I woke up craving chilaquiles, I think I must have had a dream about them, so I headed to Woodside in search of some. While I had originally planned on spending only two months in each neighborhood, I've been working on Woodside since March. Firstly, because there are just so many great places, and secondly because I haven't been able to write more than once a week lately. At this rate I'll never get to Flushing. But I'll keep trying.
So back to the chilaquiles. Chilaquiles are what you make when you have leftover stale tortillas, which most tortilla-eating households, and all Mexican restaurants, usually do. You fry the tortillas until crisp, break them up, add them to a pot full of sauce (red or green) with some epazote, and then eat the whole mess with sour cream, queso fresco, and chopped raw onion. Not a light meal, but so delicious, and made with leftovers from the day before.
Tacos Mexico was the next Mexican restaurant on the route, a few doors down from La Frontera, and it looked like the right kind of place for a late breakfast.
As soon as we sat down, we were handed a basket of chips and some salsa. It's interesting how some of the Mexican restaurants in Queens have adapted to this mainly American custom and some haven't. Tacos Mexico has, and the chips were fresh. The salsa was too.
I did not pore over the menu, I knew what I wanted, my only decision was if I wanted my chilaquiles red or green, plain, with fried eggs, cecina, or chicken. I always choose green, and as much as I love fried eggs and salty beef, I went with the chicken.
It was a good decision. Often, the thinly-sliced chicken breast that accompanies something like chilaquiles or rice and beans is tough and stringy. This chicken was moist, flavorful, borderline salty but not crossing into overly salted territory. And there was lots of it. The chilaquiles ($8.95) had everything I wanted. The salsa verde was spicy, the tortillas were soft but not mushy, there was a slight flavor of epazote but not overpowering, and it was topped with cream, cheese, chopped onions and cilantro. If I were to make chilaquiles at home, I would put more of everything. I like to make them soupy, swimming in sauce, and I go garnish crazy. But for a nice-looking restaurant kind of plate, these were just what I was looking for.
My dining companion José wanted something "saucy". He ordered costillas en salsa roja (pork ribs in red sauce, $9.95) and was happily surprised when it was exactly what he didn't even know he wanted as well. The pork meat was tender and slipped right off the bone. The salsa was spicy and smooth, the rice had a strong tomato flavor, the beans were creamy, it was all good. With lots of tortillas and some agua de jamaica, we had a meal that satisfied what we were both craving and more.
64-09 Roosevelt Avenue