Los Tacos No. 1

The origin of the taco is mostly unbeknownst to mankind, but one theory persists. According to the Smithsonian, the taco is believed to have originated from the 18th century silver mines of Mexico. “[T]he word “taco” referred to the little charges [the miners] would use to excavate the ore. These were pieces of paper that they would wrap around gunpowder and insert into the holes they carved in the rock face.” Since then, the taco has made its way to the US—first through the migrants who came to work on the railroads and in the mines—and soon the ingredients were adapted to what was available locally such as lettuce and minced meat. Today, tacos are everywhere. From Taco Bell to Chipotle and fancified versions at high-end restaurants, the taco continues to win over the hearts of any who chance upon it. I mean, how many people do you know who absolutely hate tacos?

To celebrate our love for this wrapped delicacy, we headed over to Los Tacos No. 1 located in Chelsea Market. According to their website, Los Tacos No. 1 was founded by three close friends from Tijuana, Mexico, and Brawley, California whose goal was to bring the authentic taco to the East Coast. Right next to the spice shop in the middle of Chelsea Market, this small taco place is usually packed. When we arrived one evening, there was already a line forming with people fresh out of work looking for a quick bite before heading out. Luckily, the line moved fairly quickly and we soon found ourselves ordering the carne asada and chicken tacos, along with the especial quesadilla and a sweet hibiscus drink called Jamaica. Ordering is easy, but to actually get your food, you need to be quick and push your way through the throng of customers, either waiting for their food or eating at the counter, to hand your ticket to the cooks. Once our dishes arrived we quickly piled on some pico de gallo, spicy sauce and grabbed a few lime wedges and headed over to an empty corner. There are two options for the tortillas, flour and corn. We somehow ended up with corn (make sure to specify!), which and had a nice yellow hue with a slightly chunky texture. Our favorite was the carne asada taco which was filled with perfectly seasoned meat, green sauce, and fresh pico de gallo. All this was devoured in minutes. Yes, it was that good, but also the tacos were small, making us wish we had ordered a bit more. Next time!

Los Tacos No. 1
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Ave
New York, NY
www.lostacos1.com

Chikarashi

Yes, they’ve been in existence in the West Coast for some time now, but poké bowls are having a serious moment in New York right now. It’s finally summer and all people want to eat in this heat are something refreshing, poké bowls are the perfect dish for cravings like this.

Opened just in the past month, Chikarashi located on Canal Street between Centre and Baxter Street is one of the newer additions to the growing Hawaiian-inspired restaurants across town. Chef Michael Jong Lim has refined his culinary skills at multiple Michelin-starred kitchens of Masa, Aldea, and Aureole. Their carefully curated menu includes three kinds of fish, salmon, tuna (both regular and toro), and fluke, which are freshly delivered whole everyday. After a thorough explanation of the menu, Naomi decided to get the Goma Shoyu Tuna, a delicious mix of bluefin tuna, goma shoyu (sesame seed soy sauce), chili oil, nori (seaweed), hijiki (sea vegetable), avocado, and garlic chips. I went with the Ponzu Salmon, which included buttery Scottish salmon, wasabi ponzu, strips of shiso, avocado, tobiko (flying fish roe), and shichimi (Japanese seven spice mix). Each bowl speaks to the fusion concept of Hawaiian style poké, Japanese chirashi, along with Korean and Chinese flavors. The sesame seeds and chili oil in the Goma Shoyu Tuna give that Korean and Chinese flair, while the nori and hijiki layer up on the Japanese component of the dish. On the other hand, the Ponzu Salmon, our favorite out of the two, came with refreshing citrus flavors from the ponzu, and the tobiko added a unique crunchy texture. If you are feeling a bit more on the decadent side, you can also switch out your standard tuna with some toro (fatty tuna) for an extra dollar. Finally, after our meal, we got two of their sherbert-like soft serve of pineapple and lemon, finishing our meal with the perfect treat for a hot summer day.

Chikarashi also offers takeout, making it a perfect to-go spot if you work in the SoHo/Chinatown area. We have a feeling we’ll be dropping by for lunch often!

Chikarashi
227 Canal St, New York, NY 10013
(646) 649-5965
chikarashi.com

Pintrill x Shake Shack

You may or may not have heard by now, but Pintrill has teamed up with Shake Shack to bring some super cute pins to their already extensive roster. To commemorate this exciting collaboration, a release party was held at on May 24th at the Shake Shack on 1 Old Fulton Street in Dumbo, Brooklyn. There was of course the burger joint’s amazing menu items, (Naomi got the Shack Burger and I got the Shack Stack) but there was also a special dessert that we all were looking forward to. In honor of Pintrill, Shake Shack created a custom Concrete consisting of their chocolate custard ice cream, gooey caramel, and bits of honeycomb all swirled together to form a deliciously sweet and crunchy treat. If you didn’t know, Pintrill’s colors are black and gold, hence the chocolate ice cream with the golden honeycomb. Close enough!

Check out Pintrill’s Shake Shack pins here and make sure to stop by any of the Shake Shack location for some amazing burgers.

Shake Shack Dumbo
1 Old Fulton St
(347) 435-2676
Click here for more locations

Cardamom Coffee

Hampton Chutney Co.

Native to India, the Middle East, and Scandinavia, cardamom is one of the most expensive spices to date after saffron and vanilla (the harvesting process requires that each pod be hand picked, hence the high price).  It’s aromatic, strong in taste and can be used in savory dishes, but most commonly used forms include flavorings in pastries, teas, and coffee. For all those pumpkin spice or cinnamon lovers, this one’s for you.

We’d like to divulge a little gem of a drink that’s served at Hampton Chutney. Widely known for their renditions of dosas, a South Indian specialty of fermented crepes made from rice batter and black lentils, the Indian restaurant happens to also offer a delicious cardamom coffee. Served both warm and iced, this sweet aromatic beverage is the perfect little treat or afternoon pick-me-up. Who said that spiced coffee is only a fall thing? Enjoy a cup at one of their three locations in Soho, the Upper West Side, or the Hamptons this summer.

Hampton Chutney Co.
143 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

Bunna Cafe

One of the very few vegan Ethiopian restaurants to lay roots in New York City, Bunna Cafe began as a pop-up restaurant in Bushwick as well as participating at Smorgasburg. Today, they’ve settled into a more permanent residence in Bushwick, just walking distance from the Morgan stop off the L train.

We ordered the Feast for Two ($28), which also comes in varying proportions for one, three, or four people. Inspired by the cuisine served during the fasting months according to the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the menu focuses on dishes you can share with people. For the Feast, scoops of purple, yellow, green, and orange are placed on top of a soft spongy sourdough flatbread called injera (gluten-free version also available). Each bite created a delicious symphony of spice, salt, and sweetness complemented by the slight sourness of the injera. 

To accompany our main dish, we ordered one Espris ($6) to try as well. The Espris is a delightful creamy beverage of layered mango, avocado, and papaya puree with a dollop of Vimto syrup and a lime wedge to tie it together.

All in all, this ranked high in our book and we highly recommend for those who want to try Ethiopian food or just want a vibrant, healthy and filling meal.

Bunna Cafe
1084 Flushing Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11237
(347) 295-2227
bunnaethiopia.net