Mi Restaurante Favorito

By Seren Mcarry

When the COVID-19 Pandemic began in March 2020, I left Pleasantville to move back home and live with my parents in Manhattan, New York City. At first, I was reluctant to move back home because I wouldn’t see my friends from college. However, it ended up being the best decision I made because I grew closer to and spent more time with my friends from high school, Monica and Gaby, who still lived in New York City. When the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions began to lift during the summer of 2020, we would find a new restaurant to visit every weekend (while remaining safe) to support local businesses and, of course, to revive our social lives previously been lost due to COVID-19. One of the restaurants that we discovered, which quickly became our favorite, is Mojave— a Mexican restaurant located on Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, Queens— which will be the topic of this paper.

Mojave became our favorite restaurant, which we continue to frequent even now, for several reasons, including the food, the drinks, and the lively atmosphere. They serve traditional Mexican and Southwestern food: sizzling fajitas, empanadas with adobo-marinated chicken, cotija cheese, salsa verde, guacamole molcajete and salsa, burritos, various types of tacos, chilaquiles en cazueula, huevos rancheros, tres leches, and much more. Their food is packed with a punch of flavor and is cooked with traditional spices, making it one of my favorite places to enjoy Mexican food in New York. To accompany the delicious food, they, of course, serve the staple of Mexican cocktails: delicious margaritas! Their margaritas have been made with La Puerta Negra Blanco, distilled from 100% blue weber agave produced at Corporativo Destileria Santa Lucia in the Los Altos (Highlands) region Jalisco, Mexico. Their margaritas also come in a wide variety of flavors, including strawberry, mango, blood orange, prickly pear, pineapple, passion fruit, and traditional.

Besides the delicious food and drinks, a key feature of Mojave that makes it so memorable is the design and atmosphere of the restaurant. The walls outside have a bright orange, and there are decorative palm trees positioned around the back patio. The inside of the restaurant makes you feel that you are in Mexico, from the wall art to the ceiling structure to the bright colors that adorn the establishment. All of this, combined with the popular Latin music that fills the restaurant, creates a fun and authentic atmosphere which makes an unforgettable experience.

My friends and I have gone back quite a few times now and continue to visit because when you are there, especially in summer, it feels like you are sitting in some warm part of Mexico, rather than New York, and it feels like a bit of escape from home. Another bonus to Mojave is that all of the servers and staff are very friendly and hospitable. The last time I was there, the server overheard the conversation my friends and I were having about improving our verbal skills in Spanish and telling them about signing up for this class to do so. Thus, he approached the table and said “Yo escuché que querías practicar tu español. ¡Practiquemos!” We all laughed, somewhat out of embarrassment, but then proceeded to have a conversation in Spanish. It was a bit touch-and-go on my end, albeit I had just finished a margarita, but he was hilarious and supportive and made that night a very memorable experience for us all. He gave our table a free round of tequila shots; we laughed, sang, danced, and ate until our bellies were twice as big as they were when we walked in. I am sure you can now understand why this is one of our favorite restaurants to visit in New York due to the combination of great food and cocktails and a fun, lively atmosphere that mimics traditional Mexican culture. Therefore, if you are ever in Astoria, I highly recommend visiting Mojave with some friends because it will be a night you won’t forget and all for a reasonable price too!

About me

My name is Seren Mccarry. I am 21 years old from Harlem, New York City and I am an upcoming Senior at Pace University. I am majoring in Applied Psychology for my Bachelor’s degree and I am beginning the combined degree program next semester for a Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. I took SPA 283 Spanish Conversation during Spring 2021  because I have always had a passion and interest in Spanish/Latin language and culture. I plan to study abroad in Madrid at some point and I have no doubt what I have learned in this class will give me a leg up when I do.