One of the perks of being a frequent traveler like myself is that, since I’m going all over the country (and the world), I have a high chance of running into some interesting location or two. It may be a landmark, a natural wonder, or even something like a bar or eating place. In my last trip to Metro Manila I decided to drop by on a sweet dining establishment I’ve been told of over at Quezon City. This is Taco Joe’s Food Shack, a superbly appointed restaurant and bar that offers some delicious cuisine almost all week, morning and evening, even way past midnight on Fridays.
Taco Joe’s Food Shack is located at the third floor of 318 Katipunan Avenue in Loyola Heights, and if the name itself and its logo of a stylized luchador mask haven’t quite given it away, its general fare is mostly Mexican and Latin-American inspired dishes, mixed in with local Filipino standards. Reading their menu is mouth-watering in and of itself, and theirs cover all sorts of meals from quick snacks to filling servings. Some of the menu items that aren’t plainly obvious also have amusing names that evoke the theme and the countries that inspired the way they have been cooked or prepared.
Coming first on the menu is the Street Tacos section, as befitting its name of Taco Joe’s. They offer quite the selection of toppings for their tortillas if you’re just up for a quick snack. Listed first is the Sloppy Joe (ground beef, cheese, pico de gallo & cilantro). Next is the Baha fish (fried dory with mango salsa), Samurai (chicken fillet double-fried plus nori flakes), Smoke pulled pork (pulled pork smoked in hickory), the fitness-geared Gym (grilled chicken fillet with coleslaw and chimichuri sauce), Steak boy (tenderloin steak bits with potato shoestring fries), and finally some Crunchy sisig with cooked quail eggs for a more Pinoy taste.
If you’re looking for a multicourse meal, then Taco Joe’s Food Shack has a lineup of appetizers to start you off. Here are more Latino offerings like Nachos, Taquitos (little tacos, not the corn chip snack), Quesadilla and Mexican Wings. Other than that there are more items of a more mainstream theme like Chicharong bulaklak, Tokwa’t Baboy (with special option for vegans to have it without pork), “Dinamita” spring rolls, and a house specialty, the Jojo’s Aleta homemade bacon, deep fried till perfectly crispy.
And now we come to Taco Joe’s full meal options for diners who want to tuck in. Their rice meal menu is headlined by the Arroz a la Cubana (Cuban Rice), which is topped with savory ground beef and spiced up with fried egg and plantains along with blue-corn nacho chips. Three variants from their Street Tacos are given a large-meal facelift here, with whole boneless chicken for the Samurai, fried egg plus nacho toppings for Sisig, and the hickory-smoked Pork ribs are guaranteed 200-gram servings with apple slaw. There’s also Grilled chicken with Mexican spice marinade, with garlic tenderloin Salpicao to finish things up.
We’ve just covered what you can eat at Taco Joe’s. Now let’s go over what to drink. Lest you forget what I mentioned from the start, Taco Joe’s Food Shack is also a bar, and they’ve got a formidable selection of Cerveza items on the list. They’ve got Mojitos, Sangria and Margaritas naturally, in keeping with the general theme. But there are other blends for the good drinker to enjoy, from conventional like Long Island “Iced Tea” or Coco Lychee, and then you come to the Boracay, the Weng-Weng, the Azuri and the Puñeta (tastes so good it’ll make you swear, or so the menu says). If these are too fancy for you then Taco Joe’s also offers beer (San Miguel and Red Horse), Heineken and Smirnov Vodka.
You should also be happy to know that Taco Joe’s Food Shack offer more than just food and drink. They also have DJ sets every Thursday starting at 9 PM. And it’s just too bad that I went there past May 5, as I missed out on their Cinco de Mayo celebration where they had Tequila on stock (6 shots for P550!). Maybe I’ll make it next year.
Taco Joe’s is open from Monday to Saturday starting at 10 AM until midnight, with one exception on Fridays where they stay up until 2 AM. For information on any special events happening there, you can visit their Facebook page on http://www.facebook.com/TacoJoes. Also, check out their Instagram over at http://www.instagram.com/tacojoesmnl. Surely, at Taco Joe’s Food Shack, everyday feels like Taco Tuesday.