Cocktails, Dessert, Restaurants
Mar 05, 2011

More on Pachanga Patterson

As you can probably tell, we’re pretty excited about Pachanga Patterson here at We Heart Astoria.  As big fans of Vesta – and having had many a meal there – (…)

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As you can probably tell, we’re pretty excited about Pachanga Patterson here at We Heart Astoria.  As big fans of Vesta – and having had many a meal there – we were thrilled by the idea that Joe, Leo, and Michelle would bring a Mexican restaurant to Astoria.  I’ll admit though – it was hard to wait all those months, but when they opened earlier this week, it was quite the happy occasion.

Mackenzi gave you a great basic run down of Pachanga Patterson on Friday, and I’ll simply expand on that.  We both liked our food immensely, as well as the drinks.  Mackenzi had a really nice margarita (La Pachanga Margarita, $10) that contained an unusual ingredient when it comes to margaritas – hibiscus.  Usually you see it as an ingredient in herbal tea mixtures, but in this case it was in the form of both Centenario Hibiscus and P&H Hibiscus – hibiscus tequila and hibiscus syrup, respectively. They added a special tang and flavor to the cocktail – simply fantastic.

I tried the Tequila Mockingbird ($11) – in part because of the punny name – but also because it was described to me as sour, a little bitter, and not very sweet.  I gave it a try and absolutely loved it. It contained tequila and Cointreau, both liquors I like very much, as well as flavors of lime, mint, and cucumber, with a topper of champagne.  Mackenzi tasted it too, and thought it was excellent, and got one herself.

I chose another cocktail toward the end of the meal, the Death in the Gulfstream ($10).  Normally, I’m pretty much a one-drink gal at dinner, but the drinks were so good, I decided to push the envelope and double my fun.  This drink was like an expanded gin and tonic – it contained gin, lime juice, bitters, and simple syrup.  It was quite strong, too – stronger than the first drink I had. It was dryer and less sweet, too.

If I had to choose among the three drinks, though, I’d go with the Tequila Mockingbird – the flavors were just perfect together and really complemented the meal. For more on their drinks, you can refer to their drink menu.

As for the food, we tried something from most sections on the menu – small plates, tacos, and entree; the salsas looked awesome (the people next to us ordered them), and I expect the sides are also wonderful, as they at Vesta.

We loved the guacamole ($8) – it’s some of the best I’ve had in NYC, and I am an avocado freak – paired with chips made from tortillas by Tortilleria Nixtamal in Corona.  I can’t tell you how happy it made me to know that Pachanga Patterson is using Tortilleria Nixtamal tortillas and masa – I am a huge fan of Shauna’s work there, and wish her so much success. I gladly eat these chips – they are fresh and substantial without being heavy in the belly.

I love pork tacos, so I had to go with the pork shoulder tacos (3 for $9). Joe raved about the moo shu duck tacos – I’ll try them next time  Probably my favorite part of the pork taco was the crispy pork skin inside.  The pickled onions added a sharpness to the pork which I really liked. I also happily added some of the fabulous green bunch chili sauce, because it was full of flavor and pleasantly spicy – Mackenzi loved it, too. I think between the two of us, we ate like half the bottle (sorry, Joe).

The veggie jenga ($10) was very tasty, though a bit on the cool side, but a terrific combination of smashed beans, avocado, sweet potato puree, and topped with two fried eggs. We also had the Pachanga Salad ($7), which involved more of those pickled onions, with matchsticks of jicama and spicy peanuts, all on greens and lightly dressed with a chipotle-lime vinaigrette. Jicama is a familiar vegetable from my youth in Southern California, and I rarely see it here in NYC, so having it as part of the salad made me really happy.

Not on the menu is the list of desserts.  At this time, they offer a panna cotta, plantain filled crepes, and the baby devil cake aka El Diablito Cake (desserts are all $6, I think). A variant on the Baby Jesus Cake at Vesta, this date cake has chocolate chips in it, as well as cocoa, and is topped with a caramel sauce infused with chiles.  Mackenzi and I both loved it.  The plantain crepes were good, but I’m sorry to say that the baby devil really stole the show. It’s truly a remarkable dessert.

For more on the food, go to their food menu.

By the way, did you know that 31st Avenue used to be called Patterson Avenue?

Now, if you remember the Himalayan Teahouse – what used to occupy this space – and what it was like inside, the remodel for Pachanga Patterson is going to BLOW YOUR MIND. It’s incredible what they’ve done with the place. I understand that they are going to do some substantial work in the back garden, and have that open and available later this year.  That will be a wonderful addition to the outdoor dining scene in Astoria.

As far as service goes… this was the soft opening, so it’s really hard to judge it. From what I could see, everyone was really nice, helpful and friendly, and answered any questions we had; the food and drinks all arrived to our table in fair time, and we never felt neglected; the atmosphere was very warm and welcoming.  It was a great experience, overall.

Pachanga Patterson is a great addition to the neighborhood, and is just another reason that the corner of 31st Ave and 34th Street is probably the best food center in town. In fact, there’s construction right now on the southwest corner of 31st Ave and 34th Street, and it looks like it will be a new restaurant, according to the Department of Buildings.

We hope you get to try Pachanga Patterson soon.  Let us know what you think if/when you go! And for more pictures, stop by our We Heart Astoria flickr group.

Pachanga Patterson
33–17 31st Ave., Astoria, NY
718-554-0525l

About Meg Cotner

Meg Cotner was trained as a harpsichordist and now works as a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of "Food Lovers' Guide to Queens," and is a skilled and avid home cook, baker, and preserver.

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