Since moving to New York, my timid declaration that I am an aspiring foodie has been exposed and I've seen I'm a foodie novice at best. But, there is one culinary delicacy that I'd be willing to go toe to toe with anyone in New York on: Breakfast Tacos. The simplistic beauty of a perfectly prepared Breakfast Taco has yet to spread far beyond the borders of Texas. Some folks have asked if I mean a breakfast burrito (as they try and refer me to McDonalds) and others have suggested I get with the local culture and just start eating bagels with a variety of flavored cream cheeses.
But, with as much determination as I can muster, I've fought on. In the past two years, after sharing my quest with friends, family, and (perhaps most importantly) the internet, I've only found three Breakfast Tacos options in all of New York City.
Lobo - Cobble Hill (218 Court Street Brooklyn, NY - http://lobonyc.com/)
This was my latest find (yesterday) when Annie and I were finishing a 30+ mile bike ride. She suggested Lobo as a good Mexican food lunch since we were close by in Brooklyn. When I walked in, much to my delight, there was a huge Lone Star Beer sign hanging above the bar. That was the first hint that I might find a glorious surprise waiting for me on the menu. I flipped it over and line item number three on the breakfast menu: Breakfast Tacos! (pictured above)
I ordered one with chorizo (spicy sausage) and one without to gauge the difference. Both were wonderful, especially when dressed up with the pico de gallo, guac, black beans, and the house salsa. It is safe to say that I inhaled them.
Thus far these are by far the closest thing to a true Breakfast Taco that I've encountered in NYC.
Tacombi (at Fonda Nolita - 267 Elizabeth Street New York, NY - http://www.tacombi.com/)
This was the first Breakfast Taco that I found in New York. The restaurant is a fun open warehouse with metal folding chairs, plastic tables, and a couple different options as far as ordering. To get the Breakfast Tacos, go to the cashier on your righthand side when you walk in and purchase some tickets (like you're going to the State Fair) and take them to the back chef's hut.
There are three options for your Breakfast Tacos and I've had them all. And they are all good. But, being a connoisseur, I would say that they're not great. Being the first Breakfast Tacos that I'd found in the city, I was overly excited the first time I had them as they were like an oasis of goodness to my deprived taste buds. But, upon a second and third visit, the adjective that I find myself say in describing them: frou-frou.
Definitely better than not eating a Breakfast Taco, but not quite the awesomeness I think a city of this culinary achievement should be treating their palettes too.
La Esquina Taqueria (114 Kenmare New York, NY - http://esquinanyc.com/)
La Esquina, the much talked about restaurant, might be one of the more fun dinning experiences in the city if you can get a reservation. You walk into the unassuming and small Taqueria and, should the hostess find you name on the list, you are escorted downstairs through the kitchen to the best ambience you've ever seen in what feels like a cave.
But that is not the experience I had in attempting to try out their Breakfast Tacos. I walked to the Taqueria on three different occasions to attempt to partake, each time finding out that they either weren't serving Breakfast Tacos because it was the weekend (strange but true) or that they wouldn't be serving them until 10am because if was a weekday (really?). So when I finally made it on a day when they felt like serving me Breakfast Tacos, my biases against their offering were already pronounced.
And unfortunately, they green sauce smothered presentation didn't restore enough moistness to the dried out corn tortilla for it to make me smile. But, I needed a third Breakfast Taco to make this blog post complete, so there you go. Very disappointed by this one.
So all told, Lobo in Cobble Hill Brooklyn is the far away winner of the Breakfast Tacos in NYC culinary exploration SO FAR. But, the search continues and I am taking all suggestions and input that I can get. I am tired of having to fly to Austin to get my fix once a month, let's remedy this situation here in NYC!