6.03.2014

The Legend of El Chupacabra : Mexican Street Tacos


El Chupacabra just opened April last year, with no sign and no extensive marketing, and already it has created such a buzz in the food scene. It is a sister company/restaurant of Mexicali and Cafe Med. I personally met the owner last year during one of our events in our resort (www.coritosgarden.com) which Mexicali catered. Dixie mentioned his newly opened Mexican street joint that time. And I told him that I would definitely check it out since it's a stone's throw away from by hubby's tattoo shop.  I made my first visit with friends last year and have been a big fan since then.
This laid-back, almost "Bangkok street vibe" sets it apart and gives it an undeniable charm. It is no surprise that  it was picked up quickly by the Manila food scene.  The place gets packed almost every night with both locals and foreigners who wanted to satisfy their mexican craving.  

I had a chance to sit down with their marketing head  Julian who happens to be the stepson of the owner. I asked him how the name "El Chupacabra" came about. He said that it was actually only by chance. Dixie Mabanta, his stepfather, was drinking one night with a foreigner friend and in their still lucid conversation they discussed what they can do with the Mexicali place (the space was occupied by it before). And like a lightbulb "Eureka" moment, Dixie said, "Why not name the new place El Chupacabra?". The friend simply laughed and shrugged it off thinking it was a joke. But as it turns out, Dixie really used this name and set up is now the famous "El Chupacabra".

A typical night scene at the resto
One might ask , "what is it really?". El Chupacabra is a legendary cryptid rumored to inhabit parts of the Americas, with the first sightings reported in Puerto Rico.The name comes from the animal's reported habit of attacking and drinking the blood of livestock, especially goats. It is purportedly a heavy creature, the size of a small bear, with a row of spines reaching from the neck to the base of the tail. The restaurant's logo reflects this mythical creature. Pretty cool, right?

The colorful wall behind all the open grill and range



The menu consists of a wide selection of Mexican favorites from their specialty tacos, familiar items from Mexicali and even some interesting desserts and meal enders. 

A mexican street taco is made up of a freshly-made soft corn tortilla (made from corn masa instead of flour) and can be ordered with assorted fillings such as lengua (tongue), carnitas, camaron, chorizo, balbacoa, etc. It is then toped with onions, cilantro and some salsa. Typically served open-faced in a small plate with a piece of lime (in their case, they give one calamansi!) so you can squeeze some juice before you devour it. Because of its small size, you can probably eat about 3-5 pieces depending on your appetite!




I sampled their top bestseller street tacos (The hubby had to eat the ones with pork because sadly I don't eat pork anymore!) each served with 2 small corn tortillas (they intentionally double the tortillas to make sure the filling holds as it can get wet and break down easily). 


San Francisco-Style  Lean Sisig 
Php 95.00


Carne Asada (Grilled Steak)
Php 95.00

Carnitas / Roast Pork
Php 95.00



Spicy Goat
Php 150.00 
This is another house specialty patterned after the Mexican birria stew. Spicy, super tender shredded goat meat infused with chile. The goat meat has a very unique flavor (just like lamb has a distinct taste) which I really enjoyed plus it's actually 
healthier than beef because it is leaner.

California Fish Bajas
Php 125.00
Mind you, they do not use dory fish! *phew*

And wait, they have Vegetarian tacos as well! Woohoo! So those who feel like eating something light and less guilt-free, here are some options;


Soyrizo
Php 125.00
Another delightful surprise. A vegetarian offering that even omnivores will enjoy! Chopped tofu seasoned to taste like chorizo and potatoes! I would certainly go back for this. 


Vegetariano/ Roasted Vegetables
Php 95.00
Another option for my vegetarian friends out there! I may be biased on this one though because I really love vegetables in general so I'm a happy duck if I get this as well! Although given a choice, I would go for the soyrizo! ;)

Grilled Boneless Chicken Skewers
Php 50.00

This has got to be one of my favorites. 2 sticks of perfectly grilled chicken with a nice spiced rub and a vinegar dipping sauce. This is a real winner!


Butterscotch Pie
Php 108.00
Nice torching on the ends to create this star shape! I love the custard with a slight citrus hint. Perfect way to end the tasty and rich meal!

Their food is casual, unpretentious, straight-forward and authentic. And best of all is you get an awesome al-fresco dining and cool vibe on this interesting part of the Makati (also known as Burgos, the Red Light District) *wink* 

Here's their menu:





New offering : Sharing platters which are good for big groups and parties! Come one, come all!





Follow them in FB (el chupacabra ph)  and IG (elchupacabraph)

Inside : their walls are filled with writings from when they started although it got a bit out of hand so they stopped making people write already! I love the saying on the panel : "At El Chupacabra, there are no strangers, only friends who have not yet met."

Spot the small bell hanging above the entrance? Every night they ring that bell and everyone gets a free shot! Now isn't that cool? Great way to reel people in and make them stay! 


Let the legend of El Chupacabra live on...

This was my first time to try it with friends - August last year. 
We loved it then and still love it now!

El Chupacabra
5782 Felipe Street corner Polaris street, Makati City
(02) 895 1919

Operating Hours :
Mon - Tue: 8:00 am - 12:00 am
Wed - Thu8:00 am - 2:00 am
Fri - Sat8:00 am - 3:00 am
Sun8:00 am - 2:00 am

cheers,
Pattie









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