Learning to cook … one kid at a time

Los Gallos January 22, 2011

Filed under: Philadelphia,Restuarant Review — gastromami @ 11:18 am

When I was pregnant with Ren I could not get enough fruits and veggies

I would literally steam an entire head of broccoli, squeeze some lemon on top, maybe a little freshly grated parm, and call it dinner.

I would eat pasta with vegetables about 3 times a week and Reny would come home from the grocery store with 3 quarts of strawberries.

It’s no wonder that Ren has turned into the vegetable-loving, meat-scorning kid that he is – sometimes I think Dada Reny is a little concerned about his utter dislike for meat.  His intense love for anything green or sitting in the fruit bowl is a trait he inherited from his Nanni.   For as blonde and “gringo” as this kid is, we have always joked that #2 will come out with dark hair, dark eyes and with a Hispanic cry (seriously, Hispanic babies cry differently than American!)  It’s no wonder that some of my initial cravings were for Latin food!

One of the things we have missed the most from Memphis were the plethora of taquerias for our bi-weekly after-Mass lunch.  As anyone who loves Mexican knows, it takes a little bit of trial and error to find that one place that will always satisfy your craving and never disappoint.

For myself, a Mexican restaurant must have:

chips and salsa (duh)

tacos pastor

rice and beans

agua fresca  (i’m not picky but I love cantaloupe, pineapple or mango)




Reny has some Mexican cooks so he got a few names of restaurants and we headed out to try our first taqueria in Philadelphia.

Los Gallos

951 Wolf St.

Philadelphia, PA 19148





The restaurant looks like a corner market from the outside.

Well, it basically is a corner market with a restaurant in back.

Parking was a nightmare as it is in the middle of a neighborhood where, I’m assuming, everyone parks on the street.  We did happen to find a spot close to the restaurant after one circle of the block and headed in for dinner.

The front part of the store is a basic market – boasting a large (relative to the space) central produce area and basic necessities.

Along the wall they had a selection of Latin products, nothing too major that we couldn’t find in the Latin section at most urban groceries but it would be awesome to have it around the corner!

In the back is a deli counter and about 6 tables.

There were a few guys sitting at one table waiting for a to-go order and other than that the space was empty (it was 5:30 on a freezing cold Sunday night).

In fact, for our entire meal, no one else ate in the space but there were quite a few to-go orders being picked up.

We grabbed a table and asked for a high chair:

Big negative:  No high chairs  (i.e. nothing to strap Ren down!)

There is also a large cooler area to get your drinks:

Honestly, this could be trouble if Ren was much older.

Chock full of sweet, HFCS-filled drinks, it would be a nightmare if Ren registered anything but “jugo”

Unfortunately they did not have any aguas frescas so I settled on water and we got Ren a treat:


Ok maybe this kid is Latin afterall ….

Horchata is a rice milk drink with cinnamon – tastes pretty much like a chai latte

However, I love chai, iced or warm, but I can’t drink more than a sip of Horchata

Reny, speaking in Spanish to the lady, determined that they had homemade Horchata and ordered a glass for himself.

Well, Ren drank, drank, drank, all of his and then proceeded to drink half of Reny’s,

But, since our skinny kid has completely fallen off the charts, he can basically have whatever he wants for now until his weight bets back up.

Reny checked with me to make sure I wanted my “normal” tacos pastor, rice and beans and then proceeded to order in Spanish with our waitress.

(I’m guessing they speak English but I never heard any…)

He asked me about Ren and since he had eaten a quesadilla for lunch we ordered him a chicken torta, assuming that whatever he wouldn’t eat we would try and/or take home.

I don’t know much Spanish but I did hear the lady ask if we wanted chips, Reny saying no, so I quickly interjected that yes, we wanted chips and salsa (it turns out they are an extra $3)  Reny also ordered some guacamole with them.  (thought I didn’t hear this ….)

First the chips:

The chips were basic, homemade tortilla chips and served with a salsa verde and spicy chili aoili.

I was eating (well at least the baby’s weight) in chips before Reny informed me that he had also ordered guacamole and to “slow my roll”

The guacamole was awesome!

Fresh, and huge, Ren would’ve been happy with that as his meal

(those are his discarded chips – he basically just uses them as spoons – don’t come eat with us if you have an aversion to double-dipping)

Out next were our tacos:

Tacos Pastor

Tacos chorizo

I would seriously go back just for the tacos.  They were probably some of the best I’ve had.

Served traditionally with 2 tortillas, heaped with perfectly seasoned meat, onions, cilantro and (on the pastor) pineapple they were delicious!

Out next were the rice and beans:

Not the traditional rice and refried beans but they were delicious!  Huge, but delicious.

Although I would’ve preferred refried beans, Ren (the vegetarian) was happy with beans to pick up with his fingers.

Ren’s torta was seriously lagging time wise but it wasn’t a big deal as he was perfectly happy with our radishes (seriously, what is the deal with taquerias and radishes), guacamole, and beans.

The torta (a traditional Mexican sandwich so named for the way the bread is shaped like a turtle (or tortuga) shell) was huge!  It was loaded with chicken, ham (because you have to have pork somewhere I assume), lettuce, roasted peppers, queso fresco and avocado.

While, since eating at Los Tortugas in Memphis for the past 5 years, I am pretty much a “torta snob,”  I have to say that this sandwich was delicious.

Ren, however, didn’t eat more than one bite.  Thank goodness for a pregnant mama 🙂


All in all the dinner was good.



A few negatives:

No high chairs

Extra charge for chips and salsa

A tiny tiny bathroom with space to change a diaper



On a positive note:

The guacamole, tacos and torta were awesome!

And, after all, we went for the food so I’m assuming we will be back (or at least ordering takeout!)