Taco Tuesday...or Friday or Saturday...
Updated: Aug 30, 2019
Hey all! Happy Friday! This is going to be a quick post because I literally just finished lunch and thought, "oh my God, I seriously have to tell people about this." So, here I am ready to talk...FOOD.
I don't know about you, but almost every man I know loves Taco Bell. I'm not sure why to be honest. It may be because they don't serve hamburgers, it may be because it's dirt cheap; I seriously don't know. I personally, am not a huge fan of it, but will go because it's cheap lol. I'm also not a big fan of Mexican food. However, I could eat my weight in chips and queso and Chuy's chicken and cheese releños with creamy jalapeño dip! I've been to several Mexican restaurants and even to Mexico for a family vacation and I just found that their seasonings are a bit bland for my taste. I am NOT a fan of hot and spicy food, but I am a fan of flavor.
A couple of years ago, a neighbor of mine had mentioned that we don't have any "authentic" Mexican restaurants around here. Evidently where she was from, there were many Mexican restaurants and food trucks. I really never gave it much thought because I had been to Mexico and seriously, how much more authentic could you get? So, in my world, Taco Bell was seemingly close enough without "running to the border" as they say in their commercials lol.
Well, for about 6 months now our daughter has been telling us of a food truck that serves Mexican street tacos one night a week and they "are the bomb" as she would excitedly state. (FYI, food trucks are just up and coming to this area) Of course, I always forgot about them until after I made dinner on the specific days they were open, but I will say I was a bit interested in trying them. I've always heard food truck food is some of the best food and honestly, why wouldn't it be? It's basically an extension of someone's grandma's kitchen. The food is normally recipes passed down for several generations because it's so good and finally a family member saved enough money and with major encouragement, opened an extension of their kitchen.
Fast forward a few more months and the little food truck has become so popular that they have found a small building to rent and have since opened a little restaurant! People are going nuts. AND... while scrolling on Facebook one night, I came across a post in a community group I'm a member of stating there's ANOTHER little 3 table restaurant serving Mexican street tacos! My daughter and her boyfriend made a couple's night of it and visited this new place and immediately messaged me to make plans to come try it. A few days later Bill and I headed out on Taco Tuesday (we don't seriously have a Taco Tuesday, but I know some do lol) to the little 3 table restaurant that happens to be a Mexican food market in the front and restaurant in the back. We spoke to the owner who introduced us to the menu of tortas and tacos. She explained that she is Venezuelan and her tacos are what is referred to as Mexican street tacos. Bill decided to try a torta and I decided on two different tacos.
Now, if you've had street tacos, then I apologize for this post and I hope you have a great weekend, but if you've never had one, this is what you can expect! First, Taco Bell has it all wrong. Second, I will probably never eat tacos any other way again...ever...
The tacos are served on 6 inch corn tortillas. Bill and I are NOT fans of corn tortillas. We've always favored flour tortillas, but our new Venezuelan friend encouraged us to try them and if we didn't like them she'd make us some flour tortilla tacos. They are not hard shelled or rolled up. They are however, warmed in some oil and each taco is served with two tortillas, not one. I found out when the tortillas are warmed in oil, the oil softens the them and can make them thinner. Two helps keep the meat from falling through. The layered ingredients is simple; meat (chickens, steak, or chorizo) onions, cilantro, and that's it. Seriously, that's it. Now this particular restaurant has 4 sauces you can add if you want. They range in mild to extremely spicy. Of course we went for the mild which was a mild garlic flavored white sauce and it was delicious. However, I did find the meat to be mild in flavor so the sauce really added to the entire dish.
Bill and I decided to visit again a couple of weeks later and I after that visit I decided I wanted to try and make them at home. The main reason though was because I have been dying to try or even make a delicious fish taco and this or the 'food truck turned restaurant' didn't offer a fish taco. A few years ago the thought of a fish taco about made me sick. I couldn't even envision fish having that "taco" seasoning flavor. But, Bill had them somewhere one night and after taking a bite of the seasoned fish, I didn't find it bad at all. The key there was keeping it mild in seasonings.
So, being the "foodies" that we are, Bill and I love trying to replicate dishes that we've tried and liked. I refuse to try and create an authentic dish I've never had because I don't know if I got it right or if it's really suppose to taste the way I made it, etc. For instance, Yorkshire Pudding. I've seen many recipes, etc., but until I try an authentic Yorkshire pudding (preferably one made by a pen pal!!!) I won't even try to make one. But, once I try something and like it, then it's off to replicating it if I can't get a true recipe. You might remember my post about how we fell in love with Brussel Sprouts after having them roasted with cauliflower in a spicy chili sauce at a local restaurant. We literally duplicated that puppy after two attempts and it has now become a weekly staple! Oh, and look...we even decided to try and grow some!! This picture was taken this morning. We have baby sprouts!!!!
Lord, what a process this has been. Patience is definitely required when growing these guys! So anyway, getting back to the tacos, the first ones made were fish tacos. I used cod. After reviewing some recipes on Pinterest, I created my own with just a few seasonings, baked it for fifteen minutes, pulled the fish apart and loaded it on the taco shells. To warm the taco shells, you'll want to do this when the fish comes out of the oven OR when the meat you're using is finished cooking and still warm/hot. I used a big non stick pan, lightly, and I can't stress that enough, lightly pour some avocado or olive oil (I've used both and have no preference) on warm pan and put corn tortillas (as many that will fit) into pan. Use tongs and quickly move the tortillas around the oil so the oil is somewhat spread evenly on the back side of each tortillas. After about 45 seconds, gently flip them over, careful not to tear them. Cook for another 45 seconds and flip again for 20 or so seconds then place on plate. If you should happen to use too much oil, that's okay, just pat them dry with paper towel if needed. (although I will say the greasy taco shells were bomb!) Then layer your meat, then onion, then some freshly cut cilantro. FYI, I've tried store bought cilantro sprigs, diced sprigs in a cup, and fresh from my garden and if you can get fresh, I highly recommend it. I never tasted such a difference until I started eating these darn tacos!
As for the sauce, which I seriously believe one must have, I made a homemade garlic mayo sauce and really liked it. However, out of curiosity, I decided to try store bought garlic aioli sauce and we have devoured it! I even made a homemade creamy jalapeño sauce that is pretty amazing with the tacos! The picture below is my lunch today. I made chicken for Taco Tuesday and made so much...on purpose. My goal was to have a few for lunches this week. So far I've made fish, chorizo, and chicken and honestly can't say which is my favorite...BUT those fish ones were pretty freaking awesome! Next Tuesday we try STEAK! Now, as for seasoning, I believe that should be a personal thing. I found these spices, mixed at your personal preference, have worked amazingly for these tacos. Depending on the amount of meat, I use 1-2 tsp. of cumin, 2-3 tsp. of garlic powder, 1 tsp. of paprika, 1-2 tsp. of chili powder, some salt and pepper, and that's it. In the morning, I literally dump the chopped up raw meat and seasonings into a bowl, mix it all with my hand and refrigerate until cooking time. However with fish, I do not. I mix all the seasonings together in a bowl and when ready to bake the fish, I sprinkle (heavily) the fish on both sides and then bake it on a greased cookie sheet for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
Oh and since I'm home eating them, I only use one corn tortillas instead of two because I'm totally okay with the meat falling on my plate and using a fork to stuff my mouth!
Hope you get the urge to try these, they seriously were amazing! No need to run to the border any longer!!