I strolled into Pepita Cantina by Mike Isabella on one of the first nice days of the spring. This Mexican joint is conveniently located just behind the Ballston Metro stop, right next to Yona and Kapnos Taverna. I was meeting my good friend, Kristi, for all-you-can-eat tacos for $19. We’d been invited in, so brunch was kindly on the house today.
The deal is $19 for bottomless tacos, chips, and salsa. We never got any salsa, but then again we were too busy chatting to notice and ask for any. We put in an order for guacamole and a pineapple margarita and caught up on life.
The margarita was made with Altos Plata tequila, Applejack, chili honey, and lime. It had a hint of spice, but went down easily. This was a great drink all around. The guacamole was plentiful and flavorful—despite his Italian roots, it turns out Mike Isabella can do Mexican, too.
Note: cilantro is very prevalent in many of the dishes here. I love cilantro, but if you’re one of those unfortunate souls who is genetically predisposed to dislike the green garnish–be warned.
We ordered one of everything and munched on the warm chips and guac while we waited for our tacos, while discussing how much we loved the decor of Pepita. We made a mental note to come back for Tiki Thursdays and make use of the gorgeous patio space and fun drinks!
Now for the tacos–these bad boys are filling! We shortly realized that in order to make the deal worthwhile, you’d have to eat at least five. We were pretty full after three to four tacos and our guacamole. Our advice is to go starving or just order them a la carte.
We thought that there was enough variety amongst the tacos and that the menu offered something for everyone. Our favorite tacos included the veggies, the huevos, and the red chili chicken. Each taco was full of plenty of meat and great slaws or vegetables. These tacos were all fresh, well crafted, and hearty.
The veggie taco was made with crispy chili cauliflower, pickled cabbage, avocado, and sunflower shoots. I am a huge fan of cauliflower–and I especially love it when it’s battered and fried. We could have eaten the cauliflower just by itself because it was that good. The chicken was a bit spicy, but not too much. These were made with shredded chicken, avocado, crema, and radish.
The huevos taco was the only real breakfast-inspired taco. This taco was made with egg, chorizo, refried beans, poblanos, and cotija cheese. We recommend eating this one first because no one likes lukewarm eggs. The flavors and consistency were spot on as well. Kristi thoroughly enjoyed her shrimp taco. She loved the avocado slaw.
We didn’t love the smoked carnitas or the beef tongue. I would say I’m adventurous eater, but the beef tongue just didn’t float my boat. We would have liked a fajita style beef or something else of that nature. The carnitas tasted really fatty which, for us, ruined this particular taco.
I ordered another drink, because why not? This time around, I chose the pomegranate margarita, made with Mezcal, ginger, lemon, and cardamom. This drink was very smoky because of the Mezcal. It surprised me at first and I wasn’t sure if I liked it–but after a couple more sips I began to really enjoy this beverage.
We wished that there was a drink deal or bottomless mimosas along with the bottomless tacos. We dined in the afternoon, so I was ready for a margarita. However, any earlier and I might not have been able to stomach tequila–as was Kristi’s dilemma.
The Bitches say: B. Visit Pepita if you want tasty, hearty tacos. We’d like it even more if there was a drink deal alongside these all-you-can-eat tacos. We’re making a reservation now for their Tiki Thursdays–the margaritas are top notch!