Since I started my new job in April, I missed the vacation picks for the rest of 2017 calendar year but I still managed to take several extended weekend trips. This year, I have been lucky enough to briefly talk about tacos from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Norwalk, New York City, Austin, and now New Orleans.
Just a few weeks ago, I went to New Orleans with one of my best friends since childhood, Alexis, to see my friend Will. Will started grad school at Tulane University back in August, and I promised Will that I could some see him. I was very excited to pick my last extended weekend of the year to visit Will and be there to celebrate the end of his first semester.
Since Will needed time on Thursday and Friday to finish up projects and tests, Alexis and I did some exploring ourselves. As always, I had a list for tacos, restaurants, bars, and things to do. Because I knew of several people who lived in New Orleans at some point in their life, I was able to gather their favorite taco places as well. Luckily, every place they mentioned was also on my taco list I already researched so it made the process easier to pick 3 taco spots for the weekend.
First Stop- Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria
After Alexis and I dropped off our luggage at our hotel in the French Quarter, we made our way to Felipe’s Taqueria for lunch. We picked Felipe’s off my list because of its location. The Felipe’s in the French Quarter is located at 301 North Peters Street which was within walking distance from our hotel. Felipe’s is also located nearby in Uptown and Mid-City and not so close spots in Cambridge, MA (where it all started), Naples and Gainesville, FL.
As soon as we walked in, I took a photo of the menu and space. The one manager there immediately noticed me taking pictures and asked what I was doing as he thought I was up to no good (as one should always assume about me). I told him that I have a taco blog in Pittsburgh and he changed his tone and greeted Alexis and I with welcoming arms and lots of salsa.
The manager went on to tell us that everything is made from scratch at Felipe’s from the traditional guacamole to the various complementary salsas at the salsa bar. He said that the recipes and dishes here use all natural and traditional Mexican ingredients.
After the delightful second greeting (more so than the first), we took a look at the menu before placing our order at one of the two counters. The menu was sort of confusing as you read it from right to left. Alexis and I both ordered the same three tacos: tinga cicken, al pastor, and carnitas.
After I placed my order at the counter, I was able to watch my tacos be formed into beautiful masterpieces. Large chunks of pork were carved right at the counter and delicately placed on the corn tortilla. I watched the shredded chicken get scooped out of the pool of orange-y tinga goodness and the al pastor leaving its saucy bath.
Alexis and I then had to decide what toppings to add onto the meats. We asked for the their recommendation. The staff’s suggestion was short and simple: just the habanero-crema sauce, cilantro and onions.
I then made my way over to the salsa bar. This salsa bar was impressive and complete. There were pickled carrots, salsa roja, salsa verde, salsa habanero (super spicy), sliced radishes, salsa chipotle, jalapenos, more cilantro and onions, chipotle onions, and slices of little baby limes. I grabbed some radishes, limes, and a cup of salsa verde and took off to a table.
Alexis was halfway done eating by the time I finally stopped taking photos of the tacos. I couldn’t get over how beautiful and authentic the tacos looked. Alexis told me to try the chicken tinga first as she thought I would like the other two more. She was right, but it was only because the carnitas and al pastor were out of this world. I would rank my tacos in the following order from favorite to least favorite: al pastor> carnitas> tinga chicken. The tinga chicken consisted of heaping chunks of shredded chicken without imperfection. The tinga chicken was spicy and tangy stemming from the spicy tomato and chipotle sauce. This was the only reason I placed it in third. The carnitas, consisting of slow roasted pork, was almost a tied for first. I was speechless and almost thoughtless eating this taco. I may have blacked out from the combination of roasted pork, crema, radishes, onions, cilantro and salsa verde. I would not change one thing about this taco. My final and favorite taco was the al pastor. It is up there with my favorite al pastor taco of all time (the al pastor at Tako). I like this taco because of it’s unique flavors originating from the caramelized pork and cinnamon/guajillo (a sweet and smoky type of chili pepper) marinade. The flavor is amplified by the sweet pineapple chunks and the spicy habanero-crema.
Alexis also had plenty of comments about her meal. She liked how the tacos were not too messy. She said she really only needed one shell instead of a double layer corn shell per taco. She like the recommendation from the staff as the tacos were flavorful with just the simplest ingredients. her rankings from favorite to least favorite are: carnitas (most flavorful) > al pastor (best balanced) > tinga chicken (spicy). I could tell Alexis was blown away by these tacos and she said they may have been the best tacos she has ever had. What a statement!
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend Felipe’s Mexican Taqueria to any taco lover visiting or living in New Orleans. The tacos here were quick, healthy, cost friendly and left me in a wow factor state. I loved how everything here is prepared in small batches to guarantee freshness all throughout the day. Definitely my favorite taco spot of the trip. (Sorry, the next spots have interesting tacos to discuss but nothing beats these tacos).
Powered by the tacos in our belly, Alexis and I made our way just a few blocks down to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum to learn about the practice of pharmacy in the 1800s. Tacos and pharmacy is my life in a nutshell.
Price: 2 tacos for $5.50, 3 tacos for $8.00. Fish, steak, and shrimp tacos are a few dollars more.