Last week, I wrote about the tacos arabes at Parkchester's Taqueria Tlaxcalli, which I thought were the only ones in the Bronx. Hell, they'd been the only ones I could get my hands in the borough, and I've been to many a Mexican restaurant in this borough. As it turns out, there's at least one more option: Norwood's Queen of Tacos.
The taqueria and bodega, which we were informed of by reader margotr, is especially a boon for our readers in the borough's northwestern corner, who may prefer to keep their tacos closer. Unlike at Tlaxcalli, the arabes here are part of the regular menu, which means we can eat them every single day. (Am I the only one out here who wants to do that?)
Queen's Tacos Arabes ($3 each) differ from Tlaxcalli's in a few ways. For one, the flour tortilla, which is also store-bought, is a tad bit superior, with less of that strange chemical taste endemic to the type. Strips of grilled onions are packed in alongside the meat, adding crunch and variety. Finally, the meat is seasoned in a way that places a more singular emphasis on piercing heat, while still maintains that Middle-East-to-Mexico essence. Now if only we could get a tacos arabes devotee slinging her's with pan arabe, the traditional pita-like flatbread used in Mexico for the dish.
There are times when you'll want something more then just a taco, though. Like when you're still freezing your ass off in late February, after a slew of snowstorms, several days of sub zero temperatures and two polar vortexes. In these situations, it'll do you good to saddle up next to a bowl of Queen's Chilate de Pollo ($7).
Essentially chicken-chili soup, this Pueblan specialty is traditionally made with a killer combination of epazote, chicken broth, and guajillo and arbol chilies. Strikingly red, with snippets of chili floating throughout, Queen's is served with two substantial pieces of poached chicken, a thigh and drumstick. Classic chicken noodle soup is nothing to shake a stick at, but the racy kick of the arbol and the fruity, musky flavors of the guajillo amp up the broth's restorative powers. A soup like this, though, shouldn't be relegated to just one season. We'll be happy to enjoy it come summer, too.