La Taqueria -
I have been craving Mexican food for quite some time, so I decided to grab some tacos from La Taqueria for dinner on my way home today. I called to ask my wife if she wanted some tacos and she declined, saying that she was trying to control her caloric intake after a big lunch. I knew that the kids did not like tacos so they would most likely not want anything from La Taqueria, but I asked just in case…They didn’t want any. I was kinda hoping that either my kids or my wife would want some tacos because that meant that I would be able to purchase a greater variety of flavours to try. But since no one was as interested in having tacos as I was, I had to settle for getting some tacos just for myself.
The inside of the restaurant was small and quaint, and it definitely gave me a feeling of being in a taqueria in Mexico (or at least what I imagined it would feel like…the only place in Mexico that I’ve been to is Tijuana, and those visits took place when I was a kid).
I looked at the menu board posted above the counter and counted nine meat-based tacos (including the daily special) and I couldn’t decide which to order. They all sounded interesting and delicious, so I decided to order all of them. Since the person taking my order indicated that the tacos were pretty small, and that four of them would make a good-sized meal, I thought eating 125% more than a good-sized meal wouldn’t kill me.
When I was given my food, the employees at the restaurant reminded me to also take home some of their salsa. They gave me four containers so that I could try all four available salsas.
I liked the arbol and the habanero better than the chipotle and the green salsa. Both the chipotle and the green salsa had flavours that were too strong that they simply overwhelmed the flavours of the tacos. The Arbol and habanero, although both spicy, did not cover up the flavours of the tacos. They simply added an extra spicy dimension to the tacos.
The nine tacos I ordered came in three containers containing three tacos each. All of the tacos were made with two layers of corn tortilla.
The first container contained (from left to right in the picture) the Asada, the Lengua, and the Tinga De Pollo.
- Asada -This taco was made with grilled aaa flank beef. I thought that it was very average-tasting. The beef had a very dry texture that did not become moist even when I added some salsa. And the only flavour that I got from eating this taco was an oily flavour. This was odd because oiliness usually suggested moisture, but not in this case. This asada taco was definitely not one of the better asada tacos that I’ve had.
- Lengua – This taco was made with braised beef tongue topped with some green sauce. Like the asada taco, this lengua taco was also pretty flavourless. The tongue had no flavours and the green sauce was also pretty bland. The tongue was also as dry as the asada. I don’t know if it was because the tongue was cut into pieces that were too small or if they just dried out sitting in the metal warmers, but this was definitely the driest tongue taco that I’ve ever had. Normally, I get a nice, thick, moist, and chewy texture from the tongue in a lengua taco, but that texture was missing in the lengua taco that I had today. Again, this was not one of the better lengua tacos that I’ve had.
- Tinga De Pollo – This taco was made with chicken and chorizo in a chipotle tomato sauce topped with cheese and sour cream. Once again, the texture of the chicken and chorizo was dry. But they were not as dry as the Asada or the Lengua because of the sour cream on top. The sour cream and the little sprinkle of cheese also added a rich, dairy flavour that was welcomed. This taco was tasty enough that I didn’t feel that I needed to add any salsa to enhance its flavours. The Tinga De Pollo was definitely the best-tasting taco in the first container.
The second contained contained (also from left to right in the picture) the De Cachete, the Al Pastor, and the Carnitas.
- De Cachete – This taco was made with braised beef cheeks. The cheeks were very moist, tender, and juicy. The beef cheeks also had a very enjoyable unctuous flavour that had me finishing the taco without adding any salsa to it. This taco was very tasty and had the best-textured and most-flavourful meat (without sauce) of any taco I had today.
- Al Pastor – The al pastor taco was made with pork marinated in achiote, chili, and pineapple. The dominant flavour that I detected with this taco was sweetness, but the sweetness was more subdued than pronounced. I honestly could not detect any chili flavours. What I did get was a very nice charred flavour that permeated through every tiny morsel of meat in the taco. If the meat had been a little more moist and a little juicier, then the taco would be considered a success. But the meat was, like the meat in a lot of the tacos I had today, very dry and powdery. I actually like the spicier and sweeter al pastor taco I had at Chronic Tacos better than this version.
- Carnitas – This taco was made with pork confit and pickled red onions. Although the pork confit was again lacking in any meaty flavours, I did like its suitably moist texture. Most of the flavours of this taco were provided by the pickled onions on top, and the chopped up cilantro interspersed with the meat. This taco was ok-tasting. I would definitely order it over the Al Pastor, the Asada, and the Lengua.
The third container contained (yet again from left to right in the picture) the Pollo Con Mole, the Pescado, and the Free Range Beef in Cascabel sauce.
- Pollo Con Mole – This taco contained maple hills chicken with chocolate mole sauce. The mole sauce was thick, rich, and it enveloped every piece of chicken. The sauce gave the taco an overall sweet flavour that was augmented by a little bitterness, though I can’t say that I really tasted any cocoa or chili flavour that are usually present in a chocolate mole sauce. Even though the pieces of chicken were fully covered with the mole sauce, they still felt dry. The dryness of the meat and the lack-of-mole flavours did not make this taco inedible, it simply made it forgettable.
- Pescado – This taco contained grilled seasonal fish with pico de gallo. You know what this fish and the pico de gallo felt like to me? They felt like crab cakes with coleslaw to me. The fish was chopped up to such a fine consistency that they felt like crabmeat. The pico de gallo was so bright and cabbage-dominated that it felt like coleslaw. I definitely enjoyed eating this taco, but I was thinking crabcake and coleslaw taco the whole time that I was eating this taco.
- Free Range Beef in Cascabel Sauce – This taco was the special of the day, and it was also the most special-tasting taco I had today. First of all, the beef in this taco was tender and moist. Secondly, the cascabel sauce was very flavourful and enjoyable. The sauce actually tasted like the tomato sauce that came with tinned fish (sardines), and I just so happened to like canned-fish tomato sauce. I just didn’t know that it also worked well with the texture of beef and the flavours of corn tortillas. This taco I liked, and I liked it a lot.
If I felt that a meal was delicious, I would not really care about how many calories the meal contained. But if the meal was subpar or otherwise sucked, I would be kicking myself over the wasting my caloric intake on it. Eating the nine tacos tonight had me regretting eating such a large meal. Of the nine tacos I had, only four were good. And of the four good ones, I really only wanted to eat the daily special Beef Cascabel and the De Cachete taco again. I should’ve just ordered two each of the beef cascabel and the de cachete and felt better for it. But I had to experiment today because I have never been to the restaurant before…Next time, I’ll probably call ahead to check to see if they have the Beef Cascabel special before going in and purchasing anything that I might regret eating later on.