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La Esquina

IMG_5656 - Version 2, originally uploaded by ultraclay!.

La Esquina got a lot of press a few years ago for its basement bar. The entrance is behind an unmarked door of the tiny taqueria on ground level. It was one of those 'in the know' places that generally don't interest me at all. That whole hipper-than-thou vibe is annoying and contrived. Especially when the place that no one knows about is the subject of a million blog posts and newspaper articles.

But they serve tacos. Good tacos, as Eric told me a number of times. His advice was to bypass the snooty bar and just go to the taqueria.

One day when I couldn't take midtown any longer, I headed down to check it out.
The food, after the jump.

I've only had the two pork tacos so far, but hope to check out the chorizo and beef tacos on my next visit.

I like the Cochinita Pibil, which is spicy and tangy, topped with jalapeƱos and red onions pickled with habaƱeros. The pork itself is juicy and delicious.

The other pork taco is the Carne Enchilada,which is a little too sweet for me. The fruit flavor of the pineapples brings out the pork's sweetness, but it needs some spice to balance it out.

As good as the tacos are, the thing that blew me away was the quesadilla. I'm a sucker for cheesy foods, the gooier the better. The queso oaxaca used reminds me of cheese curds, soft and melty with a squeaky resistance in every bite. On a recent visit, I tried the Quesadilla deHuitlacoche which I didn't like as much, mostly because I've got no huge love for mushrooms. I'm learning to appreciate them more, but they just got in the way of my enjoyment this time. What I don't understand is why they don't offer a pork quesadilla. I'd be on that in a minute.

What may be the coolest part about La Esquina is that the taqueria serves until 5am. On my last visit, I was there after a late night at work with a co-worker. It was 2am on a Sunday night and there was a crowd of maybe a dozen people hanging out in front. As we got there Ellis G. had just finished drawing shadows on the sidewalk (below). I didn't get the camera out in time to shoot it before he took down the bike, food was my priority that night.


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