Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taco Quest Continues: The Whole Cow, Nothing but the Cow

Last week, I made it out to L.A. to continue my ongoing quest for some of the finer tacos this side of the border. In particular, I was interested in retracing the steps of intrepid New York Times reporter Cindy Price, who wrote an impressive article on the authentic taquerias in the greater LA area, just as I was discovering tacos in Central Illinois. In this two-part series, I detail some of the highlights of my own taco expedition.

Some of the fine tacos at Lilly's Taqueria... I think that the taco de ojo is the third one.
With my friend J.J. joining me for the trip, we headed to Santa Barbara to recreate some of the major highlights of Cindy's trip. First stop: Lilly's Taqueria, where they serve lots of cow parts: eye tacos (taco de ojo), lip tacos (taco de labio), and cheek tacos (tacos de cachete), and finally head tacos (taco de cabeza -- what part of the head, you ask? I don't know!!). Many of these were animal parts that had not really occurred to me as possibly being food prior to the visit to Lilly's. But I ordered them all.

Of course the highlight was the taco de ojo -- I'd been looking forward to trying it for some time. Due to some prior arm-twisting, I had elicited an agreement from J.J. to take a bite of the taco de ojo herself, however I didn't force her to follow through with this when we got there... the eye taco tasted alright but had sort of a gooey slimey quality to it. Also, right after I told her she was safe, I took another bite and encountered a bit that tasted something like tough cartilege (presumably this would have been J.J.'s bite). This caused me to wonder if I had bitten into an iris or something, but I didn't dwell on it and kept munching. Best not to think about these things.

Next we headed to La Super Rica. The NYT's Cindy Price had gotten my hopes up that I might spot some David Crosby-class celebrities here, but there was no one here that I recognized. Their taco menu was a lot more limited than Lilly's -- I think their options were parsed down to steamed and grilled pork and steak, and I must admit that both were mighty tasty. The line here stretched out the door, which I've heard is pretty typical at La Super Rica. As I bit into my steak taco I wondered whether there might be some inverse relationship between the number of weird animal parts served and the length of the line stretching out the door. With happy faces and full bellies, we headed back to L.A., where the taco journey continues...

Next time on Taco Quest: East L.A. and beyond!

1 comment:

Michelle Woolley said...

DW - I won't lie, I'm utterly disgusted that you ate eye tacos!!! Please don't ever do that again. Thank you :)