Category Archives: Mexican

Los Guachos Taqueria

al pastor columbus

Cuisine: Mexican
5221 Godown Road, Columbus 43235 (just north of Bethel)
Open Sunday- Thursday: 11am-midnight, Friday- Saturday: 11am to 2.30am

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After much anticipation, the new Los Guachos bricks & mortar restaurant has finally opened for business. Prior to this, Los Guachos had been one of the most popular taco trucks in town and they now join Super Torta in being part of an exclusive group that has expanded their mobile vending popularity into the realm of sit-down dining. As with Super Torta, they are continuing to operate their truck in its usual location as well.

al pastor tacos, gringas

The dining room at Los Guachos is small, seating perhaps 30, and was already packed and buzzing with activity at 2:30 in the afternoon on its second day of operation. You can, and might prefer to, call ahead for take out orders during peak hours.

Los Guachos’ new restaurant features all of the favorites from their truck – including their ‘very famous’ gringas and al pastor tacos – as well as an assortment of new menu items. If you want your al pastor to be spit-roasted, aim to get there after 4pm – before that al pastor is cooked on the grill.

gringa los guachos taqueria

New offerings include three burritos: El Favorito (a classic burrito), the Guacho Burrito (al pastor and pineapple) and a vegetarian burrito. They also have Juanas (sincronizadas) which are two grilled flour tortillas sandwiching melted cheese and meat – very similar to the quesadillas. There are four types of Alambres, messy but delicious make-it-yourself affairs, similar to fajitas with melted cheese. Another new addition is volcanes, a crispy corn tortilla with melted cheese and your choice of asada, al pastor or suadero.

Protein offerings are expanded as well, and now include asada (steak), tripa (tripe), lengua (tongue), suadero (steamed beef) and pollo (chicken). As well as sodas and water Los Guachos also offers horchata (rice water).

Los Guachos (the truck) is well known for its ‘buy-one-get-one’ Tuesdays. At least for now, the truck will be the only location offering that deal.

There is also a childrens’ menu with mini quesadillas and burritos.

Note – Los Guachos is reaching out to vegetarians with their veggie burritos and quesadillas.

Mi Bandera

1965 East Dublin Granville Road
Columbus, OH 43229-3508
(614) 888-9510
Open 9am – 9pm

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Mi Bandera, a Mexican/Dominican restaurant, is perhaps not the easiest place to go through the process of getting a meal. It’s of the ‘restaurant in a grocery store’ genre, which in this case means that the cook acts as server and basically otherwise fulfills all of the other roles (including bus boy and dishwasher) that one might expect in a restaurant. Consequently, service can be leisurely – and as far as we can tell they don’t speak a lick of English on the restaurant side.

Be that as it may, it’d be a shame to pass Mi Bandera by based upon these relatively superficial difficulties, so I’m going to suggest a path of action that requires no real knowledge of Spanish and should almost inevitably lead to contentment (if not outright devotion):

First, as you enter the front doors of the grocery, turn right and look for the seating area. When there, you should see a prep line (with a kitchen further back) and a long vegetable cooler on the opposite side. Go to the counter with the heated food case (in front of the prep line) and put on your best ‘I’d like to order’ face.

Then, wait for the cook to take notice. He’ll probably make eye contact well before he’ll take your order. This is how it goes here – at this point, faith in the deliciousness of the end experience may be useful. Once he comes to take your order, he’ll probably ask, “aqui o llevar?” This means ‘for here or to go’. If you’re eating there, respond ‘aqui’ (ah-KEY), and for ‘to go’, ‘llevar’ (yay-VAHR).

Now, place your order. We’re going to direct you towards one failsafe dish – ‘chuleta de puerco’. Say ‘chew-LAY-tuh day PWER-koh’, and follow with ‘por favor’ (pore FUH-vore, this means ‘please’).

Next, take a look at the beverages at the end of the heated food case in the cooler, or if the selection there seems too limited feel free to go to the grocery side and look at their more extended offering. I’m partial to the Foco coconut juice, but anything goes.

Once you’ve got your drink, find a seat on the restaurant side and take in some of Telemundo or similar being shown on the TV. Note how the cook might occasionally come out to the vegetable case to pluck a pepper or some onions for your dish.

As the dish comes out, you should expect 2-3 thin-cut pork chops (quantity depends on size of chops), beans, rice, lettuce, and avocado on a large platter, and a basket of tortillas on the side. Cut a few generous slices of pork (don’t remove the fatty edges – they’re the best part!) and put them on a tortilla. Add some beans, and really just about anything else on your plate you’d like. Fold the tortilla up like a taco, and enjoy.

The pork chops have a smoky, almost vaguely bacon-y flavor, and the beans are as rich and delicious as any we’ve ever tried. Upon first tasting it, one of our friends declared Mi Bandera to be her ‘new pork chop place’, and we’re pretty sure she’s been back weekly. Come to think of it, we probably have as well… they’re that good.

Hope you thought so as well. Having finished your meal, now go back to the food case and ask for the check. The word ‘check’ is usually understood, but a sign language pantomime of writing with a pen on a pad will work as well. Take this check to the check-out line in the grocery and pay there.

With that, you’re no longer a Mi Bandera rookie. Probably a good time to let you know that while Mi Bandera is heavy on Mexican offerings, they’re Dominican run and also serve island specialties such as maduros (ripe plantain), tostones (unripe plantain, smashed, fried, and salted), and Dominican empanadas.

Also worthy of attention are their chilaquiles (CHEE-lah-KEY-lays):

By and large, Mi Bandera is not a stop that caters to vegetarians, with the possible exception of a few side dishes such as the plantain preparations. Prices are reasonable, with all dishes we’ve tried coming in well under $10.

Panaderia Guadalupana

Cuisine: Mexican

1977 E Dublin Granville Road (161)

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Panaderia Guadalupana opened days before we were finalizing the itinerary for our Columbus Food Adventures alt.eats tour and, mercifully, became the answer to the question of how and where to end the tour on a sweet note. We have long enjoyed the Mexican bakeries on the west side (Otro Rollo and Oaxaquena) but this is the first independent Mexican bakery we have found on the North side of town. It’s a really good one.

Colorful cookies and cakes such as tres leches and chocoflan (vanilla egg custard baked on top of chocolate cake) are found in a refrigerated case on the right hand side as you enter. Breads and pastries are in an alcove at the back of the store.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a huge variety of recipes they rotate among, and on any given day there will be around 25-30 bread and pastry options to choose from. The most popular breads (pan dulce, conchas, bolillos) are ever present but the flavors of the empanadas and pastries vary daily. Prices for most of the breads and pastries range from about $.85 to $1.10. Everything is very fresh and the texture is light and airy. Grab a pair of tongs, a tray and make your selection. Then take it up to the counter to be bagged.

One of our recent finds was this jalapeno, cream cheese and turkey roll which was almost a meal in itself.

Panaderia Guadalupana has a big space with lots of windows, seating, wifi and even a couch area. What they don’t have at the moment is any coffee. Once they do, I think this will be a popular spot for people to hang out and work. At the moment it’s a great place to pick up some excellent baked goods, freshly baked each day.

The cinnamon roll is a hungrywoolf favorite. You can see a few shots of Panaderia Guadalupana and their food in this video.

La Super Torta

721 Georgesville Road (West side of Georgesville)
614 327 4192 / 614 274 4192

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La Super Torta occupies a bright corner location at the intersection of Georgesville and Sullivant, in a site formerly occupied by La Bamba. It was opened in 2009 by the owners of the taco truck Super Torta II and offers many of the same menu items. The space is clean and refined, perhaps to the point of looking less like a Mexican restaurant than a “Mexican” restaurant.

Nonetheless, eating at Super Torta feels like indoor taco trucking. The choice of food is the same as a taco truck but with the added benefit of ample seating and restrooms. The familiar taco truck options are there: tacos, tortas, burritos, gorditas, huaraches and quesadillas but in addition there are flautas and nachos, and of course the Super Torta specialities of chicharrones preparados and tlayudas.

A tlayuda is a (large) pizza size dish which a thin crispy base which is covered with refried beans, chorizo, lettuce and string cheese and then topped with avocado, a slab of al pastor, a slab of cecina (dried beef), radishes and a jalapeno. It is a monster of a dish, a bit dry by nature but definitely tasty.

Another novel dish was the tinga tostada. Tinga is a chicken stew, that we have eaten and recommended at Otro Rollo. In this case it was packed with chipotle peppers and very flavorful. The tostada was also topped with lettuce, tomatoes, a little cheese and sour cream. A great snack for $2.50.

We also tried the menudo (usually at taco trucks this is a weekend-only special). Menudo is a soup of tripe and hominy, in this case in a red chili base. The owner told us that it was homemade and explained that it takes eight hours to prepare. We could tell that it had been cooked for a long time because the tripe was extremely tender – a great choice for offal fans.

The menudo ($8) is served with a roll of corn tortillas, a bowl of finely chopped onion, cilantro and jalapeno and a couple of lime wedges.

Super Torta also offers sliced mango plates, flan, a couple of agua frescas, Jarritos, Mexican Coca Cola and some fountain drinks.

Panaderia Otro Rollo

Otro Rollo Panaderia
3866 Sullivant Avenue
614 278 2339

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When we first discovered Otro Rollo bakery last winter, we were instantly smitten by their fresh caramel filled churros. It was a lucky break – the fresh churros have proved to be elusive since then – and we spent months trying to work out the optimal time and day to strike churros gold again. During these repeated trips, we found plenty more to love at Otro Rollo, including the tres leches cake, pig shaped cookies and these chocolate covered, vanilla creme-filled donuts.

Otro Rollo has a wide variety of baked goods, and they supply a lot of the Mexican stores around town. They also make ‘special occasion’ cakes to order.

The breads and cakes are stored in glass fronted cupboards and you take a tray and use tongs to select what you want. Take the tray to the cash register and they bag everything for you. There are no prices displayed but it is good value and almost everything is under a dollar.

Without descriptions it can be a guessing game and freshness is also variable. The conchas (shell cakes, above) are more bread than cake, slightly sweet and are wonderful straight from the oven and not quite so wonderful when stale. I love all of the different designs on the conchas.

In July Otro Rollo opened their own taco truck right next to the store and some excellent offerings including the Mexican hamburgers and the chicken tinga. The truck is open long hours and even serves some breakfast foods including eggs and tamales. Over the winter the taco truck served champurrado, a chocolate atole (like a thick hot chocolate) – just what you need with one of the cakes.