My Fun Tex-Mex Night At Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar At Makati Avenue

Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar at Makati Avenue is something I am totally unaware of, except of course for the obvious keywords of being a 'mexican grill' and a 'margherita bar'. It's a shame for me, really, but just in case you've heard it many times before, you're going to read it again that Chichuahua for me is Manila's most authentic tex-mex food joint yet, and I've never been more excited to come back soon.

The birth of Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar, according to owner Ines Cabarrus, actually came out of frustration for tex-mex food. Elian Habayeb, being a Houston native, has been searching for different food joints, but once this has failed, he and Ines decided to have Chihuahua. Aside from his love for authenticity, exploration, having a brother who is a chef, it was also an advantage that Ines' parents own the famous Sugi (where she is also the current GM), award-winning Japanese restaurant at Greenbelt. It was love at first bite, and the rest is history.

Fast forward to 2014, my chance to achieving my 'Chihuahua Experience' started when I decided to take a walk from my office at Ayala Avenue to Makati Avenue, with the intention of losing some calories before it goes up again later that night. Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar is located just across Rufo's Tapa Joint at A.Venue Mall. Although they have another branch at Greenbelt 2, their Kalayaan home is actually their 'Party Branch', which I will discuss about a bit later. While waiting for my companions, I was the usual observant and noticed that the place does look very much like a party venue rather than a quaint, Mexican restaurant. 

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Walls filled with pictures of their customers, magazine covers and cool posters



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There's board games, Jenga, Chess boards, and Taboo!
While I planned to roam around and take photos, Ines offered me this thirst quenching glass of Aguas Frescas, a well-known traditional fruit juice which is usually sold in Mexico. I got mine in Watermelon, but it's available also in either melons or pears. Served in a big glass, it was very refreshing, especially when I dropped in my lime garnish and mixed it in. I would love this even more if it my glass was full of ice, but I also know that it will surely affect the flavor of the drink.

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Aguas Frescas
Being a 'hot chick' that I am (not that type of chick you would normally think), I adore spicy food, and this hot sauce library from Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar is impressive, that I wanna do this when I get my own house soon. Their library is usually refilled whenever she and Elian flies back to the US, where they go back in Manila carrying loads and loads of hot sauces from different sources.

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As for their passion for food and experimenting to get the best of what they offer, it's not unusual when I saw that they also have in-house hot sauce variations which I find cool because the bottles are labeled with iconic characters, like their Captain Koons (my favorite) and Dr. Evil's Hot Sauce.  

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Although later that night, I tried the habanero-based El Yucateco and Mr. Blister's Garlic Extreme hot sauce, which is best with their burritos. More on this in a bit as well.

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Underneath the hot sauce library, they have a Salsa Bar, which has all you need when getting their dishes: limes, pico de gallo, salsa, and other condiments you wish to have. Beside it is this display of  bottled Chuy's Chipotle Salsa and their Qrazy Queso. They are normally priced as you can see on the photo, but for a limited time, one pound of Chihua Chips, or nachos, comes free when you buy two jars of your chosen dips.

I did find that the secret to good salsa and pico de gallo, or maybe tex-mex food in general, is to have the best quality ingredients, specifically good tomatoes, limes and damn fresh cilantro. 

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Aside from their award winning Margaritas, as well as draft beers, you can never go wrong when choosing bottles at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar, as they have a good selection of imported beers and some wines for your drinking pleasure.

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Their menu is very simple but very creative! One would need to mix and match steps 1 to 4 for you to get your dish complete with drinks.

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When the rest of my acquaintances finally arrived, we started with Chips and Queso "Special", a large serving of Chihua Chips with their cream and savory queso sauce, salsa and homemade chili con carne. You can also eat them with their unlimited pico de gallo for a change. There was more than enough for everyone so I really don't want this for myself...or do I?

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Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar has what Esquire Magazine claims has the "Best Frozen Margaritas in town", in the form of a Chihuarita - made with the finest Mexican Tequila, triple sec, cointreau and fresh lime juice, served on a big glass rimmed with spicy chili salt. If that is not enough to make you crave for it, this poster which I saw at the joint might probably make you understand me even more.

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Last Valentines' week was the time that they officially launched their Frozen Strawberry Margaritas, mixed in with the same basic ingredients, but made fruity (and a bit more romantic-like) for all margarita-goers out there. Like most of their dishes, this has been tested a number of times before they actually made it available, so it took a lot of effort to come up with a perfect recipe. And it also made a perfect partnership because Monin, a gourmet company of over 100 years and based in France, teamed up with the Chihuahua Team to bring to life this favorite cocktail. Soon after, they are also going to launch their Red Berry and Passion Fruit Margaritas too, so we better watch out for it.You know how it feels when you think you're drinking the healthy stuff but it actually makes you tipsy? This might be that drink.

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From the simple Chips and Queso, we move on to nachoville and tried Chihuahua's Nacho Grande, served in their standard (take note: large) stainless steel bowl and filled with chips, pico de gallo, cheese, jalapenos, salsa, chili con carne and sour cream. This is considered as one of the crowd favorites since like most of their dishes, this is great for sharing.

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As for a few other new items, the same Nacho Grande formula is being made and you can either have it with either tex-mex marinated, perfectly cooked to its tenderness, sliced beef or chicken pieces. Their Steak Nachos and Chicken Nachos would be something you can order if you want to add more punch to your usual nachos. I really loved the Steak Nachos, that the meat was seasoned well and tender to the bite. With nachos on my left hand and a glass of margarita on my right, with some great conversations - including a tex-mex cuisine history as told by Elian, I can say it's turning out to be a great night at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar.

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Front: Steak Nachos; and Chicken Nachos at the back
Burritos may also be one of their bestsellers, but as creative as the owners are, Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar currently offer their Mini-Me Burritos, wrapped in a 10-inch tortilla and filled with mexican rice, pico de gallo and other fantastic ingredients, as well as your choice of either the following: Steak, Chicken, Picadillo or Pork; and Veggies or Beans if you are a healthy eater/vegan. Apart from their normal 12-inch sized burritos, their Mini-Me is only available during weekday lunch and ONLY if you are a fan of their Facebook Page. Great idea to gain more followers, indeed!

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Bean Burrito
While munching on nachos, I pondered for a bit and asked myself, "a mini-me burrito at 10 inches...REALLY? Is that supposed to be mini?" 

I wasn't able to get the Bean Burrito (seen above), but I did take half of this Steak Burrito (below), and man was I in burrito heaven! And I admit to have played my way around their different hot sauces from their library. Captain Koon's was my favorite, tart and hot, as well as El Yucateco. I think Mr. Garlic Extreme and Dr. Evil hot sauce both had garlic so I guess they were a second choice.

Spot.ph was right when they said that Chihuahua Mexican Grill offers the 'Best Burrito in Manila'. Even my boyfriend, DJ JVC, had to say that it was the best burrito he's ever had in years, and even told me it's not far from the ones he'd usually get when he stayed in the US.

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Steak Burrito
After finishing half a burrito, I also tried their Quesadillas which you can get with different choices of ingredients, together with cheese and other spices, wrapped in tortillas and cut into wedges. It's more popularly known as a Mexican pizza. It's fun because Chihuahua Mexican Grill recently offered these heart-shaped quesadillas for that romantic touch during Valentines Day. I actually imagined a guys offering this to a girl and saying "have a heart..." hahaha awoooo!

Their Quesadillas come in Mushroom (P365.00), Steak (P545.00), Pork (P365.00), Picadillo (ground beef - P465), Veggie (P385.00), and the Carnitas (pulled pork- P485), which I would love to try when I get back soon. Just so you know, Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar is also a supporter of a number of CSR efforts as well. For one, their Mushroom Quesadilla is actually launched to support the Mushrooms Go Pink Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign, and they have also done a toy drive which is intended for the Yolanda survivors last 2013.

I tried a big wedge of Chicken Spinach Quesadilla (P495), which is filled with grilled chicken, spinach sauteed with butter, onions, garlic and cilantro. From then on I'm hooked. Like all of the dishes above, it's very borderline, and so much better when dipped in salsa and sour cream. If you tend to eat something lighter than a burrito and more manageable than nachos, then this is going to be your best bet.

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I am not really aware of any tex-mex desserts, but the Banana Nutella Quesadilla at Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar is enough to end your meal with a bang! It's quesadilla with a sweet filling made out of a three-way classic: ripe bananas, Nutella and Jiffy's Peanut Butter. It's topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, shaved almonds and cajeta, which is mexican caramel made with condensed milk.

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As you can see, Chihuahua has everything you need for throwing down any kind of party. It's a great thing that Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar is located in one of Makati's hotspots, and while their neighboring clubs and bars may seem to be the go-to places, Chihuahua's roster of events is never far behind that they are actually known internationally for their Saturday Salsa Nights (and popularly called as 'The Salsa Project'). Nope, this is not 'salsa' the food, this is a night of dancing and outright madness til the wee hours of Sunday morning! Salsa fanatics from Manila, nearby provinces and from different nations gather here to party, and it doesn't stop there.


Other events include Acoustic Night Wednesdays, which is now on its second leg, and features unplugged sessions from the likes of Lee Grane, Jennifer Blair-Bianco, The Blue Rascals, The Band of Brothers, Bullet Dumas, Rizza Cabrera, Nino Alejandro, and Kate Torralba. Just last week, Inky De Dios of Kjwan performed, and he did a great job performing some classic and pop renditions, like the one where he impressively sang 'Locked Out of Heaven' by Bruno Mars....complete...with his own recorded back-up vocals on a loop...by himself. He was literally his own band that night.

They also recently started LIMÓN  Fridays, but the music genres are more Latin and Reggaeton, where you can see crowd of Cubans, Panamanians and Costa Ricans at Chihuahua.  

Speaking of more madness, you can also check out their Monday Margarita Madness, wherein when one orders a Margarita, he/she gets another one for free when you give them the password located on their Facebook Page. For your convenience, NO, I'm not putting it here. You have to like and check out their page for you to find out. :)

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Bryan Gallinger, one of the newest guys on the Chihuahua Team asked me on what is my most favorite of all the dishes I've tried...and my answer is actually everything, and it is no joke. Chihuahua is not really a very big place to start with, but the uniqueness of the place, the food, margaritas, good music is all you need, of course with friends to hang out and just have fun. 

After my gastronomic tex-mex journey, I even had the chance to hang out with Ines, Elian and Bryan. It was then I discovered our common friends, Ines and Elian's book (they did a coffee table book called Manila's Best Kept Restaurant Secrets), our quest for the best DJs and mixing music (Elian spins at M Cafe, Rocket Room and Time), concerts and more hot sauce!

It's very rare you get to talk to owners of restaurants and feel as if they are either a next door neighbor, a close officemate, or a long lost friend. I've been blogging about food joints and restaurants for a while, and some owners are like gods and goddesses, but these people have so much hospitality, so yeah, I hope to see them very soon when I come back to Chihuahua Mexican Grill.

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Come on over to this place where they turn your usual Margarita Nights into Chihuahua Nights! 

To know more about Chihuahua Grill and promos, event invites, and to know the password for free Margaritas, check out their page below:
Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar Official Facebook Page
Follow them on IG: chihuahuaph

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*Disclaimer: The following post is written from the author's own thoughts and views on Chihuahua Mexican Grill and Margarita Bar 


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