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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

Authentic food at La Mexicana

My boyfriend and I had our first date at a Mexican restaurant, El Mariachi on Swan Street in Albany.

I ordered the shrimp burrito, as I always do when I go there, and I guess we had a nice enough time because we continued seeing each other. Amazingly, a year has passed, and we decided to celebrate the first anniversary of our first date by eating at a Mexican restaurant.

We didn’t go to El Mariachi. We went to La Mexicana on State Street in Schenectady. I had never eaten there, but my boyfriend swears they have the most authentic Mexican food in the area. He grew up in Texas, so I tend to trust him on such matters.

I’m happy to report that La Mexicana more than lived up to its billing. It’s a bit of a hole in the wall — El Mariachi definitely has better atmosphere, especially if you eat outside on the patio. But La Mexicana has the better food. And it’s also less expensive.

I ordered quesadillas with al pastor, a tasty flavored pork, which I ate with green salsa, guacamole and sour cream. For dessert, we split an order of flan, an egg custard with caramel and generous dollops of whipped cream. It was the best flan I’ve ever eaten, and I don’t think I’m exaggerating. To quench my thirst, I ordered horchata, a sweet, traditional beverage that is the subject of a great Vampire Weekend song.

Like many of the best restaurants in the Capital Region, La Mexicana is a fairly inexpensive, humble-looking place. But it has terrific food, and I can’t wait to go back.

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