September 17, 2019
Yes, yes, yes; IT'S TUESDAY! And are you into a good old fashioned taco joint? I love a good Mexican restaurant, and I love one that serves up good eats, especially the tacos after all! I mean, I have been chatting about this for the past few weeks so wouldn't you expect that?
I had the pleasure of checking out the latest establishment to hit Hampden - Papi's Tacos - a few weeks ago. Actually, the owner's are pretty familiar with the restaurant scene. Papi's has had "roots" in Baltimore for a while, with the first location in historic Fell's Point, alongside sister restaurants "Alexander's Tavern," and "Huck's American Grill" in the neighboring Brewer's Hill.
Okay, back to 'da tacos. When they call it a "Taco Joint," that is, exactly what you are getting. Please, do not get me wrong; the vibe is FUN, TRENDY, and very Hampden-like. Industrial meets vibrant colors of aqua, yellow, gold, (dark) wood, metal and some burgundy's thrown in too.
Upon walking in, you either feel that you are stepping into a really cool, modern basement OR in a "suped" up garage, OR "That 70's Show". An exposed beam ceiling is adorned with string lights; the walls are distressed with colors of gray, teal, and white splattered accordingly; pictures, signs, and neon lights grace the walls; colored flowered pots with those super tacky Gerbera Daisies (but they so work) are strategically placed throughout; and wood table tops with colored metal chairs make a statement throughout.
Wait, THIS alcove probably makes the biggest statement of all!
With an extensive cocktail list, as well as menu, I decided to go with a tequila - Casamigos, of course - on the rocks with a lime. Here is the picture that I, hope, will go viral one day - ha! I know, BIG DREAMS! P.S. Love that they serve Casamigos...all 3 varieties too! Is that the proper way to say it? Varieties?
I started with their "Queso Fundido" because, well, it's FUN and that is what was striking my fancy. The cool thing is you can get all kinds of fillers, different than a lot of places, so I chose the chicken tinga and veggies (which included a bunch of different root vegetables). Definitely, a different twist!
And, in true #fit4janine fashion, I ate the queso with a fork, and did not bother with the chips. No judgements! I did ask if they had assorted crudities but that came up short. Oh well, the fork was fine. NOW, on to the tacos! What's cool is that you can build your own taco; from shell, to filling, to salsa, etc. Now, I was lucky, they were able to do a lettuce shell BUT that is not always the case. I guess you have to get them on the right day (or tell them Janine Serio sent you)!
While there is a plethora of fillings to choose from, I decided on the sautéed shrimp, and they were fabulous! Generally, I can take or leave shrimp, but these were super yummy and cooked to perfection! If I had not already had my fill of guacamole, I would, definitely, try the house guac, as well as some of their other taco fillings and/or salads.
Great spot for a casual, and FUN, weeknight (or weekend) outing or, possibly, first date. Not super loud but not super intimate either. You can go, have good drinks, good conversation, and it not feel "1st date awkward." Ha! Please, do not take dating advice from me though!
Happy Tuesday love!
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