Food & Drink

Everywhere in the 215 to celebrate not-Mexican independence

While useless trivia like "Mexican Independence Day is actually September 16th and has absolutely nothing to do with Cinco de Mayo" will just have people thinking you're lame and boring, invaluable knowledge like where to find the best guac, margaritas, tequila, and waitresses will have them so impressed they won't even mind when you regale them with stories of the Battle of Puebla.Best MargaritasLolita106 S 13th St; 215.546.7100Hit up the state store (or, better yet, New Jersey) for the tequila of your choosing and bring your brown-paper-ed bottle to Lolita, the a BYOTequila joint slinging carafes of house-made seasonal mixers like wild mint-ed watermelon puree and purple basil-strawberry.That's right -- brown bag it...Craziest Taco FillingLos Taquitos de Puebla1149 S 9th St; 215.334.0664Feed your face with every part of a cow's at this so-authentic-the-website-is-in-Spanish South Philly taqueria, where maybe it's best you don't know your tortillas are stuffed with beef eye, tongue, and cheek.How's your Spanish?...Best SalsaDistrito3945 Chestnut St; 215.222.1657The gourmet salsa at Jose Garces's West Philly modern Mexican joint blends San Roma tomatoes and roasted jalapenos, bringing Sunday sauce flavor South of the border.See what the Iron Chef can do...Best GuacamoleEl Vez121 S 13th St; 215.928.9800Philly's most iconic restaurateur is responsible for the city's most decadent avocado mashes, like the goat cheese-pistachio-roasted tomato "Bazooka" Limon and Oaxacan knockout De La Hoya, which packs a white onion, basil, and roasted garlic punch.You know you want some, Hass...Best Outdoor SpaceHonest Tom's Taco Shop261 S 44th St; 215.620.1851Scope from the sidewalk at Philly's most forthright taqueria, rolling out egg-, cheese-, guac-, and home fries-stuffed breakfast tacos and burritos every morning, and doling out daily specials like smoked brisket and spicy shrimp ceviche.You should honestly go here...Best NachosPure Tacos1935 Chestnut St; 215.496.9393The Ocean City taco shop's Rittenhouse lunch spot solves the McDonald's vs. Chipotle dilemma by piling chips with chopped spiced beef, shredded cheddar, ketchup, and mustard.Hooray for fusion cuisine...Hottest WaitressesEl Rey2013 Chestnut St; 215.563.3330Putting the "so fun" in "queso fundido", the servers at Stephen Starr's Center City Mexi-cantina El Rey are sure to have you saying "ay chiuhuahua!" as they melt... more than your chihuahua.Oh, and they serve food, too...Best Tequila SelectionCantina Los Caballitos1651 E Passyunk Ave; 215.755.3550Shots and flights of nearly 100 tequilas are here accompanied by house-made three-juice-and-a-chili sangrita chasers, and, once a month, the EPass cantina hosts Tequila Club, pairing sips like smoky Del Maguey Mezcal Vida with pepper jack cheesesteak empanadas.Cue the Pee Wee music...

Margaritas made with Lolita BYOT's housemade mixers
Los Taquitos de Puebla's offal tacos
Roma tomato salsa at Jose Garces' Distrito Cantina
Bazooka Limon guacamole at Stephen Starr's El Vez
A sidewalk parklet outside Honest Tom's Taco Shop
Cheeseburger Nachos at Pure Tacos in Center City
the hostess at stephen starr's el rey restaurant
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Tequila and shooter at Cantina Los Caballitos