In the Mood for Mexican
Here are 10 offerings that highlight the crunchy, cheesy, citrusy, picante deliciousness of Mexican dishes and the food inspired by them
Alambre Taco with Grilled Steak at Ixtapalapa Taqueria
José and Teresa Valdivia, who own Taco Bar—the Gaithersburg taco stand within a gas station that food world insiders have thronged to since 2003—opened Ixtapalapa Taqueria in June 2017. The handsome (distressed wood, exposed brick, gleaming open kitchen), stand-alone, fast-casual restaurant, also in Gaithersburg, pays homage to the street food of the Valdivias’ hometown, Ixtapalapa, a borough of Mexico City.
Ixtapalapa Taqueria’s tacos are the stuff of dreams: Most simply feature an enormous pile of protein (such as chicken, slow-roasted marinated pork, tripe, grilled steak, shredded beef cheek and short rib) on top of two warm corn tortillas. You dress the tacos as you prefer from a fixings bar that includes three salsas (hot habanero, medium-spiced red, mild green), pickled red onions, chopped white onions, lime wedges, julienned radishes and chopped cilantro.
Our seal of approval goes to a taco that comes with more than just protein: the alambre taco, on which the meat of your choosing (go for the steak) is topped with bacon, grilled onions and red peppers, and melted Oaxaca cheese. It’s a blessed marriage of a taco and a cheesesteak.
Ixtapalapa Taqueria, 411 N. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg; 240-702-0217; ixtataqueria.com