Astoria, Dessert, Featured, Food and Drink, Mexican, Restaurants, Sponsored
Oct 06, 2016

Every Night is Taco Night at Chela & Garnacha

  Tacos and margaritas are a food/drink combination that work for almost every situation. Did you have a crazy week at work? Reward yourself with tacos and margaritas. Need to (…)

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Tacos and margaritas are a food/drink combination that work for almost every situation. Did you have a crazy week at work? Reward yourself with tacos and margaritas. Need to pick an activity for a first date? Tacos and margaritas are always fun, and casual enough to not add any pressure. Looking to catch up with an old friend you haven’t seen in awhile? Meet up for tacos and margaritas, and pick up right where you left off.

If you’re looking for a spot to enjoy this perfect pairing in Astoria, look no further than Chela & Garnacha, a low-key Mexican eatery (and WHA fave) on 36th Ave. Not only do they serve some of the best tacos in the neighborhood, they also have a full authentic Mexican menu that promises something for everyone. Our team was THRILLED (a small understatement) when they invited us to stop by for a complimentary tasting of their current menu. Join us as we eat our hearts out!

As always, thanks to Marielle Solan for the beautifully delicious photos.

First up, the Sopa Frijol, or Black Bean Soup. My favorite thing about this soup was its thickness: even though you can eat it with a spoon, we used it as a dip for the accompanying chips, and it didn’t last long!

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Next, we have Chela & Garnacha’s Quesadillas Fritas. As you’ll see from the photo, they are quite different from what most Americans consider quesadillas to be. These are smaller, and prepared like a filled pastry. You can get them filled with zucchini, corn & mushroom, or simply cheese. Once filled, these babies are fried to a golden crisp, and served with sour cream and guacamole.

 

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Another appetizer that was new to me were the Intricadas, and it turns out I’m not alone. I did a quick google search of “Intricadas Mexican Food,” and nine out of the ten search results directed me to Chela & Garnacha. So Astorians, if you’re looking to try this dish, you’ve come to the right place! So what is it? It’s a plate of crispy masa patties piled high with guacamole, chipotle adobado, sour cream, and either chicken or zucchini. It’s a unique bite you won’t find anywhere else, and it’s one we highly recommend.

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Somewhat similar are the Volcanes, except the base is a charred tortilla rather than a masa patty. The Volcanes can be topped off with tasty items like pork, chicken, mushrooms and onions, steak. As long as that beautiful avocado is included, these are a must-order.

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Even though we’re trying lots of new, exciting dishes, we still had to order guacamole. You know the drill: get an order to split with the table while you sip on your first margarita and you’re deciding what else to chow down on. You’ll be happy you did.
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And now, for the main event: the tacos. It’s important to note that all tacos can be served with a layer of crispy fried cheese, which is basically the best idea ever. Just look at those golden corners peeking out on top of the tortillas!

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Luckily, there were three of us, so we had a chance to sample quite a few.  We tried:

Al Pastor: Pork Tenderloin in an al pastor marinade served with a slice of fresh pineapple.

The savory and sweet combo of the pork and the pineapple was unbeatable. This was probably my favorite of the three, so definitely plan on getting these if tacos are part of your night’s plan.

Nopales: Grilled cactus with grilled panela cheese

Cactus has a negative reputation for being slimy, but these avoid that fate. A great option for vegetarian folks, the grilled cactus taco is filling without weighing you down too much.

Pescado: Fried wild cod, topped with a Baja slaw, tomato, cilantro, lettuce, lime

Mmm, fish tacos. Crispy cod, with all of the regular fixings? Done deal.

 

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Somehow, we saved a little room for dessert. Chela & Garnacha presented us with Bunuelos, a plate-sized fritter topped with your choice of Nutella, Cajeta (carmelized burnt goat’s milk), or guava syrup. We were treated to a little sprinkling of all three, which was a sweet surprise. All three were fantastic, but my favorite bites were when the Cajeta and Nutelle mixed together for a perfect combo, and an excellent end to the meal.

 

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Major thank you to Chela & Garnacha for treating us to a wonderful dinner!

This post is sponsored by Chela & Garnacha. Thanks for supporting the brands that support We Heart Astoria.

Chela & Garnacha (33-09 36th Ave, Astoria) | 917-832-6876

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About Lindsay Goyette

Lindsay has been eating and drinking her way through Queens since 2011. A casting director by day and Astoria explorer by night, you can usually find her checking out live music, theatre, or the newest neighborhood spot to enjoy a craft beer.

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