This will be the third time that we will be reviewing La Carnita Modern Mexican food. However, what is different now is that from simply being a purveyor at the Food Hive, it finally has its own establishment. Plus, it is not just a cantina anymore. They have slow smoked meats. That goes to show that their food is not merely a trend but it is here to stay.
By the way, if you are here for the video, here is the link. Enjoy!
Moving on, for our recent visit, it was really special as we got to personally talk to the friendly owner, Ms. Aiza Mesina. We certainly took the opportunity to interview her about how she started La Carnita.
An Inspirational Story of Passion
Ms. Aiza, ever since she was a child, has already been passionate about cooking and has longed for having her own restaurant.
“Tandang tanda ko chocolate crinkles ang ginawa ko out of Milo powder. From there palang, alam ko ng gusto ko ng magluto,” recalled by her.
[I can vividly remember that I made chocolate crinkles out of Milo powder. From there, I know, I wanted to cook.]
Opting for a degree in Entrepreneurship instead of Culinary Arts, Ms. Aiza spent time creating food that will make her customers leave with a happy feeling each time they dine. Eventually, she set up her food business when there was an opening at The Food Hive food park.
The Food Hive, as mentioned before, is not just any food park. It is home to young award winning and talented chefs. Despite it, Ms. Aiza’s dishes held ground and has also acquired steady loyal patrons like us. So it does not come as a surprise that her new restaurant always has customers no matter what time. Or if there is a down time, it’s really short. We have personally experienced it.
Ms. Aiza, for us then, is a living proof that you can succeed in serving good food even without formal training. What is just necessary is to carry out one’s passion with hard work. And, most importantly for restaurateurs, it is to ensure that customers will be happy with one’s food from quality to the price point.
Hoping the budding start-up entrepreneurs will be inspired by her story.
Thanks to Ms. Aisa’s husband’s expertise in interior design and Ms. Aisa’s personal preference on decor the place looked stylish yet unintimidating. Every corner of the restaurant has a distinct look to it. In addition, most of the materials used are recycled which makes it even more impressive.
They utilized grills and hung pendant lights on it.
Meanwhile, the artificial grass adds a calming effect which I think is really helpful when the place is packed with customers.
For this area, they converted a door from an old house into a table. The mosaic tiles that filled the wall made this spot eye-catching.
Dishes sold in The Food Hive can be found in the restaurant as well. However, the restaurant boasts of new offerings that aren’t served in their food park branch.
CHIMICHANGA, PHP 190 (or USD 3.8)
Ever wanted to try Deadpool’s favorite food? This is your chance!
La Carnita’s chimichanga is essentially a burrito that is just deep-fried to a light golden crisp. But, in typical La Carnita fashion, their version has tons and tons of melted cheese. Each bite will have you munching.
Also, instead of it served on a bed of lettuce, it is served on the side. I greatly appreciate that as I get to enjoy the chimichanga on its own. When the cheese gets cloying, I can easily scoop on the lettuce topped with cucumber salsa and cilantro dressing. Or I can easily utilize the sauces served with the chimichanga to enhance its flavor.
Being deep-fried, its wrap is oily and, with the amount of cheese it has, it can be messy to eat. However, it’s all worth it! I know their nachos is their bestseller as well as the people’s favorite but I think I found my new go-to food.
LA COMIDA B CHICKEN, PHP 185 (or USD 3.6)
Most of the Filipinos can’t eat meals without rice. So La Carnita Modern Mexican + Slow Cooked Meat’s la comida, which directly translates to meals, are a perfect addition to their menu.
Below are the differences between A, B, and C:
- A – Choice of smoked meat and choice of rice.
- B- Choice of smoked meat, choice of rice, and 1 side dish.
- C- Choice of smoked meat, choice of rice, and 2 side dishes.
For my la comida, I chose chicken with burrito rice. Their smoked chicken is noticeably cooked at the right amount of time as its juiciness is retained. What I also love about it is that the seasoned spices blended nicely with the smoky flavor it got. Adequate in size, the tender and flavorful chicken, when paired with burrito rice, all the more needs no help on flavoring from the sauces that come with it. Drizzling it with the improved chili verde sauce adds mild heat.
What came as my side dish was their grilled elote. La Carnita’s version has the kernels off the cob. I think it is a great idea since it’s friendly to those who wear dentures or braces. Moreover, I can focus on enjoying it with the combination of its creamy dressing, parmesan cheese, and powdered chili. I just think the corn should be charred more for the grilled flavor.
RIBS FROM LA COMIDA
So for this one, I only got to have a small bite of it since Me-An wanted it all for herself. It is fall off the bone tender. In fact, Me-An could easily rip it off even when she uses her fork gently.
And with the slathered BBQ sauce on it, it’s just lip-smackingly delicious. The garlic rice perfectly complements it as well. No wonder only the bone was the only thing left behind by Me-An.
Me-An and I debated on whether this works or not. It started with me noticing that it was too spicy. In the end, I admitted my defeat as chopped jalapeño truly livened up the coleslaw. We also found out later on that customers have the choice whether they want a plain coleslaw or one with jalapeño.
Despite this being an interesting side dish, its watery dressing bothers me. I think, when the cabbage is prepared right, this has the chance to turn into a great coleslaw that it should be.
If you’re searching for La Carnita on Google, the food below is what most probably have directed you to our website.
NACHOS A LA BOMBA, PHP 195 (or USD 3.86)
What I said before, “the best modern nachos I’ve tried” still holds true even until more than six months later.
The flavorful beef – the carpet of cheese – a drizzle of cilantro dressing combination over grilled crisp nachos make it the bomb of nacho awesomeness. It is so awesome that it appeals to all kinds of nationalities across generations. So, if you find yourself in the Philippines, do not, I repeat, do not ever miss visiting La Carnita Modern Mexican Cantina/ Slow Cooked Meats for this.
How it is presented is also a show not to be missed. I’m sure you’ll gorge the Nachos a la Bomba after seeing it.
Just a gentle reminder again. Please eat it while it is still warm. It is not because the chips become soggy. But it’s because the cheese solidifies and you will no longer enjoy the stringy cheese.
P.S. We had Nachos a la Bomba leftover since its serving size is huge and we had plenty of food to eat. So Me-An took home the leftover. Much to her surprise and enjoyment, the nachos still was delicious after reheating it in the microwave. I guess, every time we visit, we’ll be taking this home so we can enjoy it with our binge watching.
MINT MANGO BREWED ICE TEA, PHP 60 (or USD 1.19)
La Carnita’s drinks deserve attention too. It may look like any other iced tea, but, as it is freshly brewed and mango is added, it becomes distinct. The strong tea taste and sweet, fruity taste of mango are blended seamlessly into a drink that is just refreshingly delightful. With its affordable price, it shouldn’t be too hard to add to your meal.
By the way, Me-An has been itching to try Caramel Horchata ever since she found out that it’s added to their menu. So next time we come back expect this blog post to be updated with our thoughts on it.
La Carnita Modern Mexican Cantina Menu
Love La Carnita Modern Mexican + Slow Smoked Meats
Our interest with La Carnita Modern Mexican, indeed, started with their Nachos a la Bomba. However, there are more reasons for us to keep coming back with their chimichanga, la comida, homemade sauces, and other menu items. It’s also the perfect restaurant for cheese lovers like us since they are generous with it. Knowing also the inspiring story of Ms. Aisa, the owner, and, not to mention, she is hands-on with the business, made us patronize La Carnita more.
I’m hoping they’ll open a branch in the south next so my family can try it as well. Also, I hope they’ll use sauce dish so it’s more environmentally friendly now that it’s a restaurant.
Finally, we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, we absolutely love La Carnita. So don’t hesitate to bring your date, family or friends here because you won’t regret it.
We sincerely would like to thank Ms. Aisa for making our supposed date more meaningful and enjoyable with her story. Also, for treating us to her delicious good food. Don’t worry as always I do my best to be completely honest with my thoughts. To her pleasant staff, thank you for also being hardworking and keeping La Carnita what it is now.
La Carnita Modern Mexican + Slow Smoked Meats
Second Floor, Regis Center, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.
Operating Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM daily