What to Order at the New Tijuana Picnic on the Lower East Side

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Tijuana Picnic (151 Essex Street, 212-219-2000) is the new downtown outpost from Acme vets Jon Neidich, Jean-Marc Houmard, and Huy Chi Le. Alex Lopez, from Kittichai, runs the kitchen, imbuing loungy Mexican-American party food with Asian sparks. There are duck wings cured with Asian spices ($12); skewers of mako shark grilled with green yuzo kosho ($12); silky guacamole freckled with charred corn ($8) — all things to pluck with thumbs and forefingers.

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Order the Bone-Warming Chilate de Pollo at Antojitos Mexicanos

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Though it operates with little fanfare, Antojitos Mexicanos (107 Graham Avenue, Brooklyn; 718-384-9076), a restaurant on Graham Avenue in Williamsburg, is never empty. There's always a handful of families dining together, sharing quesadillas, sipping cinnamon-laced horchata, the spot serving as a cheap respite in a neighborhood of perpetually rising rents.

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Eat the Chile Relleno at Cerveceria Havemeyer in Williamsburg

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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It doesn't look like much. A puddle of vermillion flooding one side of the plate; the other half, filled with unadorned white rice. But while the chile relleno ($11) at Cerveceria Havemeyer may not catch the eye, it makes up for it in the mouth. It's an uncommon order for the taco and beer hall, hiding in plain sight on the back of the menu. The only people who actually order it may be those who have stolen a bite from a friend's plate and have been converted.

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Chicharrón Preparado, Reinvented Vegan-Style at El Rey

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Ever wondered what those plastic-like orange pellets in little plastic bags hanging in your local Mexican bodega are? Chips? Candies? Some inedible substance? Here's your answer: Their name is chicharrones de harina, and they are processed and pressed flour dough that fries into puffy, crackling pastel orange chips that mimic fried pork skin chicharrones.

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Williamsburg Bodega Stalwart Mexico 2000 Opens a Restaurant

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Mexico 2000 (367 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-782-3797), the Williamsburg stalwart for cheap Mexican produce and cecina tostadas, has finally outgrown its shell. On Saturday, the proprietors opened the doors of their new restaurant (369 Broadway), currently also named Mexico 2000. They had been holding on to the location, two doors east, since 2012, waiting on permits and using it as storage space for their overflowing bodega.

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At Astoria's El Rey, There's Mexican Food for Everyone

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
El Rey (2521 Astoria Boulevard, Queens, 718-545-2292) is a Mexican restaurant in Astoria, Queens. There are elevated red banquettes you have to step up into; these squishy booths make drinking buckets of miniature Coronas easier, even when it's cold outside. The twinkling Christmas lights bounce off mirrors emblazoned with Victoria logos, and there is a framed painting of a farm girl tending to a newborn calf who looks a little too pleased by the animal's wet tongue swiping her face.

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A Taste of the New Don Pancho Villa

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
Don Pancho Villa (189 Borinquen Place, Brooklyn; 718-388-4552) is a new Williamsburg restaurant that prompts a double-take. Located on a block of Grand Street just east of the BQE, it sports a wooden frame flashing its name in neon and a small parking lot; it looks as if it was sucked up from a suburban mall in Denver and plunked into Brooklyn.

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These Are the Best Tortillas of 2014

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
The requisite Best Of lists demand that we writers solidify our superlatives for the year. And 2014 was a bountiful one for moderate to upscale Mexican, as New York City chefs focused their efforts on the foundations of the cuisine, which has glided into the gastronomic limelight. But no wavering here — Mission Cantina (172 Orchard Street, 212-254-2233) has the best tortillas in the city.

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Get Ready for Holiday Feasting at East Harlem's La Cabaña

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
On a corner in East Harlem is La Cabaña (2277 First Avenue), a small restaurant with just a few tables that is, nonetheless, roomier than most bodegas-cum-taquerias that have you leaning into shelves of dry goods. There's a steam table of various stews, and a capacious kitchen, by New York standards. The waitress invites you to come take a peek at the ripples of beef in salsa verde with strips of nopales, the steamed rice dotted with diced carrot and peas, the pork spareribs sporting Christmas colors in a salsa of green tomatillos with flecks of red chile de arbol, and the two kinds of beans. She uncovers the compartments with a Vanna White flair.

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Mounting Cosme's Iron Gate for a Transportive Dessert

Categories: ¡Oye! Comida

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Photos by Scarlett Lindeman for the Village Voice
For something that doesn't actually produce sound waves, the hype surrounding Cosme (35 East 21st Street, 212-913-9659), acclaimed Mexican chef Enrique Olvera's first restaurant in the United States, has been deafening. Cosme has answered to the frenzy with a firm abutment, walling out tardy reservation holders, the beggars, and the unannounced. Unsurprisingly, the restaurant is booked through 2014, and those who have attempted to get their food in the door as walk-ins at odd hours have also been turned away.

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