La Tapatia is a Mexican restaurant on Grand Avenue in South San Francisco where I had my first taste of authentic Mexican cooking.
There were the familiar carne asada, chicharones, sausages, unhealthy looking deep-fried meat items, and a variety of burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and many others.
Ever since I tried authentic Mexican food there, I have never settled for anything less.
Mission Street in Daly City, California, is also where you find many of such kind. There is also the Sunday market I went to in Los Angeles.
At a family vacation in Mazatlan, Mexico, I naturally feasted on Mexican food. What stood out were the local pollo loco which tasted far better than the ones in the United States, and some fine-dining restaurants where my family and I would have our evening meals over glasses of frozen margaritas. Delicious!
In Manila, the closest to Mexican cuisine I’ve tried was Mexicali. Good, but when you’ve tried the more authentic ones, you tend to look further.
Then a place called Ristras opened on Wilson Street in Greenhills. You could hardly get a table. The place was packed every day. Still, it was such a treat to dine here despite the long lines and all. The food was good and for me, the best Mexican food in Manila thus far.
But, like many successful food joints run by partners, disagreements take place followed by eventual separation. The culinary brains behind Ristras then was Chef Robby Goco of Cyma fame and the once popular Tequila Joe’s.
Since I’ve been frequenting the Rockwell area lately—we are putting up our second Wooden Spoon there—I try to find some place interesting to eat. I was on my way to Mamou when I ended up at a Mexican restaurant beside it called Achiote Taqueria. When I learned that Chef Robby was behind it, I insisted we sample the food. I was very excited.
I could see the similarities with the Ristras menu, but food fare here has been taken to a higher level. That said, the menu can be confusing.
There are soft and crunchy tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas and, of course, the humongous burritos. Customers choose from a list of about 10 different kinds of meats—beef, pork, chicken, seafood, tongue, lamb, duck and a few others. They are then instructed to choose from several stuffing.
I ended up having the soft taco with duck rolled in a flour tortilla with corn salsa. I had a hard time choosing a filling. I will go back to try the pork or chicken version.
We started off with a ceviche of various seafoods. I suggest you choose one kind, either fish or shrimp, instead of the mixed one. This is the Mexican version of our kilawin with a strong aroma of cilantro, a very common ingredient used in this type of cuisine.
This is fresh seafood marinated in lime, topped with jicama, extra virgin olive oil, spicy sauce and avocado, and served with baked chips. Sarap!
I want to try the burrito next time without the cheese, which takes away the focus on the refried beans and the flavored rice.
A friend had the enchilada which she enjoyed, while her hubby had the huge burrito with short rib as stuffing.
All in all, it was a wonderful and new experience. You will not find a more authentic Mexican place than Achiote Taqueria at the moment.