Wednesday, July 18, 2007

El Ranchito

The moment I heard about El Ranchito, I wrote it on my list of restaurants to try in the city. Mexican may be my favorite genre of cuisine. I blame a childhood spent in southern California where I was spoiled by fresh fish tacos and insanely good burritos at Lalo's. And while arguments abound about the best taqueria in Philly, I was happy to hear of another establishment opening up in Fishtown at 2nd and Master.
El Ranchito 003
Alison and I were starving at a relatively early hour and headed to El Ranchito last Wednesday. We both agreed their chips were awesome. Clearly homemade, the chips were light but with a rich corn flavor. If you look closely at the photo you can can actually see the granules of salt sticking to the slightly oily chips. Fantastic.
El Ranchito 005
I'm a firm believer that a simple dish can make a restaurant. For Mexican places, that dish is guacamole. If they screw guacamole up, then why even bother? Unfortunately, on this day, El Ranchito was out of guacamole. Alison and I hypothesized it might have something to do with the outrageous price of avocados which is directly correlated to the wild fires out west this season. Hopefully by my next visit, the guacamole will be back. To substitute we ordered the bean dip which came out hot and sprinkled with cotija cheese. It had a slightly spicy kick, and maintained good textural contrast between the mushed up beans and some whole ones.
El Ranchito 007
Alison ordered the steak quesadilla which came with a little salad on the side, as well as lime wedges to squeeze over the whole dish.
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I ordered the Carnitas grilled burrito, which was stuffed with roasted pork, rice, cheese, and beans and covered with more cheese and sour cream. The carnitas was rocking. It was everything slow roasted pork is supposed to be, tender, moist and flavorful.

All this food, plus two sodas only set us back $13.98, a definite steal.

Their take-out menu is extensive and specifies they deliver as well. At the moment, however, they've yet to hire a delivery driver, so give them a few weeks before trying to enjoy a Mexican fiesta at home.

El Ranchito
2nd and Master
Philadelphia, PA 19122


  1. Georgia said...
    Wow, that looks AWESOME!!! I love, love, love mexican food. My friend always takes me to the Taqueria on 9th and Washington - super tasty, you should check it out. Get the taco lunch special and make sure you get a pork and pineapple taco (you get to choose 3 for like $5 and its a ton of food)
    E said...
    Washington Ave is a hot bed of awesome Mexican. My favorite by far is Taqueria Veracruzana. Which one are you talking up?
    Georgia said...
    Yeah, thats the one! That place is awesome, the food is soooooo good.
    E said...
    I'll eat anything at Veracruzana with their grilled steak. It has this awesome maple syrup kind of flavor to it. Man, I want some NOW.

    Thanks for the tip on the pork and pineapple taco, sounds delicious. I'll try it next time.
    Bill said...
    You can also get your pineapple "on" with the Tacos al Pastor around the corner at Taquitos de Puebla (on 9th). Maybe you'll be into the grilled cactus salad too?
    bubba said...
    you know... we get a lot of Avacados from the country of CHILE..actually we get a lot of produce from there.. what part of So Cal are you from?? i love going down to Baja (Ensenada) mexico and having some fresh FISH TACOS with lots of CREAMA fresca mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
    Anonymous said...
    Just slightly off the beaten path of the Mex-Italian Market is Taqueria Puerto Veracruzano, at 8th and Dickinson. My favorite Taqueira, and I've been to practically all of them.

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