Tasty Thoughtful Tacos at Taqueria de Mexicante

The fast food complex applied to street style tacos ruined them for me. Processed cheese, sweetened ground beef; instant “Mexican” spice mix are the kinds of occupational hazards that ruins palates of people like me who make food reviews. It’s almost as if the chef tells the guest: “Just pay up, grab my food and go!”

Tacos are street food but they deserve respect. You know, a simple concept but executed thoughtfully? Is there a taqueria as particular to process as me when it comes to words?

I heard of a mom-and-pop taqueria that hand-rolls their tortillas. Are there still taqueros in the country who respect the humble taco? I asked Gian, the creative mind behind the tortillas at Taqueria de Mexicanto. He answered, “You tell me.”

Challenge accepted hombre.

Arranged this taco bouquet for myself. Center is the “Mulitas” – similar to a griddled corn tortilla quesadilla, and it is surrounded by alternating Carne Asada (steak) and Carnitas (pulled pork) tacos.

Mulitas what?

Gian explains that a “Mulitas” is a rare taco truck find. It’s similar to a quesadilla with its griddled tortilla but stuffed with tender shredded meat, blended cheese and vegetables. It’s familiar despite being new. It’s comforting like a proper grilled cheese but with the elaborate spicing of Mexican-inspired cuisine and the sweet, caramelized crunch of the grilled corn.

My first bite was a dance of flavors and textures. The sweet and crispy tortillas broke and unleashed a flamenco of tender meat, cilantro, diced onions, and melted cheese. The richness was balanced with the refreshing acidity of the homemade tomato salsa, herbs-infused sauce, pickled red onions, and shredded cabbage. There was a fiesta on my tongue. I missed it as I wrote this.

I’m honored to be the second to ever try this. The first must have been his wife- so no contest there. I hope they add this to the menu. They should. 😀 

Carne Asada- the love child of tacos and steak

The Carne Asada is a clever bundle of simple ingredients prepared tastily. Together, the sweet, spicy, and charred flavors work really well. The grilled steak meat is primal. It taps into our ancient memories of cooking meat over a campfire. The caramelized onions are a gentle almost sophisticated way to remind me that this is more than just good steak plus carbs. Squeeze in some lime juice for that extra dimension on your palate.

You take a bite and as the taco yields, you get the soft, subtle sweetness of the onions and then the peppery, smoked richness of the steak strips. The soft onions and the medium-well steak strips provide contrasting textures.

This is the least tedious in preparation among the food I sampled but it’s elegant in bringing out the distinct qualities of the ingredients.

Carnitas – one of the best ways to eat pork

The Carnitas shows how simple pork can be elevated when it is slow-cooked in a marinade. The longer cooking time allows the flavors to marry together and make the meat tender enough to be pulled and shredded. 

This taco is easy to love and personally one of my favorite ways to enjoy tacos aside from barbacoa. The sweet shredded pieces of pork give citrusy hints of orange, lime, and cinnamon. The meat matches well with the crunch and sweetness provided by the diced onions and cilantro. Adding acidity through squeezing some lime juice elevates it further.

“Kanto” but artful

It’s a joy to find a food business that treats its food, no matter how pedestrian, with the same reverence as art. You can literally taste how much the chef gives himself into the food. You really get to know someone by how much care they took to feed you. There is a grounded but sincere art in how Taqueria de Mexicanto uses tacos as its medium. As a foodie and a writer, I cannot help but feel a sense of kinship.

And isn’t that one of the joys of food? Making connections? Enjoying great food around a community who understands, in the same way as you? In the backdrop of the pandemic and of people in conflict, I treasure moments like this of comfort and community. Thank you for sharing this to me Taqueria de Mexicanto.

Until we meet again. 😀

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Panda Prime takes pride in its reviews. In no part was this review paid in any form by the food entrepreneurs we feature. We do this for fun and as an act of love to the food industry. In more ways than one, they have fed us and welcomed me to their kitchens. Peace!