A Tribute to Tacos

By on Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Tacos are hot. From the corner taqueria to the trendy food truck on up to Rick Bayless’ Topolobompo restaurant in Chicago, tacos are fast becoming as popular as hamburgers. No surprise, since tacos are cheap, tasty, filling and versatile. Strict authenticity is not the goal so much as freshness, fresh ideas and fiery flavor—leaving stiff corn shells filled with ground beef and shredded cheddar as a distant, bad memory.

Fig and roasted pork taco. Photo © Guzzle & Nosh

On this day devoted to tacos, here is a look at the stunning number of ways we are filling, eating and sharing our tacos:

Kogi BBQ—You can’t talk about tacos without mentioning Kogi and its famous Korean/Mexican taco phenomenon. For $2.10 you can eat a famous short rib taco at any of the company’s numerous food trucks or at its newer sit-down restaurant.

Jackson MS—not a place normally synonymous with the taco, Jackson is home to Babalu.
If you haven’t heard of this taco and tapas place, you will. Chef David Ferris is whipping up tasty tacos such as Carne Vaca, made with rosemary marinated flat-iron steak, pico de gallo, salsa roja and cotijo cheese.

San Francisco—Unusual taco fillings found their way into eager mouths at the recent Chefs SF events, as reported by YumSugar. Zare at Fly Traps’ Persian Lamb taco was one of them.

Tortillas—You’ve no doubt noticed the “low-carb,” “whole-wheat” and other varieties of tortillas on the grocery shelves. Major tortilla companies are striving to keep up with consumer demand for better-tasting and better-for-you choices. Of course nothing beats a homemade tortilla, and you too can have your very own tortilla factory. Just invest in a tortilladoro maker like this one.

Tacos Cuernavaca from the LA Street Food Fest. Photo © Guzzle & Nosh

Al Pastor—in central Mexico, the “shepherd-style” taco is filled with marinated meat (usually pork) that’s been roasting on a spit and bathed in spicy chiles. It is now a term we must know whenever we talk tacos. Find noteworthy al pastor tacos at Taqueria Velazquez in South-Central Los Angeles; or make your own using a recipe off Justin Carmony’s blog.

Potato tacos and other meatless wonders—Vegetarian and vegan cuisine have moved into the realm of the once-unashamed carnivorous world of tacos. We’ve seen great-looking recipes from chopped, spiced potatoes (think cottage fries in a tortilla) to sliced fresh mushrooms and cotija cheese.

Tacos de guisado. Photo © Street Gourmet LA

Tacos de guisado—They may sound ultra-gourmet but in truth, tacos de guisado are not. It doesn’t mean they aren’t amazing. Street Gourmet LA’s Bill Esparza introduces taco lovers to what is likely the most humble of taco versions, consisting of a flavorful stew made of, well, pretty much anything. “It’s your mom throwing some of that left over machaca with eggs in a tortilla as you run off to school.” Found all over Mexico and making their way north.

Sharing your tacos—on a final note, we tip our sombreros to Dale Crower, who on a recent busy afternoon bought a couple of street tacos and walked to his car. Then he walked back, haunted by the hungry eyes of a homeless man. Read about sharing tacos on Curve Wire and then do the right thing.

Written by Erika Kotite

Erika Kotite is an editor, writer and owner of Toque.

2 Comments

  1. Hey, I feel like such a philistine. I had no idea all these twists on the taco existed. Thanks for illuminating this for me. (PS: I grew up on my grandmother’s housekeeper’s Mexican food in South Texas! Yum.)

  2. RT @ToqueMag: A Tribute to Tacos http://t.co/TBMgCm1E

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