January 12, 2010

Taco Review #18 and #19 - Two Terrible Tico Tacos

It's false advertising or something to put a sign out in front of your restaurant advertising all sorts of great tacos while in reality not coming through with the goods. Case in point: Taqueria la Rosina in Las Juntas, Costa Rica - I mean it's one thing to have a lame taco or two on your menu at a restaurant - but a place claiming to be a "taqueria" better not be jackin' me around......and they better have beer dammit. You can't just throw that "taqueria" name around like it's nothin' - I mean, what if there was a "strip club" and you paid to go in and there were no titties? Wouldn't you be upset?....now of course you would.

OK - so it's like 145 degrees out and we just got done doing a long ride - for the last hour of that ride I am seeing mirages of cold beers and tacos in the shimmering heat ahead of me. When we see Taqueria La Rosina it was like finding an oasis in the desert.
So we sit down on the front patio (nice) and the lady comes out (nice) and asks what we wanted to drink.........well, "dos cervezas por favor" (I'm thinking "oh man, that's gonna be good")........she replies "sorry senior, no cervezas aqui". OK, so right there is sufficient grounds for standing up, flipping over the table and walking out - but I stay calm. I mean, after all we are at our very first "taqueria" ever in Costa Rica. Half in tears, I order a horchata to drink.
We order off of the menu, that sure 'nuf has tacos on it - bunches of em. Jen orders the cheese tacos (only veggie option) and I get it on with an order of Tacos La Rosina Cerdo (pork). So there we are, waiting for our tacos while drinking something that is not a beer and out pops our order. Jens cheese tacos are a familiar sight: rolled and deep fried, taquito style with a 1000 island dressing for dipping. Mine come out as pile a (actually decent) meat with three corn torts, pico, tomatillo salsa and a bowl of tico beans.

So first the cheese tacos. Immediately, as anybody can see, this does not qualify as a taco as defined by International Taco Association (ITA) standard definition. It's rolled, so plain and simple - it aint' a taco. Also, 1000 island dressing is also not an ITA approved condiment. I'm thinking "what are these people thinking?" However, even though they were not "true" tacos they were a pretty tasty mostly because they were deep fried.....and as anybody can attest to, you could deep fry a turd and it would probably be pretty good. I did not try the dressing - it just looked stupid.
So, the pork tacos. The meat was pretty good, lean, ok spices and of sufficient quantity to fill three torts.........which brings me to the torts. Corn tortillas really need to be cooked by either steaming or frying....I guess unless they are made right then and served to you hot. The reason for this is that the tortilla molecules tend to lose their bonding strength if they are cool (unless fried). When this happens, the second you fold a tortilla it just rips in half, which really sucks when you fill a tortilla and need to fold it to make a taco. Anyway, so that's exactly what happened: taco filled with meat, and salsa....fold....and....RIP! I'll tell you, nothing pisses me off more.
The tacos came with a side of refried (tico style) beans, which means they are made with Salsa Linzano and are very sweet. I don't really care for the sweet beans, but in small quantities they are ok. The tacos also came with a side of chopped tomatoes (or maybe a very weak attempt at pico de gallo) and a side of tomatillo salsa, which was actually pretty tasty. Nothing on the plate had even a hint of spiciness and there was not a green veggie to be seen for miles. No cilantro, lettuce, jalepeno...nada.

The reviews:
Cheese Tacos with 1000 Island Dressing:
Do not really qualify as tacos, therefore not considered. If I ever start doing taquito reviews I'll consider them. I have to admit though, they were tasty.
Pork Tacos:
Meatiness: 4.0/5.0 (good meat, decent spices)
Torts 1.0/5.0 (torts that disintegrate on contact - not good)
Sides 2.5/5.0 (the beans and pico should thank the tomatillo salsa for this high score)
Beer 0.0/5.0 (a "taqueria" without beer is not a taqueria)
Atmosphere 3.0/5.0 (ok patio out front to watch the bums)
Overall Score 2.1/5.0 (pretty low score, but just to give em a fair shake, we'll go back to try some of the other tacos and next time we'll bring our own sack of beer)

Brian Eno - Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch
Loretta Lynn - Miss Being Mrs
Billy Bragg - Keep the Faith
Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy Jr
Telepopmisik - Love's Almighty
Grisby and Young - John Henry
David Bowie - All the Mad Men
Team Dresch - Take on Me
Beat Happening - Nancy Sin
TV on The Radio - Dreams

January 10, 2010

....and then there's this guy

Even the Chinese are getting into the whole RV thing