Chipotle is named after the Mexican seasoning made from smoked Red Jalapeno peppers. I've always wondered why foodies keep raving about Chipotle and why it inspired Ristras, Chihuahua and Faburrito here in Manila.
It's been said that it changed the way people look at a burrito -- "It's not just a burrito. It's a foil-wrapped, hand-crafted, local farm supporting, food culture changing cylinder of deliciousness." - Chipotle.com
I made sure to try it when we were in Santana Row in San Jose. Here is my Chipotle experience...
Every time we eat a burrito in Mexican restos in Manila, we always feel full and bloated after. Faburrito intends to change that by offering healthy burritos that you can enjoy without the guilt.
Promising to only serve natural ingredients with no sugar, no MSG and no preservatives, they also prepare everything fresh daily. Biodegradable packaging and utensils are used whenever possible.
Faburrito is designed to be a Christian business where employees are treated well, part of the proceeds go to a good cause and customers are assured that the food is made only with the good stuff. It's an interesting concept but very niche.
I like my Mexican food hot and spicy, and that's exactly what Ines Cabarrus and Elian Habayeb offer. They have just created the perfect hangout with good Tex-Mex food (and Margarita to match!) :)
Since Ines and Elian wrote the coffee table book, Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets, and created the annual MBKRS Awards, this place received a lot of attention -- and expectations were indeed high for the authors.
Ever since the man behind the once-popular Tequila Joe's opened Ristras, a Mexican Revival has swept Manila and has led to the opening of really good Mexican restaurants (Tex-Mex, Cal-Mex, and other Mexican variations) in the metro. The market has even come to accept buying really good burritos at the P250-P300 range.
One of Manila's recent favorites is the home-style Mexican place in the Fort Strip called Órale!, which is named after the Mexican expression for "OK!" or "Alright!" or the slang for "Hell yeah!" or "Right On!"
The husband and wife team of Nikki and Lexandra Confiado did a great job of creating a street food-inspired taqueria from Mexico and Northern California.
Last August 24, I crossed an age milestone. Technically, I am not "young" anymore. In most award giving events for the "youth", age 35 is the cutoff to qualify. So we celebrated my last year of being "young" in what I believe to be the Best Mexican Restaurant in the Philippines - Maya Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar.
Sasha asked me in the OAP Comments Section: "hi anton. happy new year! im reading your blog on a regular basis. i really like your features. im just curious if you know the mexican restaurant "taqueria chilanga". it used to be in metropolitan avenue in makati (near shopwise) then it moved to greenbelt 3 and branched out in shangrila mall. i dont know where they are now but i really really love the food in that restaurant and im just wondering if they're still around. hope you can help me find them."
Sasha, I'm happy to say that I finally found them. :)
Estella Blanco, the Mexican housewife who was cooking for Taqueria Chilanga, has been living in the Philippines for about 15 years already. She partnered with Lance to launch Taqueria Mia in the Saturday Salcedo Market, where they use all of Estella's Mexican recipes.
They also have an "outpost" now in the Power Plant Cinema Snack Bar. They serve limited Mexican favorites on a to-go basis there. I prefer the Salcedo Market stall, which offers fresh and homemade Mexican favorites (ex. burritos, tacos, quesadillas, etc.) vs the Rockwell outlet, where the food tastes frozen.
Manila is experiencing another round of Mexican Craze with Baja Mexican Cantina. It is the latest Mexican Resto to open in Greenbelt 3. It is getting disappointing reviews during its soft opening but people are willing to try and give it a second chance.
The promise of Baja is to serve authentic Mexican food like what you would enjoy in Baja, Mexico. Take the Burritos for example. The Carne Asad Burrito is served with just beef and vegetables wrapped in 7in. soft tortilla. The most frequently asked questions are: "Where are the rice and beans in the burrito?" and "Is this really how they serve it in Baja?"