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Key to the City

Five Tirana-Approved NYC Mexican Joints

Key to the City BY jackie varriano 12/03/2012

Graciela Fuentes helps you fill your belly.

The storied guac from La Superior.

Newsflash: Mexicans don’t eat chimichangas. In fact, Graciela Fuentes, of the nostalgically industrial line Tirana Jewelry, had never even heard of one until she moved to the U.S. for college. And since then, she’s done a stellar job avoiding them, instead unearthing the best, most legit Mexican food NYC has to offer. 


165 tirana jewelry
"Its such a beatiful and calming haven and I am addicted to their waterlemon juice at breakfast. They also have Marmite, which I have a weakness for."
of Tirana Jewelry



Santos Anne
“Ok, this place is not fully Mexican, but that’s what makes is great. This super-cute restaurant-bar serves French-slash-Mexican food. I was a bit skeptical the first time I went, but after my first bite of the Mexican steak tartare—hand-cut beef, shallots, cornichons, cilantro, and pico de gallo—I had no more doubts.”

“Bushwick has a big Mexican population, so there are a lot of taquerias and restaurants to choose from in the neighborhood. I’ve tried a lot of them, and I always go back to Mally’s, which is actually a deli and grocery store with a tiny kitchen in the back. In Northern Mexico where I’m from, we eat a lot of carne asada, and one of my favorite carna asada dishes is alambre, which typically involves beef, bacon, onions, and bell peppers on a skewer with melted cheese on top. At Mally’s you can get it with either bacon or chorizo! Yeah!”

“It’s definitely unexpected to find this Mexican lounge in the middle of Chinatown among Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants. This place is better known for their pulque-based drinks, but my favorite things here are the enchiladas suizas. The super-rich tomatillo sauce gives them a delicious, citrusy taste.”

El Paso
“Whenever I find myself in Spanish Harlem, I always make my way to El Paso. They have delicious elote—corn on the cob covered in mayo, cotija cheese, lime, and chile piquin. Mexicans will find a way to add chile to everything. I like to sneak a travel-size container of chile powder in when I go to the movies so I can pour it over my popcorn.”



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