The Tacos y Quesadillas Cart is an Out of Bounds Mexican Treat
Before the lunch-pocalypse last Friday, there was a discussion in the forums about an out-of-bounds Mexican cart on 9th ave. btw 58+59th. I’d never heard of this cart before and I’m extremely grateful that I noticed this discussion before it was swallowed by the internet for all eternity. I’m happy to report that the Tacos y Quesadillas Mexico cart is very much in the mold of the excellent El Rey del Sabor carts and is bringing some very good Mexican food (and a wide variety of items) to the far reaches of northwest Midtown.
The Tacos y Quesadillas menu covers all the bases that are now well familiar to most Midtown Lunch’ers; tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, huaraches and chalupas. They also have picaditas, a torta cubano and arroz con huevo- plus an extensive list of proteins including the standards plus beef tongue, salted beef, pork ear and tinga (chicken in special sauce). With all the possible combinations of dishes and meats, this cart could keep you busy for a long time.
I started off with a torta ($5) with beef. I tried to order the milanesa (breaded beef), but I’m pretty sure I ended up with their standard bistec. It is sort of inconsequential though, I really couldn’t tell what meat was in the middle of this gooey, gloppy mess of deliciousness. The beans, guacamole, cheese, mayo and tomatoes were all there in force, but it did seem a little light on the meat. Otherwise, it didn’t really stand out from other tortas I’ve had, but it was still very satisfying, and I have no complaints about paying $5 for it.
I also wanted to try a quesadilla ($5) because it’s one of my go-to items at El Rey. I went with the tinga (chicken in special sauce). I was initially disappointed it wasn’t served in a tray like the sauce and salsa laden ones I’ve come to love from El Rey Del Sabor. It turns out, it’s not even much of a quesadilla (as least not what I’d call a quesadilla.) It’s more like a huge taco (that’s a full size plate it’s covering)… a mega-taco perhaps? It was actually pretty easy to pick up and eat without too much spillage, though I wouldn’t attempt it without a table or counter present (that actually goes for a lot of stuff here, nothing is really perfectly constructed so it makes for a somewhat messy lunch). The tinga seems to be chicken with large chunks of onions and hot peppers (I believe they were chipotle) in a slightly sweet and smoky sauce. The peppers bring an intense heat that warmed me up without too much mouth burn. All the lettuce, sour cream and queso fresca is practically an afterthought because the tinga totally dominates the dish. I’ll definitely be back for more.
I also tried one of their picaditas ($3). I think this may actually just be a mini version of their huarache, although I’m not sure. It’s a layer of beans on the bottom, topped with a meat, then lettuce, sour cream and queso fresca, all on top of a somewhat fluffy, fried tortilla (I’m guessing it’s the same as their chalupa wrapper). I chose chorizo as my meat here. It was nicely grilled with a crisp exterior, and its bold flavor really elevated what otherwise might have been a little bland. I think the chorizo was actually a great call on my part for the picadita, although I basically just shouted out the first thing that sounded good. All in all, it was piping hot and really hit the spot on a chilly afternoon.
Of course, I had to try some tacos ($2.50) as well (they’re in the cart’s name). I started with the al pastor taco. I didn’t see any spit in the cart and I’m pretty sure this pork is al pastor more in spirit than anything else. The standard 2 corn tortilla taco had a few chunks of pineapple in it and was topped with guacamole, sour cream, onions and cilantro (lime and radish are self serve at the window). The pork was spicy and the taco was pretty good overall.
I also got an orejas (pork ear) taco. I’m not sure I’ve ever had pork ear before. It’s little bits of cartilage wrapped in mellow fatty meat. It wasn’t my favorite item from this cart, but it was an interesting experience. This taco had an overabundance of onions and cilantro, a smidge of guacamole and no other toppings, but I’m not complaining. It tasted fine.
Everything I had here was good. As you can probably tell from some of the pictures, some of the toppings and fillings are distributed pretty unevenly. This wasn’t a big deal at all to me, but I certainly noticed it. I think the prices are fair. You will probably have trouble filling up on the cheap, but you can definitely get a satisfying lunch of multiple different items for under $10. I think it’s a great option for people who work in the area, and would even recommend people trek to check it out at least once. You might find something you really like among their myriad combos.
One last thing I want to mention about this cart is that they have little counters on each side of the cart. So if you don’t want to schlep back to your office, or try to find a spot to eat, you can just eat right there. And unlike carts that have the counter in the front, you won’t be in the way of people who are ordering. I made full use of these side ledges and it made for a very comfortable experience. Why don’t more places use these?
The + (What somebody who likes this place would say)
- It’s delicious Mexican food from a cart, what’s not to like?
- They have lots of menu items and lots of meat options, allowing for nearly limitless combinations
- You can mix and match lots of items and stay under $10
- This chicken tinga stuff is delicious!
The – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)
- If it doesn’t look as good as El Rey Del Sabor, I’m not interested
- This chicken tinga stuff got all over my shirt!
Tacos y Quesadillas Mexico, 9th ave (btw. 58+59th)