December 26, 2011 | 8:11am
Now we're bringing you a taste of Barrio Queen. Best of all, there's no waiting around. Barrio Queen opens today. So after you're done drooling all over your keyboard, you can jet down to Old Town and try out the tacos y tequila yourself.
7114 East Stetson Drive, Scottsdale480-656-4197Hours: 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to 3 a.m., Friday and Saturday; 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday.
Hungry? Read on to see more of Barrio Queen's extensive menu...
|Colorful artwork and murals wrap around the interior.|
The new Queen of Old Town is located in the SouthBridge space that used to be home to Metro Brasserie, but you certainly won't be able to recognize the old tenants after stepping foot into Barrio Queen. The casual tequileria and Mexican food joint boasts outdoor walk-up windows, call ahead-pick up windows, and a counter-ordering system to keep the orders moving along and the tequila flowing.
Step inside the brightly colored Barrio Queen, snag a menu, and peruse over ten pages of Mexican eats. (If narrowing down your order isn't difficult enough, the beautiful local artwork and murals by artists like Angel Diaz, Thomas "Breeze" Marcus, Lalo Cota, and Gennaro Garcia are also there to distract from the decision making process.) Place your order at the large "Order Here" sign, and have a seat. All your cold cervezas, tequila shots, and food will be brought to your table of choice.
In addition to tacos and tequila, are plenty of pre-dinner nibbles like elote vasito. Corn-off-the-cob tossed with a roasted pepper mix and layered with buttery mayo, aged cotija cheese that cut through the sweetness of the corn, and of course Tapatio and lime. Or snag a flor de calabeza quesadilla, filled with fresh squash blossoms that were slightly wilted and smothered in hand-pulled Oaxacan cheese.
|Flor de calabaza quesadilla from Barrio Queen.|
The tamales are also good enough to eat year round, forget about limiting your intake to the holidays! Esparza uses lard in her masa to make it light and fluffy. The perfect accompaniment to the filings: sweet, complex mole chicken wrapped in a banana leaves, muy picante chile verde tamales with a blend of rajas (peppers), and a mellow sweet corn tamale perfect for balancing the heat.
Esparza's new menu also boasts more than 50 types of tacos (and she hopes to keep adding more varieties as inspiration strikes!), and we were lucky enough to try four varieties. The cochinita pibil were melt-in-your-mouth, flavorful porky goodness. Marinated, slow roasted pork came to us topped with roasted onions and pico de gallo. A couple shakes of habanero hot sauce was all we needed to make those tacos burn so good.
If the thought of haberno-laced pico de gallo has you wetting your chones, the arrachera tacos are a much safer bet. Tender grilled flank steak topped with onions and cilantro, wrapped in a warm corn tortilla. Or walk on the wild side with the nopal y huevo tacos, which you can get all day long. Strips of cactus pad are tossed with other veggies and topped with a broken fried salt 'n' pepper egg. It holds true that everything is better with a fried egg on it.
If you're looking for something new, try the arabe tacos, inspired by Middle Eastern flavors. Marinated pork is rough chopped and tossed in a flour tortilla with a cool, cucumber salsa. Different from the norm, but no less tasty.
Don't miss the New Year's Eve Party! Not only will it mark the christening of Silvana Bistro right next door (Esparza's new more upscale Euro-Mexican eatery), but Barrio Queen will be celebrating with low riders, a DJ spinning Cumbia beats, all day happy hour prices, and menudo (the sure fire remedy to any hang over) until 3 a.m. on New Year's Day.
Now that's a fiesta!
More Barrio Queen eye candy here