Mission Cantina

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I’ve said it once, twice, three times a lady, or man, and I’ll say it again. I could eat Mexican food, just about every day. And, yes, Mexican food here in the states varies, where you’ll get authentic Mexican cuisine, to Tex-Mex, and, a chef’s interpretation of Mexican food. Which ever it is, I usually love it all. And, when you can also find Chinese influenced dishes on the menu as well? I’m intrigued, and in. So, I went to Mission Cantina in the Lower East Side. 

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Although the restaurant itself isn’t large, it packs in a lot of personality. Even though the lighting is dimmed, there are electric colored lights and bright decor to make the space more dynamic. Throw in a big screen playing movies (Clueless was the selection on my evening) and an “open kitchen” (closed in, but only by a glass window to watch the magic happen), and we’re having a party. Ok, so, we’ve got Clueless playing and a menu with Smashing Pumpkins on it, I was thrown right back to my childhood. And then I saw a group of 19 year olds sitting across from me and realized they probably have no idea what any of this is. Sad. Anyway, to drink away my sorrows of feeling old, I ordered the 49ER (tequila blanco, lemon, smoked habanero, honey). This drink was amazing. It had the perfect balance of sweetness and spice, making it somewhat of a spicy margarita, with a twist. 

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To start, I had their Sunflower Seed Guacamole. I really loved this, especially since I’m a real fan of foods with different texture components. You have the freshness of the diced tomato, creaminess of the avocado, and the crunch from the sunflower seeds. The chips were awesome too, blue corn, thick and crisp, with a nice sprinkling of spice on top.  

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For my entree, I opted to go for the Chinese menu side, and went for the Salt and Pepper Fish Filet Over Rice. I was really pleased with my decision on this one. First off, the portions here are huge, which is pretty awesome, since I’d say it’s near to impossible that you’ll leave feeling hungry. In fact, you could probably pack up half of it for another meal. On top of a large bed of sticky white rice, is a generous portion of fish, lightly battered and fried, liberally seasoned with salt and pepper. The pieces of fish are delicate in flavor, but super delicious. Slight caution with this one though, it’s pretty spicy, which, I loved, but, should be thrown out there. A good cure is to fight spice with spice, so, just take a few extra sips of a 49ER.

The Shorts:
Name: Mission Cantina 
Location: 172 Orchard Street, NYC
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Definitely. And when I do, I’ll switch it up and order some tacos or one of their massive burritos. 
Would I recommend it? For sure. The service is great, the food is delicious, they’re throwing 90’s all over the place, what’s not to like?

 

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Holy Taco

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My mini food tour of Atlanta continues, and I was in need of some Mexican food. Sure, Atlanta isn’t the first place you’d think of when you’re looking for some Mexican food, but, if a city’s making it, I’m trying it. So, I was off to Holy Taco. To play off of the name, the decor fits its namesake with paintings and pictures of some crosses, mixed with a bit of a Dia de los Muertos vibe.

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They focus on a modern Mexican cuisine with a seasonal and locally influenced menu. I started off with their Organic Margarita, mainly because, I don’t think I’ve technically had an organic margarita, and I’ve tried many margaritas. So, yeah, it tasted like a regular margarita, but, it was still lovely and refreshing (and yes, I know you can’t taste organic).

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To start, as an appetizer, I ordered their Ecuadorian Salsa (pureed San Marzano tomato, serrano chile, scallions) and Guacamole (smashed avocado, onion, jalapeño, tomato, cilantro, lime) with chips. These were both awesome, along with the chips. The salsa had a really nice, fresh flavor with a little kick of heat, and the chips were crisp, perfectly salted, and a little bit on the thicker side, making them excellent little salsa and guac shovels. The guac was great, really fresh as well, excellent texture and just the right amount of spice.

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Then, I got two tacos, Vegan (black beans, saffron rice, avocado, radish, Ecuadorian salsa) and Fried Mahi Mahi (mexican slaw, chipotle mayo), both on corn tortillas. So, to my surprise, I actually favored the Vegan taco a bit. Wrapped in two tortillas, for extra filling support, this was a really substantial taco. You really can’t go wrong with the combination of ingredients here. All the flavors went so well together, and the salsa added some heat to round out the creaminess of the avocado, while the beans and rice added some heft. The fish taco was really nice as well, the fried Mahi Mahi had an excellent crunch, and I really enjoyed the slaw as well. I was maybe just missing a little bit of salt on the fish, just to bring out the flavors a little bit more, but, you can always add it afterward, to your taste and liking. 

The Shorts:
Name: Holy Taco
Location: 1314 Glenwood Avenue, Atlanta, GA
The Long and Short: Would I go back? Yes. What I actually liked just as much as the food, was the service. The staff was super nice and made the experience really great. 
Would I recommend it? Yes, they also have patio seating in the front. So, on a nice day, grab a drink, some snacks and tacos, and enjoy it all al fresco.