Saturday, March 8, 2008

Right this way for tacos

As a break from my hours of studying for these horrible teaching exams, Daniel and I drove out to Sunset Park, Brooklyn to grab some real brain food - tacos, baby. We had planned to go to Restaurante Taqueria Guerrero, which was reviewed in the Voice recently. Supposed to be spicy and delicious. But of course it was closed. Luckily, we had a few other options in mind, and so, undeterred, we made a trek through the pouring rain in search of Mexican goodness.

First Stop:

A fairly large, brightly lit family spot. Our waitress didn't speak English, and when she discovered our depressing lack of Spanish, she went and found someone who could help us interpret the menu. The man she sent over clearly found our questions about queso and crema a little strange, but he obliged, and we eagerly ordered. Here's what we ate:

Carne Asado Taco - served in a double tortilla, very simple, with beef, a thick helping of guac, some onions, and a nice green salsa and limes on the side

The verdict: This was Daniel's favorite; I liked it, but found the beef greasier than it needed to be; still though, the tortillas were great as was the guac, and it was hands down the best taco I've had in NY (well at least for the moment...)

Pollo Taco - same thing, but with pulled chicken

The verdict: surprisingly flavorful for chicken, and I found it really refreshing after the greasy beef

Tamale roja - chicken tamale

The verdict: My goodness, do I love tamales; just my style; a big thick helping of carbs with a little bit of moist chicken, then a little green salsa poured on; oh happy day.

Next stop:

Much smaller; a little divier, but filled with local families - all signs that something good was happening inside. And it was.

Pollo torta - this is what we came for, having read in the Times that they have the best tortas in the neighb. This was poached chicken, a thin layer of refried beans, avocado slices, pickled peppers and carrots, and mayo (which I wiped off) on a toasted Kaiser roll

The verdict: having had no other tortas in the neighb, I can't compare, but if there are better, let them come forward and present themselves. Again, the chicken was surprisingly moist and tasty, the avocado plentiful, the peppers perfectly spicy, and the roll at once perfectly crunchy and soft. Loved it.

Huarache con carne - we asked for an huarache with beans, but this came instead; huarache covered in beef, lettuce, and a little cilantro. We drizzled it in red and green salsas.

The verdict: similar beef to the taco at Matamoros, but less greasy. The huarache on the other hand was grease city. I couldn't eat more than a few bites, but Daniel was happy to dig in. Unfortunately, he found it very difficult to maneuver, and as he tried to cut it, the paper plate it was resting on kept sliding all over the table. Very charming.

Cecina taco - a taco with special dried, salted beef (one of the specialties of the place we were originally intending to try, so we decided to get it here); double tortilla-ed taco, with onions and little bits of tomatoes; I sprinkled some lime and green salsa on my half

The verdict: AMAZING; the beef was like slightly moist jerky; tangy and chewy and salty and fatty and phenomenal; with the delicious tortillas and the onion and the salsa on top, it was the best of the day. Cecina is my new best friend.

In spite of the torrential rain and traffic that we had to brave to get these tacos and friends, it was a great aftertnoon. How exciting to know that such delectable Mexican is a ten minute drive away. And how sad to know that we're leaving in a month and a half. Although I guess moving to California, one can't really worry about lacking good tacos. But there's something about getting them in Brooklyn that makes it all the sweeter (and saltier and spicier and chewier and beefier and altogether delicious.)

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