Ever since Taqueria Chilanga at the old Greenbelt Food Court closed down, there has been a dearth of restaurants and stalls selling proper Mexican food. All we’ve been getting in this part of the world are localized spins on the usual suspects: tacos and burritos, maybe a plate of nachos and some quesadillas.
And then a place like Cantina Deliciosa pops up and throws the locals in a whirl. You can kiss Mexicali goodbye and give Army/Navy the boot: the food at this cantina is generously portioned, most flavorful, reasonably priced, and tastes more authentic than anything the other tortilla-flappers can throw at you.
Case in point: the enchiladawith Mexican rice. It doesn’t look like any enchilada you may have eaten before; indeed, as shown in the picture above, it looks more like a slab of some pasta traybake like a lasagne or a Greek pastitsio. However, if you’ve read Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate, you may have probably come across champandongo in one of the chapters. Referred to by those north of the border as “Mexican lasagne”, it features savory spiced meat layered with cheese and tortillas and baked. That’s how Cantina Deliciosa does their enchiladas: chili-infused (I caught a hint of chipotle and nubs of finely-chopped jalapeno in there) chicken shreds layered between tortillas with a creamy cheese sauce. A drizzle of garlic sauce and hot sauce plus a generous cup of arroz Mexicana, and that’s a fab lunch. (Oh, and for the whole thing, you need only shell out P 100.oo. ;))
Another time, I tried one of the daily specials, the Triple B Breakfast Burrito. It was easily bigger than one you could get at Army/Navy and was stuffed to the gills with strips of omelet, chunks of garlicky chorizo, strips of amazingly crunchy and smoky bacon, arroz Mexicana, tomatoes, onions, and a garlic/chili sauce that brought everything together into a muy delicioso whole. Price tag? Just P 100.00! Seriously: P 50.00 – 100.00 is all you need to shell out for some tasty, rib-sticking south-of-the-border grub. 😀
And, because I was feeling rather peckish of late, today’s lunch was the stall’s deliciously porky flautas filled with smoky carnitas, cheese, and cilantro, served with a wee tub of garlic sauce. It definitely hit the spot on a day when I was feeling hungry but my appetite was sort of shot.
Cantina Deliciosa – The Galleon Food Avenue, BA Lepanto Bldg., Paseo de Roxas, Makati / 400-33-99.