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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Novice Foodie's Taco Crawl

Posted By on Tue, Sep 1, 2009 at 3:30 PM

Page 2 of 2

  • Kelli Best-Oliver

When our tacos came, we both dug in. Taqueria tacos, if you're a Chipotle/Taco Bell/El Maguey-loving gringo, are a simpler affair: two small corn tortillas topped with your chosen meat, chopped onions and cilantro; on the side is a lime wedge to squirt over the whole thing. I added a drizzle of the aforementioned salsa verde. My favorite was the al pastor; spit-grilled pork with pineapple, which makes for a sweet and salty combination that is downright addictive.

By the time we finished at el Torito, I knew I was heading for trouble. My stomach was already feeling full, bloated with an ocean of agua fresca, but we must soldier on in the name of bold food exploration. However, in my heart of hearts I knew my taco crawl was heading for epic failure. I doubted I would last much longer. We waddled next door to La Vallesana, home to a crowded patio and an incredibly awesome braided rattail on the patron next to us. I ordered another al pastor, along with a lengua (beef tongue) and a horchata (a sweet drink often made from rice), as they were out of their fruit-flavored agua frescas. We chomped on radishes, brought to our table instead of chips, while we waited.

I was only able to eat half of each of my tacos, as delicious as they were, before feeling as though I was going to pass out, so we got a to-go box, and, weeping in the desperation of our failure, headed home, where I put on sweatpants and watched reruns of Degrassi and lamented my failed attempt at epic taco consumption.

I thought of my original plans, to slowly eat a dozen small tacos, maybe a torta, all washed down with agua fresca, and realized the laughable idealism that damned me from the start. No matter. I can return again, to conquer the other taquerias of Cherokee, Taqueria el Bronco or Garduño's, wiser in my strategy: no more than two tacos per taqueria, go easy on the sides, and when the girl at the counter suggestively sells you a small agua fresca, take her advice.

Kelli Best-Oliver is on a quest to become a full-fledged foodie. She chronicles her adventures for Gut Check every Tuesday. She writes about any damn thing she pleases at South City Confidential.

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