Tacos; the international sign for sharing
A taco is the symbol for unity. It is a metaphor for what happens when cultures collide. In any restaurant, find yourself surrounded by every ethnicity coming together for one thing, beautifully crafted insides canoed by a warm masa of sorts.
What kind of taco brings a smile to your face? Freshly Grilled Whatever. Topped with fried avocados. Served with cheap tequila. Paired with memories. All of that are just a few of my most favorite times with the illicit love affair I have with a hand sandwich.
Its Taco Tuesday and I have bombarded you with yet another post. “What is it with this girl?” You ask. “Does she really love tacos that much?” Well no. There was a time, I would deny my mother taco night. I had zero interest in eating rice and beans with a flair. How naive I was. For me Mexican cuisine was another dish my mom could repeat in our dinner lineup. (JK love you mom) It wasn’t until I followed up the deliciously marinated meat with tequila, that it all started to make sense.
Have you ever been to a boring Mexican Restaurant? I don’t think so. There’s lively music, a hoopla of decorations and sometimes if you’re lucky they put a big round hat, that could provide you with water, or tequila in the event of an apocalypse. They practically have the end of days mapped out for you. Not my point, but a good one. It’s only when you get older that you realize why simplicity is key. Something like noticing how to use the tools in front of you could turn corn into a warm tortilla and a plant like cactus into a delicious filling. We as humans tend to over analyze and dissect the very nature of eating your favorite meal. Like what I am about to do with you….
my Five Favorite Places to share a Taco:
5: Ranking at the bottom of my list for no other reason than because I ordered their tacos once is Taqueria Downtown. You can find this little corner joint in Jersey City, New Jersey. My first date with this rocking Selena joint happened maybe three years ago. I had moved back from California high off some bomb enchiladas, that I thought I would never find again. Then before my tears could dry up, I was on a break from my boyfriend at the time going on a double date and needed to find the groove I was missing. Little did I know my groove was somewhere between three dollar mimosas and the men who showed up late.
The restaurant won’t let you sit unless everyone is there; weren’t we lucky enough to find ourselves smacked dab in the middle of happy hour and two seats at the bar. The place is small and gets packed pretty quick but a good time is worth the wait. So there we were four drinks in that we had forgotten we were even on a date. The boys showed up late, but we were too sloshed on guac to really care. The only thing that mattered to me was the enchilada I was about to devour. Oh and the bill I was to going to hand over to the two losers who thought it was okay to let women wait. Never okay, guys. Anyhow back to the enchilada, which is why this place is on the list. It is the perfect amount of verde explosion and chicken juicyness. The environment, the drinks and the enchiladas led me to find my way back to that part of town countless times over and over. Ironically, my wedding happened just a few blocks from there. Tacos you always find your way to my heart.
4: Fish tacos are the bees knees! I am a sucker for a pescado frito in a flour tortilla shell. There’s a 50/50 chance that fish is going to have a nice crispy crust with a sweet tangy slaw and all your sorrows will be nothing but a crunch away. But I wont bore you with all of my late night fantasies. Snapper Jack’s in Folly Beach, SC has a place in my fried fish heart. It was the day of the Solar Eclipse last year and I drove thirteen hours south to catch 2 minutes of blissful darkness. We spent hours on the beach, getting caught in the rip tides sipping on some girly beers. It was a bittersweet moment in the tides of history. While everyone was back home sharing in their near close experiences, I was in the eye of the storm. I was able to make what was impossible to me at the time, possible. The trip lead to my blog writing which has me describing tacos; full circle. A Solar Eclipse brought me to this town, but the vibes, the amazing food (you also have to check out Lost Dog Cafe) and the waves will have me swimming my way back one day!
3: Making me a believer of anything is quite a difficult feat, ask my husband, but that is just what my next highly anticipated number three did. I first met my next taco at Good Mood Food Truck’s one year anniversary. That fall, my husband, brother in law and I attended a rock and roll fair with all different types of food trucks. We were known for going from truck to truck trying one dish at a time. Their mac ‘n’ cheese bites made me a groupie, Emily & Dean turned me into a fan. For a year, if I was anywhere near by, I would drop by say hello and leave with a new item they were selling. It was my first serious relationship with food. Were we exclusive, I don’t know, I sure thought so. There I was to celebrate their amazing efforts for making me love them when they shared with me, a gift from the “Taco Heavens.” An avocado taco, yes a crunchy soft deliciousness in my hand. I remember telling them how much I hated avocados but they reassured me how wrong I was. It was then, I understood people’s weird affliction with America’s Power Fruit.
2: It saddens me to have to my put my actual heart at number 2, so we are going to pretend this is a tie. MexicanZingo in Greenwood Lake, NY is transcendent. I would have lived out the rest of my days if it meant sleeping in their kitchen. Who would have guessed that moving out to the woods, to find myself would lead me right back to the one cuisine I told my mother I hated. Mom, you really are always right! (haha jk again) For starters, this lake town is a place you need to visit just because. It’s the family you never knew you needed in your life. Now top that off with the BEST FISH TACOS you will ever have. This became a routine Friday date night between me and that taco, with a bottle in hand, and my husband as eye candy. So before you get to the top of the list, get in your car, drive to the lake, get lost in the sounds of trees, order the taco special and say hello to Carlos from us! We miss you tons!
1: You have made it to the ultimate taco. The Holy Grail of the hand sandwich. The Madonna of all Madonnas. The Blue Hen Cafe in Saint Augustine, Florida. Now this is back when I did research before I visited places, so I was ready. I had a picture in mind, my tongue was salivating awaiting its maker. Boy did this exceed my expectations. Have you ever had Fried Green Tomatoes, before? If not, you’re a total loser, sorry it had to be said. Its like a pickle but a tomato and just plain yummy. Imagine when you put that on a taco, no I cannot, I did not, but they did. They knocked it out of the ball park, Roger Marris setting up at plate before his 61st home run had nothing on these tacos. My family and I spent an entire week’s vacation talking about how great they were that we hit it twice before we headed out, and guess what it was just as good as it was the first time. Probably even better! Man I loved this taco, it was the first time I ever fell in love with anything other than myself.
Truth is maybe I am obsessed with tacos. Maybe I am obsessed with the memory that comes with sharing a taco. The only way to find out is to eat any of the tacos I have listed above then tell me. Is it I obsessed with the taco or the taco continuously finding its way to me when I need it most.
Love More, Peace More and Roar More.
Your Taco Loving Wild Taino Spirit Guide,