Homemade Taqueria: Hole in the Wall Perfection
I am a big fan of Mexican food but summertime makes me crave it even more. I was Yelping new places to try and stumbled upon Homemade Taqueria's reviews. According to everyone's thoughts on this place, the food is a home-run. Of course I just had to try it (I was also glad that I can get there by bus rather than via subway). Homemade Taqueria is located off Northern Blvd. in Long Island City. The location isn't exactly aesthetically pleasing, it's nearby car dealerships and residential blocks. But my mind went past that fact because I kept thinking "there has to be a reason why people keep coming back here."
The eatery is part of a stretch of small businesses (sandwiched between RapidNYC and AllState). The space itself is small but not crammed, it's twice the size of your local Chinese takeout place. This isn't the place to go for your first date or take your picky girlfriend. Homemade Taqueria is all about the food- any other components in the space are there to serve their main function so forget about decor- though cute knick knacks are displayed throughout. If you've ever been to Mexico- the space will remind you of it.
Not only does the space transport guests to another place, so does the food. The menu at Homemade Taqueria consists of small tapas to mammoth plates of Huaraches. I've gone back since my first visit and so far, I've tried the following:
Tortas- Unlike the Spanish and Filipino torta (which is an omelet), the Mexican torta is a sandwich (similar to a panini). I decided to go with the Al Pastor, served with lomo, piña and quesillo (pork sirloin, pineapple and cheese). I loved the sweet and tangy flavors in the sandwich but I wasn't a big fan of the bread that the tortas were served in.
Empanada- It isn't listed in their online menu but they do serve empanadas. I tried to order it during my first visit but they couldn't make any (this is an eatery that incorporates fresh ingredients in their dishes so they must have ran out of the ingredients to make empanadas on that day). But I got lucky on my next visit and was able to try their Spinach Empanadas, which weren't groundbreaking but left me satisfied.
Burritos- Their burritos are by far my absolute favorites. They are served with rice, beans, salsa and sour cream and cooked in over 12" flour tortillas. I've had the Longanisa (Mexican sausage) and Al Pastor Burritos and they are amazing. You can really taste the freshness of the dishes and it really tastes like I'm at a friend's house and their parents cooked it. I get lost in the wonderful layers of flavors: sweet, sour, salty and spicy- each having their moment to shine without overpowering or clashing. The tortilla is moist and soft and just the perfect container of all of that goodness.
Jugos- It's not listed on their online menu but they do mention it on their gallery. Not only do they serve fresh squeezed juices but they also serve fresh milkshakes. I've tried the Papaya Shake (and something else, I forgot what it was!) and loved it. It tastes like what it's supposed to- papaya creamy yumminess (is that a thing?).
I am ashamed that I haven't tried the tacos! [Side note- guests can add toppings to their liking as they are served buffet style]. The family that runs Homemade Taqueria are good people and I'm thankful that they decided to share their wonderful cooking with the community. I do plan to come back and try every item on their menu.