October 26, 2008

The Taco Guru is in the House

I guess I'm as big of a Taco Expert as you could ever hope for. I know, I know - you're asking yourself "what the hell does a pasty-white midget Guero know about tacos?" Well chingasos you'd better back off because I've definitely eaten a taco or two in my day and have even lived in a few taco hot spots over the years, California, Denver and now, New Mexico. I must say, the taco situation in New Mexico is surprisingly pretty weak as most New Mexicans would rather have their "Spanish", or even "Mexican" food drowning in a few gallons of red or green chili. I have no problems with that because that shit is good too - but nothing, I mean NOTHING beats a good taco - the food of the gods. If there is a heaven, I'm pretty sure God and Allah and Vishnu and Krishna and the rest of those crazy characters are sitting around eating warm carnitas wrapped in couple of maize tortillas with a little bit of cilantro and lots of jalapenos. No doubt they are washing that all down with a shot of Don Julio and cold Modelo chaser. Shit, guess I'd better start praying.

More qualifications: I've travelled all over Mexico and eaten all kinds of tacos at all kinds of messed up taco stands - many after stumbling out of a cantina at 2:00 in the morning - those are the best tacos ever because even the shitty tacos are good (yes, it IS possible to get shitty Mexican food in Mexico).

Here I will scientifically analyze various tacos (and maybe a few wanna-be tacos) whenever a taco dares me to eat it. Bring it, tacos!

Taco Review #1 - the Hippie Taco, Eske's Brewpub, Taos New Mexico
Ok, so this is probably not the best place to get a REAL taco, but that's where Jen and I ended up last night and luckily they had shrimp tacos on the menu. Eske's ALWAYS has great food so I figured I wasn't gonna get screwed.
I put my order in with the hippie waitress and watched the hippie cooks slap it all together. When it finally landed on my table, first thing I thought was "Damn you hippies! too many veggies!" it looked like a cabbage taco with no visible sign of any shrimp (in the photo I had to brush away some of the cabbage just so you could see it wasn't ALL veggies). OK, so it came with a side of beans (pinto+black) and some sort of weird Asian(?) rice and a small container of Pico de Gallo. Personally, I think Pico is for pussies, I'd rather have a REAL taco salsa made of roasted tomatoes, red chilis, etc - but it will do. A few jalapenos or chipoltles would have been nice too.
The tacos were actually pretty decent, as I knew they would be. Lots of crispy tiny shrimp, cabbage, cilantro, tomatoes, jack cheese and probably some patchouli. They were pretty big tacos and I was fully expecting total tortilla bustage before I was done, but it never happened. At $10 for the whole meal it was a little steep ($10-30% [$3] for the beans and rice=about $3.50 per taco). Sorry to boggle your minds with all this hard-core math, but I told you this was going to be a scientific analysis.
Here's the breakdown:
Meat: 2.5/5
Veggies: 3.0/5
Tort: 3.75/5
Salsa: 1.5/5
Size: 4.0/5
Price: 2.5/5
Beers Drank: 1 Hoppy Harvest Ale, 1 Artist Ale
Overall Score: 2.875
Not a bad score for a place that also has sushi and a club sandwich on the menu.
TACO ALERT: Eske's shrimp tacos are not on their regular menu - it was the "special of the day". In a pinch, order the Fatty - a smothered burrito also done hippie style