La Posada on Lexington between 27th and 26th Streets has terrific fresh and authentic fast Mexican food. I can't understand why this place is never packed, even at prime lunch or dinner hours. My favorite is the $2.89 spinach burrito, which is steamed spinach, black beans and cheese in a tortilla, served with tomato-cilantro salad and shredded lettuce lightly coated in a yummy vinegar-ish dressing. also recommended is the carne asada taco ($2).
i keep wanting to try other things but i love the spinach burrito so much it's been hard to branch out. the chicken-tortilla soup looks really good.
the place is run by kind people who always look a little sad. they deserve to be a huge success. i often trek across town from my Times Square office for their food.
In Astoria, I just tried a small, bare-bones place called Flor de Luna where I was inducted into the amazing cuisine of Puebla state in Mexico (apparently there's been a huge influx of Poblanos in recent years). Truth be told, I'd had Poblano food once in my 'hood, Jackson Heights, but not nearly as good as Flor de Luna, which is on 36th Ave at around 34th Street.
I had the steak fajitas ($7), a giant amount of deliciously sauteed steak with peppers and onions, served with rice and beans. But what really put the meal over the top was the hot sauce served with the dish - it was thin and smoky and addictive. the waitress said she makes it by broiling chipotle and anchuhillo (sp?) peppers, then blending with onions and other ingredients. i'm not a huge fan of mexican food, but this was paradise. there was so much food i took the leftovers for lunch the next day.
my friend had tacos that looked equally great. every table also gets a basket of tortilla chips with a green salsa.
the place has about 5 tables and seems to do a big takeout business with mexicans in the area. there's a little bar area (not sure if they serve alcohol, though) where a few guys were hanging around talking. all in all, a friendly place with great cheap food and orange walls.