Man Eats: Zapata’s

“You’re gonna drive an hour and a half just to eat?!?” – my Dad when he found out that we were traveling all the way to Pampanga to have lunch.

Oh Dad, its as if you don’t even know me.

The many times I’ve gone to Pampanga, C’s Italian Dining was almost always the destination (best Panizza evaaaarrr!). This time around we decided to try Zapata’s, a Mexican restaurant that many of my friends have been raving about. Also, since the Hermano’s Taco Shop experience, we badly needed to have some good Mexican food and we hoped that this would do the trick.

Zapata’s was pretty easy to find since its located at the same strip as C’s. For the guys who still don’t know where that is, Zapata’s is located at the same strip as strippers. Got it? Good.

Given the long drive, I was hungry. And I don’t just mean “I could eat a horse” hungry — I mean “I could eat a house” hungry. Good thing the tortilla chips, salsa, and guacamole didn’t take long.

Holy Guacamole, Batman!

Now’s about a good time to order a Grande Combination Plate. “What’s that,” you say? Good you asked.

Burrito + Beans + Enchilada

Taco + Chili con Carne

Soft Taco

The Zapata’s Grande Combination plate is a hefty order of a Taco, a Burrito, an Enchilada, a bowl of Chili con Carne, a bowl of Mayan Bean Soup, Borracho Beans, and Mexican Rice. According to the waitress, the order was good for about 2-3 people.

Or maybe 1 fat boy.

Aside from the so-so enchilada, everything else was really good. The Chili con Carne, most especially. I just dumped the whole ramekins of shredded cheddar cheese and onions and it was good to go.

Since it was my first time to eat in Zapata’s, I couldn’t pass on dessert.

I should have.

It glows!

Much the opposite of their entrées, Zapata’s Key Lime Pie was a let down. Not only did it taste nothing like Key Lime Pie, it looked a little something like what gave Donatello and the gang their awesome ninja powers.

Overall, Zapata’s was definitely worth the day trip. Next time, I’m just gonna stick to Razon’s Halo-Halo for dessert.

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Man Eats: Hermanos Taco Shop

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Hermanos Taco Shop

Last Sunday, I decided to try out Hermanos Taco Shop in Gilmore, Q.C. since many claim that this place has the most authentic Mexican food in Manila.

As you’d expect, Hermanos’ menu has the usual burritos, tacos and quesadillas. What really stood out from the menu was their Rolled Tacos. I was excited to try this since I was watching the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate…with My Hands the other night and they featured rolled tacos from Chico’s Tacos in El Paso, Texas.

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Rolled Tacos (beef and chicken combo)

This wasn’t the best thing I ever ate. Not with my hands. Not with utensils. Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. I do not like them [that much], Man I Am. The “hefty” serving of tortilla chips didn’t really help either. The beef was so-so, the chicken was bland and the fried tortilla wrapper was too thick and it masked even more of taste. Sayang, I really had high hopes for this dish.

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Beef Fajita Burrito

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Beef Fajita Burrito in yo’ face

Up next, the Beef Fajita Burrito (no beans, please). I’ve heard complaints that the burrito in Hermanos isn’t big enough, most probably because they’ve gotten used to the huge servings in Ristras, but I, for one, am glad that the burrito here doesn’t make me feel like I ate extra extra extra rice. Taste-wise, the burrito was actually good, especially when you add a bit of their homemade hot sauce and extra cilantro.

Given that we live in a country where Mexicali and Tia Maria’s have been the benchmarks for Mexican fare for the longest time, I’d say that Hermanos isn’t that bad.

Is it authentic, though? Jury’s still out on that one.