Lunch in Lynn: Mexican Mulitas at Lupita Restaurant

Posted: February 3rd, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Lupita Restaurant, Lynn, Mexican | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Ever since we started the Dish, we’ve had the idea to do a “Lunch in Lynn” series to explore the plethora of ethnic eateries there, so when Corey Jackson of Downtown Lynn wanted company for lunch, I was all for it.

Our destination was Lupita Restaurant, the new location opened by the owners of Tacos Lupita, also on Monroe Street. The interior is bright and open, and the décor leaves no question that you are in a Mexican restaurant.

After perusing the extensive menu, we ordered at the counter and then found a table. We had just started to chat and sip our Mexican sodas, (I tried the Boing! Mango, which was awesome) when the server brought our food.

Billed as appetizers on their menu, both the pupusa ($2) and the mulita ($4) are hearty enough to have been my entire lunch. The pupusa revueltas, the smaller of the two, was a thick corn tortilla stuffed with queso and a mix of ground pork and beans served with a tangy cabbage slaw and salsa. While tasty, I preferred the mulita al pastor (shown at left), a sandwich of two grilled corn tortillas filled with roast pork (al pastor means “shepherd style,” from a rotisserie) cheese, beans, and lettuce. It had a unique savory rich mix of tastes that I really enjoyed and will definitely return for.

We also tried a carne asada burrito ($6), which was packed full of meat, beans, and rice. The flavor of the grilled beef was quite good, but I was stuffed after the mulita, and most of the burrito came home with me for the next day’s lunch.

My dining companion went all out and ordered a specialty plate, which featured breaded and fried steak (similar to the mudiga steak found in Gloucester) served with rice and beans and a salad with nice chunks of fresh avocado. As artery threatening as it sounds, it was delicious, the meat tender and flavorful.

Lupita is a great place for lunch, especially if you’re on a budget. The food is tasty and served quickly, and the portions are a bargain at these prices. Corey tells me they are waiting on a liquor license that could make them a great cheap eats destination for dinner as well as lunch.

While Lynn perennially suffers from a bad reputation, much is changing in the downtown area, and interesting things are starting to happen both in the arts and the food scene. The  available variety of ethnic cuisine alone is worth venture over the border.

Lupita Restaurant
22 Monroe Street, Lynn
(781) 599-3004

Lupita Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Salem’s New Mexican Choices a Let Down

Posted: October 16th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Comida, Howling Wolf, Mexican, Salem | Tags: , , | 17 Comments »

With so few choices for Mexican food on the North Shore, we were thrilled that two such places were opening in Salem within weeks of each other. In fact, we were so excited that we didn’t wait long before trying them and were disappointed. We had mediocre meals at both, although Comida’s food was overall better than Howling Wolf’s.

Howling Wolf is a large restaurant with an industrial feel. The decor is interesting, but the space felt uncomfortable to us, with the exception of a lively bar at one end serving beer, wine, and sangria.

The chips and guacamole ($4.50) were very good, with a nice kick to the guac. The shrimp quesadillas ($8.25) was also tasty, and we enjoyed the posole ($6.50) even though it wasn’t hot enough temperature-wise. But the burritos were very disappointing, with flavorless rice, watery tomatoes, and dry meat in the shredded beef ($6.25) and not much more appeal in the steak version ($7). The two tacos we tried also let us down; the fish was just okay ($3.25), and the pork with red chile marinade was too spicy for our palates ($2.50).

Chips and guacamole, pork taco and burrito from Howling Wolf

Comida is take-out rather than a restaurant, although it has a few counter stools and a cheery, appealing interior. The pork taco ($3.25) and the pork carnitas and steak burritos were very good (both $6.75). The burritos were large and included quality ingredients, and we’d definitely return for them.

One nice feature is a large list of burrito fillings that includes mole, pico de gallo, mango-corn salsa, guacamole, and queso sauce, among others. However, we had a bit of an ordering mix up–two of our party wanted their burritos without beans and assumed if they didn’t list beans among their desired fillings that the burritos would be bean-free. This was not the case; the steak burrito came with unrequested black beans, and the chicken burrito came with pinto beans ($6.50).

The quesadillas were similarly very heavy on black beans, and they were not the style we are used to: soft tortillas folded around ingredients rather than flat, crisp ones. We were also surprised by the chips and guacamole; the chips were stale and the guacamole portion was tiny. So was the side of mango-corn salsa, although for only .50, we shouldn’t complain. But the same can’t be said for the ensalda de comida ($4.50), which had lettuce, avocado, and queso fresco, tortilla strips that turned out to be crushed chips, avocado lime dressing that somehow managed to be without flavor, and a few steamed vegetables, similarly flavorless ($4.50).

We’re assuming that at least some of these missteps are due to the newness of both places. We plan to return at some point to test our theory, and we welcome comments about readers’ experiences in the meantime.

Chips and guacamole, pork taco and burrito from Comida

Comida
131 Essex St., Salem
(978) 594-8220
www.comidasalem.com

Comida on Urbanspoon

Howling Wolf
76 Lafayette St, Salem
(978) 744-WOLF
www.feedyourwolf.com

Howling Wolf on Urbanspoon

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