Even though the anniversary commemorates a military battle that Mexico won over France, more people celebrated Cinco de Mayo in the United States than in any other country in the world last week.
Mexican food, beer, mariachis and fun are ingrained into the cultural fabric of the U.S. But Americans still love the convenience of fast food and the ability to have it our way.
Now Forest Hills residents have an inexpensive place to take part in the south-of-the-border boom without giving up on the American way: Marianella’s Taqueria, which opened less than a month ago.
While listening to Latin music in the background and looking at Chicano art on the walls and NY1 on a wide-screen TV, patrons can actually order their own style tacos, burritos, quesadillas and empanadas from a buffet.
The Taco Twosome offers the choice between hard and soft tortillas with steak, beef, chicken or vegetables. Then there are the burritos, which include the same meat options with fresh tortillas or a taco salad basket. True to its name, the quesadillas come with steak, chicken or vegetables with melted cheese.
Filling options include white, yellow or brown rice, black or pinto beans and a mix of four cheeses or pure mozzarella. The list of toppings includes the following salsas: pickled mango, pico de gallo, picante Habanero, jalapeño, corn and verde. Then there are jalapeño peppers, tahini sauce and sour cream. Extras, such as guacamole, hummus, grilled vegetables or grilled peppers, can be added.
Again, the cultures blur with the empanada entrees: curry chicken, steak and onions, ground beef and peas or the four-cheese mix. And like any modern, family-friendly eatery, Marianella’s has children’s meals, which feature smaller portions of entrees with a small drink.
For dessert, try the fried ice cream, which comes in vanilla, chocolate, pistachio and green tea. Or decide between two cheesecake styles: original Mexican and banana.
Don’t forget the fun part. Marianella’s has a full-service bar, where happy hour actually runs for five hours, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., when margaritas and glasses of sangria cost $5.
Location: 106-11 71st Avenue. Telephone: (718) 263-2008.
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; and Sunday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Prices: Burrito and Salad dishes run from $6.95 to $8.95; Taco Twosome and Quesadilla items are $5.45, $5.95 or $6.95; the Empanda Threesome options cost $3.95 or $4.95; Children’s Meals are $4.45 and $4.95; and Desserts are $3.95.
Special Offer: Until July 24, 2011, the restaurant will sell burritos for $4 to anybody who has identification verifying that he/she is a student.