Friday, September 5, 2008

Searching for my Taco De Ojo

A couple fine tacos from
La Perlita on Waughtown Road.
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who wanted me to explain the appeal of the taco. Since she was a vegetarian, she figured she could join me on a leg of my taco quest and eat a reduced taco of lettuce, cheese and sour cream. Not so! I explained. No, the traditional Mexican taco never comes with lettuce, sour cream, or even cheese. Instead, the taco is made with a lightly oiled corn tortilla, which is then filled with a type of meat, diced onions, cilantro, and then accompanied with lime wedges and hot sauces to use to taste. "So I would be reduced to eating onions and cilantro on a corn tortilla?" she asked. "...With lime," I corrected.

It may not sound like much, but what makes the taco great is the tasty meats that you can put in these things. The standby is the taco al pastor (taco with barbecued pork), which are served at any taqueria and are almost always excellent. But I usually also try a place's taco de lengua (tongue taco). These are usually terrific, with the beef tongue tasting like very tender cuts of steak, although sometimes the tongue is cut in such a way that you can taste the tastebuds, which I'm not really so down with. It doesn't seem right to be eating a food that might be tasting you back.

Of course, I am adventuring to find places that serve other exciting taco meats. At one place a couple weeks ago I tasted my first taco de cabeza (head taco), which is made with cuts of muscles from a cow's head. Ultimately better than it sounds. What I would really like to find is a place that serves the elusive taco de ojo (eye taco). From what I understand, these are at least served in Los Angeles somewhere. Interesting fact: the phrase "taco de ojo" is basically used in Spanish the way we use "eye candy" and will return some very interesting results if you do a Google search.

1 comment:

Aaron said...

That pic is a step up where your food photography is concerned. The problem with the previous ones, I think, was that you seemed only to grab the camera after you'd already eaten your fill, leaving you with only carnage for the pictures. Just remember: always pillage before you burn, but always photograph before pillaging.

Good tacos are hard to find over here, so please keep up the consumption on my behalf.