Carry Out and Carry On

Taos takeouts are the best in the Southwest

By Dena Miller

With all this natural beauty surrounding you, the siren call of the outdoors is impossible to ignore. (And why would you, anyway?) That’s when it’s the time to grab some food, find a sweet spot to relax, giving sustenance to your soul while you bliss your body with really good eats.

Below, are some best suggestions for grab-and-go, their convenience in no way overshadowing their deliciousness; in fact, it adds to their appeal. Where else but Taos can you find such a smorgasbord of takeout delights?

An oldie but a goodie, visitors and locals return to Mante’s Chow Cart (402 Paseo del Pueblo Sur) for “good old New Mexican food and hamburgers.” Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or an early dinner, for almost 50 years Mante’s has been satisfying cravings for a hand-held breakfast burrito, stuffed sopapilla, or that mouth-watering green chile cheeseburger when nothing else will do. There’s a reason the parking lot is always full.

Up the road, Mary Adame and Yamil Isbak, owners of Jalapeño’s Tacos and More (210 Paseo del Pueblo Sur), bring you the best of traditional Veracruz and Mexican cuisine, so don’t miss their flautas or their crispy, crunchy tacos dorados.  But here’s the deal: street tacos are a thing. A big thing. And Jalapeño’s has among the best you’ll find anywhere.

Choose from marinated pork, asada steak and langostinos, grilled chicken or shrimp, or shredded beef barbacoa.  Top them with pico de gallo, avocado and cilantro and you have a hand-held meal without compare. Insider tip: Wash them down with an ice-cold Mexican Coca Cola and now you’ve found nirvana.

And tacos birria are a very big thing. You’ll find them expertly prepared at Leonel’s Fresh Tamales (715 Paseo del Pueblo Sur) where house-made corn tortillas are dipped in consomé, sprinkled with Oaxaca cheese, piled with shredded meat and fried to melty, sublime perfection.

But if tamales are more to your liking, Magdalena and Leonel Aragon have been tempting their customers for years with their homemade wonders, stuffed with red chile pork, green chile cheese and chicken, or their veggie option loaded with calabacitas, pinto beans and green chile. And don’t forget to check out their empanadas, torta cubana, and frito pie while you’re at it; you can’t go wrong any which way.

Maybe last night you couldn’t resist dinner at any of the terrific Mexican and New Mexican restaurants in town and now you’re looking for something a little different. Of course Taos won’t let you down.

A La Cart World Street Food (625 Paseo del Pueblo Norte) is a much-loved stop for healthy, affordable takeout options featuring gluten free, vegetarian, free range, cage free and locally sourced ingredients. Eggs your way with spuds and uncured bacon is an energizing breakfast before you hit the hiking trails. Moroccan or Slovaki pita; grilled pear, bacon and gorgonzola salad; or a pastrami reuben sandwich are great choices for your picnic lunch.

If your cravings are whispering “Asian” then Sushi Siam (106 Paseo del Pueblo Norte) is your destination. Aside from their full menu of appetizers, mains, soups and salads, you can grab a traditional or hand roll on the fly, along with a sushi and sashimi bento box; chop sticks are optional.

There’s always room for dessert, isn’t there? Or maybe it’s your one-and-done. There’s no shame.  For years Taos Cow (483 State Road 150, Arroyo Seco) has been churning out a dizzying array of over-the-top flavors, like its own dreamy, creamy Pi]ñon Caramel and Cafe Olé, or its yummy and chunky Chocolate Río Grande and Holstein Sunset. After all, there’s no better hand-held snack than an ice cream cone, especially after some grueling mountain biking.

For baked treats Michael’s Kitchen (304-C Paseo del Pueblo Norte) is the place to go. It’s a fact that customers have been known to cry when the cream puffs and cinnamon rolls are already sold out, but they find solace in crumb buns, eclairs, apple fritters, turnovers, danishes and muffins. Usually they tuck a loaf of jalapeño cheese bread into their bag for good measure, and we recommend you do the same.

The time you spend here is undoubtably filled with miles on our roads and trails. We’ll make sure you’re well-fed along the way.