5.10.2017

Taco T-Shirt Time!


I love t-shirts. T-shirts are sort of like tacos in that you can't have just one! I do this as a hobby and sometimes it becomes a business.

For my friends in Mexico, I co-designed an Anti-Trump-Border Wall t-shirt. It seemed to help people in Baja keep their spirits up during trying times. It also made them feel pretty good about being ex-pats.


From time to time, I bust out a taco tee. There are so many great ones on Etsy and all over the Information Superhighway.

These pro taco tanks are on stylish fashion tees by Alternative Apparel and Bella Canvas. The fit is comfy and the cotton is soft.

You can see more details at www.bocanetas.com or you can order directly right here.

Wear it proudly, say it loudly on your fun in the sun taco crawls.

Taco, taco.

FORKIN TACO TANK - $26

Size
T-Shirt Style




5.07.2017

Sonoratown, Downtown Los Angeles


Proud winners of the LA Taco Contest for Best Taco in LA. Literally, the best single taco. Not the best taco restaurant, but the best actual taco.

Of course I was intrigued! Thank you LA Taco for continuing to highlight all the amazing taco places we have in Los Angeles!!!!

I have to say I fell in love with Sonoratown from the minute I walked into the teenie tiny box of a taco waiting room.

The adorable server was so friendly and delightful, completely unruffled by the line that formed behind me and out the door, like a magic trick.

She answered all my questions - even my disbelief that the best taco in LA was only $2!!!!! That's right, $2!!!!!!!! Wait, this little, simple, carne asada taco? This street taco? Really?

It was so good, I would eat it totally plain. Just meat and the fresh, soft and tasty homemade flour tortilla. The only corn tortillas they serve are fried (for the Tostada.) RIGHT ON!



I ordered several things. Everything was delicious. Fresh, flavorful, nice spice, simply, just, delicious.

It was a unanimous agreement in our group that the humble $2 taco was the best and most addictive thing on the menu. I'm thinking I can eat 6 next time, no problem. Not because they're small, just because they are so stimulating to the taste buds.

Similar to the style of Mexicali Taco, the grill magic hails from Sonora itself. Is it the spice? The wood? The smoke? The marinade? The cut of meat? All of that and it's all that, people.

Run, hop, skip, jump, fly to 208 E. 8th Street, between the hours of 11-4, 6 days a week. They are closed Sunday.

Order at least 5 of those tacos. Just because.


4.27.2017

Taco Roundup #6 - California Central Coast Tacos SLO & Los Alamos 2017

Is it already the end of April? Ayiyiyi. Where does the Taco Time go? Rest assured friends, I have not stopped eating tacos. Nor have I stopped taking pictures of those tacos to the annoyance of all my friends and fellow customers. Does that count as an apology?

I spent a few months this winter up in San Luis Obispo. A lovely town. Very creative, very clean, a very well organized Tourist Board and a fair amount of mid-level Mexican food in every direction. I tried just about everything on Yelp and did not find any inspiring winners in the crispy taco category.

My favorite authentic street taco in the area was from Tacos de Mexico. They have two locations, but I preferred the location in nearby Morro Bay. Serious flavor and no nonsense service. They have a beautiful mural in the parking lot. The Chile Colorado taco was #($*(@)*#)@. Seriously.


A better than decent crispy taco required a drive South to Grover Beach. Technically in Oceano, Efren's Deli is a staple for those in the area and I enjoyed their tacos very much.



An honorary mention goes to Taqueria Santa Cruz. Fast, efficient, tasty, full of people, reliable, and popular in San Luis with the Cal-Poly crowd.

The most orgasmic food item I ate in SLO was ironcially a donut. The gluten-free donut at Bliss Cafe was a revelation. I tried multiple flavors (Hello Homer Simpson) and they were all so delicious, especially the Lavender. Their vegan food is great too. I didn't see any tacos on their menu but you never know. Hint, hint.

On the way back to LA, I stopped in Los Alamos. A mere 50 minutes S. of San Luis Obispo, Los Alamos has been growing for the last 3 years and is a delightful stop on any Central Coast foray.

Check out the list of the best local places at The Alamo Motel. Right down the street is Charlie's Restaurant. The tacos are not necessarily the thang as they boast great burgers, but dang people, those crispy beef tacos were a tasty treat. Grab two of those and then stop at Bob's Well Bread Bakery and you're good to go.


Fast becoming a weekend getaway for wine tasting from both SF and LA, I'm excited to see the Mexican food scene develop a little bit more in this scenic and relaxing part of California.

Taco Maven out.


8.27.2016

Tri-Tip Brisket Gourmet Taco Recipe


Ah Brisket. That meat, boiled on the stove for hours, that always looked grey at family gatherings. That's right, I'm NOT from Texas! Since Carnitas is basically pan-fried pulled pork, pulled beef, AKA brisket (the lower chest of poor Mr. Vaca) has become a popular gourmet Amerimex taco.

I was recently in Mexico, tasked with cooking for a local taco night and I got a little ambitious. The brisket cut is nowhere to be found at Costco (the safest place to buy your meat in the Cabo area.) I just couldn't let it go and so I bought some Tri-Tip and hoped for the best.

Tri-Tip is normally too nice a cut of meat to waste on a slow (2-3 hour simmer) but it actually came out great. It is the lower triangle of the bottom sirloin area. I tasted it at various phases and it was so tasty!

This portion of meat (a solid 1lb) made about 12-15 tacos. I used a tomato flavored tortilla, special ordered locally. I def. recommend flour over corn for this recipe. If you are feeling ambitious, make your own and ad some tomato paste to the mix for color and flavor.

Homemade Flour Tortillas

Taco Ingredients

1 lb of Tri-Tip
2 White Onions - Thinly sliced
1 can of Tomato Paste
2 bottles of Bohemia Obscura (Dark Beer)
1/2 cup of Olive Oil
Tsp. of Cayenne Pepper
Tsp. of Chile Powder
Generous Sea Salt to Taste
1 Tbl of Honey
1 Tbl Dried Oregano
1 Head of Cabbage
Green Tomatillo Salsa (Herdez or your own!)
Sour Cream
1 Small Red Onion - Finely diced
Cilantro - Finely diced


Use a good Dutch Oven or Heavy Covered Pot

Rub with a Tbl of Sea Salt and pan sear your piece of meat until brown on all sides (Use 1-2 Tbl of Grapeseed Oil to coat the pan)- Med heat here.

Add sliced onions stir them around until brown and wilted. Add your spices and let them get slightly browned/toasted.

Add your first bottle of beer - go ahead, take one sip but that's it! ;)

Turn the light down and add the Tomato Paste - dissolve it into the beer, turn the light to 'medium low' and simmer for 1 hour.

In an hour you should need more beer. Add it and cover and simmer another hour.

Now you should have a nice sauce but not too much liquid. Let it sit for a bit, maybe half an hour. You could do this part the night before, let it cool and then finish the next day.

To finish, simmer for another 20+ minutes. Cool slightly and taste your beef. It should be soft. If for some reason it's still resisting you, add another half bottle of beer, 1/4 cup of oil and continue to simmer.

Once it cools, you can shred with your hands... that's really the best way. Cut into chunks and shred each chunk. Reserve the sauce and use it over pasta the next day. Mmmmmmm.

For the garnish: I broiled a finely sliced head of green cabbage. Drizzle with olive oil and sea salt and broil until brown. It's even OK if some pieces get a little charred for effect.

I like to use a green salsa with this. Any good gourmet store should have a decent Tomatillo Salsa. If you are feeling ambitious, GO FOR IT. 

A spoonful of salsa, a squiggle of sour cream (from a squeeze bottle best) and then dust with red onions and cilantro.

I see after typing this that it's not exactly an EZ recipe, but it's worth it. DELICIOUS. If you already know how to make Brisket, I would pan fry it with a little tomato paste and the above listed spices to get a similar effect and use beer in your water.

Deeelicous!

8.06.2016

Emma's Warm Tomato JalapeƱo EZ Salsa Suprema


Emma is someone I worked with in the fashion biz years ago.

Every day she brought her own lunch, and every week it was a fine selection of homemade Mexican food. Tacos, tamales, enchiladas, tortas. YUM. Emma was always a sharer. Thank you Emma.

One day, the smell at her lunch table was insane and I was drawn over to her like a Chuck Jones cartoon character floating over a white cloud of aroma in the shape of a finger.

She shared some with me and I nearly died. What. Is. In. There???? It must be like a mole, 20 plus ingredients.

It was just chiles, onions, tomatoes, garlic. The usual suspects. But it was the ratio and the frying of the salsa after it was blended that made it so special. Oh and just the right amount of salt.

This was before I was the Taco Maven. The Herdez Salsa Casera has always been my fave. As much as I love Trader Joes, I don't like a single salsa that I have tried. All close to flavorless. And the supermarket Pico de Gallos are ridiculous. The minute you chop that stuff up it starts to go bad.

Currently, the two places I would drive just to get some salsa togo, and then go back home and put that salsa on my own taco are: 1) Viva Fresh in Westchester on Sepulveda Blvd. 2) Tinga Taqueria on La Brea. Their house salsa is a REVELATION. Bottle that shite please. Sell it at Trader Joe's.

This recipe probably serves 6-8 but for 2 I would halve it and make it fresh each time...

She also gave me another tip and said if you cut jalapenos face down once you have cut them in half, your fingers will be saved.

5 Tomatoes (med sized... romas or round) chopped
1/2 med white onion (finely diced)
1 or 2 med cloves of garlic (finely diced)
8 Jalapeno chiles (finely diced - seeds included)
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
2-4 Tbl. olive oil (heated)

*** She did not add cilantro - lots of people don't like it anyway, but if you feel like it, add some!

If you are great with the Cuisinart then go 'machine' all over yourself. You want a rough blend, not a soup. You want to see bits of everything and you want it to have some body. But you also want it to be smooth.

Finely chop everything, except the tomatoes (more chunky) and then give it about 3, 4 second bursts with one of those hand-immersion-blender wands (with blade in not the whipper)

When you have your nicely blended, but rough, mixture, you fry it in a pan with the hot oil for maybe 3-5 minutes... and that's when you add the salt.

Sometimes it feels like a little too much tomato and if the jalapenos don't have enough heat for you, go ahead and add 1 Serrano or 1/2 a Habenero (dios mio!)

There is something about this blend, maybe by frying it in the oil, that keeps the salsa from going bad quickly. And it's so so so so pretty. And tasty.

Viva La Salsa!!!!!