider limiting the crawl to tacos while expanding it to include Long Branch and Asbury Park. The number of authentic Mexican places in those cities is comparable if not greater than Red Bank.

    The main factor here, of course is finding someone to pick up the reigns and do this thing...

    4 Replies
    1. re: equal_Mark

      if only tacos as =marc posted include bradley beach cafe also and in lakewood madgrigal taqeria & the citco gas station on rt 33. if it happens and the date is right I'm there.

      1. re: Tapas52

        Where are the taquerias on rt 33 or Asbury? I'm headed that way today.

        1. re: lukshen

          On Main St near Asbury Ave., but personally I don't think they are as good as other places. I'd eat at Porta or At The Table if in Asbury today.

          1. re: seal

            Citgo mart gas station on rt 33 across from
            Lucentos restaurant.

            519 New Jersey rt33 Millstone, NJ
            (732) 446-2138

    2. I personally think if we're gonna do a Mexican crawl it should be in Long Branch...far more authentic Mexican joints than Red Bank...maybe we can do both :D

      27 Replies
      1. re: joonjoon

        Maybe we should do a NCAA bracket style contest and put four locations against each other. Within each location a winner can be chosen until we find the champion of Monmouth County. The regions could be Long Branch, Asbury Park, Red Bank, Matawan/Keyport for instance.

        I would limit it to one region per day to avoid traveling headaches.

        Would a Saturday afternoon work best for most hounders?

        I would add International Mexican Grocery to the Red Bank crawl. I'm dying to try out their al pastor tacos.

        1. re: LifeGeek

          This sounds fantastic and I am in!!!

          I think Freehold also has a decent # of Mexican joints.

          1. re: joonjoon

            Maybe we can replace Matawan/Keyport with Freehold. I was just throwing some places out there to kick things off. We could also make the fourth bucket an "everwhere else bucket." Someone mentioned the spot in a citgo station for example. It sounds as if Long Branch, Asbury Park, and Red Bank have enough spots to hold their own bracket.

            If we want to get started next Saturday at noon, I could make it out. I'm in and out of town for the next month so hopefully I can make most if not all of the events.

            So maybe we should choose either Red Bank or Long Branch for the first event? I guess we could do both, but don't want to overdo it and be sick by the end of the trip. It could negatively bias the places toward the end of the crawl if we all get too full.

            I guess we will stick to tacos on this round, but I am already getting excited for the follow-up torta/cemita crawl.

            1. re: LifeGeek

              I won't be available this Saturday, but any other Weekend after that is fine.

              1. re: equal_Mark

                I can't make it this Saturday either.

                How does next Saturday, November 16th sound to everyone?

                Kick it off in Red Bank? We could meet at NOTB and take it from there.

                  1. re: LifeGeek

                    I was kind of hoping for a walkaround so that's why I just suggested Red Bank. Maybe we can do different areas on different days?

                    1. re: seal

                      I say we start with Red Bank next Saturday at noon. I think joonjoon and =Mark are in. Can you make that date? Anyone else out there game?

                      1. re: LifeGeek

                        I work most weekends....besides traffic, parking on a Saturday is nuts out there..

                        1. re: Tapas52

                          I think that is why it makes sense to meet at NOTB. There's usually plenty of parking at the train station across the street on weekends. I'm assuming they won't tow you from there?

                      2. re: seal

                        Most of the Long Branch tacos places are clustered around one area on Broadway...we can do a walkaround there!

                        1. re: joonjoon

                          We could end the crawl with a few craft cervezas at Jack's Goal Line Stand too if we do it in Long Branch!

                          Why don't we take it to a vote for next Saturday?

                          Keeping with the title of the original post tho, I vote for Red Bank for this crawl.

                          1. re: LifeGeek

                            I can prolly get away for a few hours on Saturday the 16th so a walk through Red Bank is fine as is a quick tour elsewhere. I did have my heart set on Red Bank though ... ;o)

                            1. re: seal

                              I'm most interested in this crawl - and it should be a crawl, i.e. centered in one town at a time. Next Saturday I'm away should you start it up. The following weekend I'm available and look forward to a taco parade.

                            2. re: LifeGeek

                              Crap! I'm not available next Saturday... :(

                              1. re: joonjoon

                                what about a weeknight early evening crawl?

                                1. re: Tapas52

                                  I'm starting to see why this has been difficult to plan in the past. ;)

                                  I can only make it out early Friday evenings.

                                  I'm assuming we are now canceling next Saturday's crawl in Red Bank? I'm going to hit up a few places regardless.

                                  I'm definitely hitting up International Mexican Grocery for the al pastor on the spit.

                                  I found a video of the place last night...gotta love the guy's enthusiasm...even though he went for only chicken and not the al pastor. wtf!?


                                  1. re: LifeGeek

                                    Rule #1 of organizing an event: You're never going to please EVERYBODY.

                                    Corollary 1: You're never going to find a time and date that is amenable to EVERYBODY. (Herding cats is a good analogy here). Try to accommodate most but not all.

                                    Corollary 2: If you take advice from EVERYBODY, you're just going to piss off the 90% of folks whose advice you don't follow.

                                    Conclusion: Pick a date, time & agenda. Announce it and hope for the best.

                                    Note: treat this advice in accordance with Corollary 2. :-)

                                    1. re: equal_Mark

                                      Yeah LifeGeek, just set a date and time and make it happen!

                                      1. re: joonjoon

                                        Points taken. I'm going to international Mexican grocery in red bank next Saturday the 16th at noon. I'll take it from there depending on how much I eat and whether others show up. I may follow that up with a trip to either Kane or carton brewery to top off the gluttony. Hope to see some of you there. I'll report back regardless.

                                          1. re: equal_Mark

                                            Awesome! Any other spots you want to hit?

                                            1. re: LifeGeek

                                              As of now I will be there too. And I'm always up for a taco or two at NoTB. Maybe get a sweet one at Juanito's too.

                                              1. re: LifeGeek

                                                Senor Pepper across the street is not bad despite the name. I like their Cocktel de Camarones and tostadas.

                                                Other than that I'm curious about the tacos al pastor at international Mexican grocery. NOTB has always been glorious!

                                                If we are doing a Taco Crawl, should we limit consumption to like 1 taco per establishment? My main issue with these type events is that after like 2 places you start to get full.

                                                By the time we reached Local Smoke in Cookstown during the BBQ crawl, starting a new dish was hard enough, never mind trying and finishing all the sides.

                                                Of course I'm becoming an old fart in search of the local Blue Hair specials.... ;-)

                                                1. re: equal_Mark

                                                  There is one more place called Linares Grocery down the street from Jaunito's bakery. It is a deli as well with tacos in the back that a friend says is worth checking out. How about doing these three:

                                                  International Mexican Grocery
                                                  North of the Border
                                                  Linares Grocery

                                                  If we feel emboldened we can split a torta at Juanito's Bakery.

                      3. re: LifeGeek

                        Why not just add Freehold? You got something against Matawan/Keyport? :-)

                        1. re: eleeper

                          I love Matawan/Keyport...in fact, I'm heading there this weekend for some dim sum at West Lake Chinese Seafood followed by a few pints at Maloney's Pub. It just seemed others were liking the idea of adding Freehold. Do you have suggestions for Tacos in the area? We should add this to the list as well.

                1. I'd love to join you guys, but with my stomach and Mexican food a Mexican Food Crawl, could easily turn into the Mexican Food Runs' for me. Enjoy!

                  If starting with Red Bank I do recommend stopping into Pop's Garage in Shrewsbury, only a mile from downtown Red Bank!

                  1. K so ... (bad Spanish pun)

                    We are doing this Saturday the 16th at noon??

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: seal

                      Yes, next Saturday the 16th at noon. We can meet at International Mexican Grocery.
                      92 Shrewsbury Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701

                      1. re: LifeGeek

                        It might be wise to limit this to like 1 or at the most 2 tacos per establishment, otherwise things can get rather uncomfortable. During the BBQ crawl a couple years ago judging the 3rd location required a bit of effort.

                        Also might consider Señor Peppers or Lino's to the mix...

                        1. re: equal_Mark

                          Yea limiting portion sizes is a must for sure.

                          I was driving around a week or so ago and saw several more delis serving tacos. It may be worth just popping into a few of these more unknown spots. I've found quite a few gems over the years following the crowds of Mexican eaters.

                          We may need several trips for Red Bank...

                          1. re: LifeGeek

                            By the way, does anyone speak Spanish that will be joining us? It would be helpful. I'm trying to see if a friend originally from Mexico City can make it, but he may have to work.

                            1. re: LifeGeek

                              For $20. Go to the Wa-Wa parking lot and hire a translator and guide for a couple of hours!

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                Ha ha ha ha ha ah that's funny. On Sunday's I sit in the parking lot at the Farmer market while eating Cinnamon Snail goodness, watching those guys jump in strangers cars.

                              2. re: LifeGeek

                                Yo hablo un poquito de espanol pero mas que suficiente que ordenar unos tacos.

                      2. So...? Donde esta el report? :-)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Curlz

                          Lacking a time machine, you're just gonna have to wait...

                        2. So we are getting closer to the date for the crawl this Saturday at noon. Being this is my first chowhounder crawl, how do we go about meeting on Saturday?

                          Should we start at International Mexican Grocery? Looking forward to meeting some of you in person!

                          18 Replies
                          1. re: LifeGeek

                            It might be good to meet at NoTB since we all have already been there and we know where it is...

                            Or, you arrive early at IMG, wear a trenchcoat and a fedora, and wait in the southwest corner reading a Spanish language paper until approached by a bald woman in a red dress who speaks the code phrase "The chowhound barks at noon."

                            Sorry, couldn't resist ;o)

                            1. re: seal

                              Haha! Notb at noon works just fine. See you all there. Linares is on the same block as Notb so maybe we finish with img and Lino's. Jaunito's torta will be hard for me to pass up too. I'm starting my fast today.

                              1. re: seal

                                I may be free in the "Heart of Monmouth County" around 1 on Saturday. Not sure how to catch up with you dirty food dorks, but would like to try. If you see a guy with a Detroit Lions baseball cap on who looks like he needs a shave and a shower, holdin' a brown paper bag, howl like a 'hound and I'll find you. If not, I'll be the only forty-somethin' mut drinking tequila from a pint glass in the bar at The Dublin House.

                                1. re: MGZ

                                  On a similar note, if one of you can update this thread with your current location(s) I too might be able to meet up mid-crawl.

                                  If not I'll be the other forty-somethin mut drinking vodka from a pint glass, next to the mut with the Detroit Lions baseball cap, drinking tequila from a pint glass at The Dublin House.

                                  1. re: jrvedivici

                                    This could end up being a pretty quick crawl as these places are order and eat standing. We are starting off at north of the border at noon. Heading a few doors down to Linares likely before 1230. Potentially stopping by Jaunito's bakery after. We should be at international Mexican grocery by 1 and potentially Lino's after that. Maybe some of us can swing by Dublin house to give a recap if you don't end up making it.

                                    1. re: LifeGeek

                                      The foul weather has made it unlikely that I'll get to RB to numb myself with the glory that is distilled agave while waiting for the ladies to do . . . .?

                                      Consequently, I'm gonna have to sit with a bottle of Espolon, at home, smoke some weed, and watch some of the last slaves in America earn money for their chosen institutions. Admittedly, however, I do love the joy of college ball.

                                      In tribute, I'll order some tacos from our local place, but their Chicharrón, Cueritos, and Al Pastor pale compared to NotB. I hope you guys enjoy and report back. And remember, if you need a stark comparison at the end, head up to Surf Taco!

                                      Also, let this serve as a reminder that I have never given up on my desire to figure out a "By the Rails" food and drink tour of places close to NJ Coastline stations.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        Foul weather? The sun is shining in Red Bank. Temps forecast near 60°...

                                        1. re: equal_Mark

                                          Been raining at the Shore since before dawn. Still sprinkling now. The ladies cancelled and no longer provide me with an excuse.

                                        2. re: MGZ

                                          Just curious -- What do you consider your local place?


                                          1. re: missybean

                                            Did the taco crawl happen? I wish I could have made it.

                                            1. re: missybean

                                              Cielito Lindo is basically within walking distance and pretty good. I seem to recall you guys like it too, no?

                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                That we do. We alternate between CL and Azteca in West Belmar.

                                                I assumed that you were referring to Cielito Lindo but thought maybe I was missing something new. We are always on the lookout for someplace new to try.

                                                By the way, did you make your Hatch Chile and apple pie this year? I didn't but did you use them in my cranberry relish and the mac and cheese we had Wednesday while watching the bonfire.


                                                1. re: missybean

                                                  I am no longer welcome at Thanksgiving without the pie. This year, I added more cheese to the crust and substituted B&J's Scotchy Scotch Scotch ice cream.

                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    {{rubbing his eyes like a boy on Christmas morning excited to see all the gifts under the tree}}

                                                    What do I see!?!?! Hello my friend! How art thou? Long time no chat/banter.....so good to see you post!

                                                    How was your Thanksgiving? Mine was very quiet my first time in 19 years, it was just our immediate family, both my parents and the in-laws were under the weather. Made for easy clean up though.

                                                    1. re: jrvedivici

                                                      I had to accept certain parameters. We'll see how it goes. I even had to agree to stop smoking.

                                                      Oh, and no more pointing out self-stimulation on various thread about compliments. Vibrations are for EverReady, Brother. The guest room is one door down - "Tell no one!"

                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                        Thing is, I realized at my most recent "steel guitar engagement" that my love's in vain and I could just sit back, slice the turkey, and "Let it Bleed"!

                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                          No sweat. The only way you're gonna get to drink neat vodka from a pint glass at the Dublin is if I let them watch me shave your head with my truck key. Be cool, though, I'll sharpen it first! You can keep what's left of your locks if you'll switch to quaffing Irish Whiskey or Dark Rum.

                                    2. Sorry that it took me so long to report back. Following the taco crawl, I went on a gluttonous Korean BBQ bender. After awaking from my food coma, I was able to regroup and write about the taco crawl on yelp. I'll be lazy and post the write up and links to the yelp reviews below. But, we were blessed to have a professional writer and food photographer along for the ride. I hope that Brian will post links to his photos and/or notes to make up for my blurry, amateur photos.

                                      International Mexican Grocery:

                                      I came here in search of real deal Al pastor and found it, but with a slight disappointment. Al pastor is the adoption of the shawarma spit grilled meat likely brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. It was transformed in Mexico to include slices of pork marinated in spices, chilis, and pineapple. The meat is usually sliced directly from the vertical spit directly onto corn tortillas and topped with some fresh onion, pineapple, and maybe chopped cilantro. Pure bliss.

                                      This place in fact does it right, but it wasn't being carved directly off the spit. It seems they did it earlier in the day or maybe they had a slow night and used some leftovers. They ended up placing the meat on a flat top to heat it and then served us. This was slightly disappointing because I feel like it dried out the meat, but I won't let this ruin the experience. The flavor was still great, the place was full of local Mexicans, and they had four different salsas that were absolutely killer in color and taste.

                                      I will definitely be back frequently to try and actually see the elusive carving of meat. As happens to be the case for many great Mexican spots, don't let the building fool you.


                                      North of the Border

                                      Don't let the modest storefront fool you. This place is serving up some legit, real deal Mexican food. Don't come looking for sizzling fajitas or doritos locos smothered with neon processed cheese. Also be prepared to eat at a little bar area. This place is all about the food.

                                      If you are still reading, drop what you are doing and head over right now. Sometimes you go to a place and as soon as you leave you are planning your next trip. We did a taco crawl in the area so I wasn't able to sample as much as I wanted. There were a few people ordering from the special menu on the wall and it looked so incredible. I was kicking myself the following day for not asking about the other specials.

                                      Their regular menu is vast including tacos, tortas, cemitas, huaraches, etc. I had three different tacos and all were great. I went with lengua (beef tongue), suadero (brisket), and chorizo con papas (mexican sausage with potato). The lengua was epic with a nice crisp crust yielding to tender meat that tastes like a really good beef roast. The other two were just as solid.

                                      I can't wait to return. I bet many of you will feel the same if you are fans of mexican cuisine.


                                      9 Replies
                                      1. re: LifeGeek

                                        One thing noted about International Mexican Food... It may have focused on being a grocery store at one point, but the over all layout seems to be mainly geared to preparing and serving food. This seems emphasized by them changing their name from International Mexican Grocery to International Mexican Food as seen on the menu and the banner out front. Photos below.

                                        Assorted stuff:


                                        North of the Border - http://www.exit109.com/~mstevens/Take...

                                        International Mexican Food - http://www.exit109.com/~mstevens/Take...

                                        1. re: equal_Mark

                                          Good catch =Mark...I'll make not of that within my yelp review.

                                          1. re: LifeGeek

                                            This is compared to Linares Grocery a few doors down from NOTB. It is similar in size to International Mexican Food but was jam packed with grocery items such as a varied assortment of fresh and dried chiles, condiments, snacks soaps & toiletries. We opted nit to order food there when it became clear they did not have the rotisserie spit for the Pastore.

                                            Several folks also stopped by Juanitos Bakery a few doors down on the other side of NOTB for a few snacks and sweets, but I was in it for the tacos so I held out. Pic of Juanitos Bakery...

                                            1. re: equal_Mark

                                              Below I posted this in the other thread. Lifegeek, On a side note did anyone find out when they carve the fresh meat?

                                              I tried to find you guys. I had some things to take care of and was a little late. I ended up at linos and was hoping I would see a crowd marching my way as I sat looking out the window.

                                              I got the tacos al pastor. These things are seriously delicious! I completely connected with this dish for 7.50

                                              The pork was just awesome.....tender, moist, flavorful, not grizzly at all and a tad smokey. A bit of finely chopped onion, some fresh lemon wedges and a healthy portion of chopped cilantro nicely rounded out these tacos. These tacos were not filled with tomato and lettuce and i was thrilled to discover this. In fact, there were no fillers. This was my 4th time at linos and the first time I didn't get the Mexican BBQ. I am now pumped up to try a bunch of other dishes.

                                              This isn't fine dining but my review of lino's so far is really great and it is a nice value.

                                              Jr, if I may ask.... I recall you didn't have a great experience. What dish didn't you like?

                                              1. re: corvette johnny

                                                Understand that Mexican tacos do not have lettuce or tomato (or cheese for that matter) in them. They're just corn tortillas served with spiced meat, onion and cilantro.

                                                There was talk of heading down to Linos that day, but it just didn't happen.

                                                Hopefully there may be a further Mexican crawl down Long Branch or Asbury. One thing that was learned on the Red Bank event was that half the great food being served was from establishments that looked to be simple grocery stores or Bodegas, but have kitchens set up in the back to serve prepared foods.

                                                Oh, going seriously off topic there was talk of arranging a Chowdown at Shanghai Bun in Matawan... ;-)

                                                1. re: equal_Mark

                                                  Oh, going seriously off topic there was talk of arranging a Chowdown at Shanghai Bun in Matawan.

                                                  Now thats a great Idea Mark, love SB,....would have to make reservations for a table in advance as the place is so small.

                                                  hope I'm off for that crawl...;-)

                                                  1. re: Tapas52

                                                    Well, if you are the one setting it up it should be easier to arrange a date that you could attend, no? ;-)

                                                    1. re: Tapas52

                                                      What I would really like to do is a Chowhound Chinese Banquet...I am dying to do this but none of my friends want to shell out the money for a proper one...any interest in doing something like this?


                                                  2. re: corvette johnny

                                                    CJ, sorry for delayed response I was away on a little R&R last week.

                                                    I got the Mexican BBQ when I went there it was chicken, and two kinds of ribs if memory serves me correct. I went on a Friday night around 5:30pm just prior to an RBC football game. The grill was NOT on when I was there and my food was obviously cooked in advance and just heated up to serve. I was VERY disappointed after reading so many good things about the place.

                                                    Now both my son and my wife got two different dishes (I forget what) but both were very pleased with their dishes. I don't know what the story was with my dish or the grill but it just wasn't good. I would certainly give it another try and have driven by a time or two........I'll report back when I do.