Monday, April 2, 2012

Ensenada TaCoMa, The Thrilling Conclusion

For the first part of the story, visit here.

It was back to the joy-ride that is driving in Mexico.  We meandered closer to the pinata and sombrero stalls, and my heart returned to a normal beat (normally I'm not this much of a chicken shit.  But when tourists in cruise ports get robbed of their cash and passports, a paranoid bitch like me starts paying attention) I may be a thug-life motherfucker, but I'm not loca en la cabeza.

We pulled up to a structure that seemed to be missing the front wall*.  Sky King's eyes lit up like a street hooker at an antibiotic sale. We walked in and went up to the counter of Taqueria la Comadre-there were simmering pots of yumminess as far as the eye could see, too many condiments sitting at room temperature to count, and the hygiene was definitely suspect-the proprietor spoke only Spanish--Bingo!

First up-3 tacos for him (asada, mole', and carnitas) and two for me (carnitas and mole').  The mole' (moe-lay) was chocolatey and gooey--cooked with chicken.  I had never had a chocolate mole' before, and was excited.  It was rich and flavorful.  The carnitas was also gooey-wet and drippy rather than a drier carnita.  Both were absolutely amazing. The asada was great, as well.

I was happy, satisfied, and proud of myself for embarking on a Taco Adventure with my husband. I figured we were good.  Maybe a few more shops full of crap I didn't need, maybe a dollar margarita or five, then back to the ship. 

How wrong I was. These tacos were just the tip of the taco burg.

It was two more stops before we really got into an appropriate taco seeking groove.  First, we were all rookied out--order tacos, shovel tacos in, speak amongst ourselves, establish a direction to walk.  By the 8th taco, we got smart. We started asking people where they ate.  This became our new mantra....:::gobble, gobble, gobble, "excuse me, when you aren't eating these tacos, where do you go?", schlep, schlep, schlep, order, repeat:::

Next up on the Uh-Mazing Top 5 Tacos was Garibaldi's.  We each had a single carnitas taco--we had finally realized this day was limited tummy space, and had decided to pace ourselves.  While we waited, we watched Sky King's dream girl handcraft tortillas (fucking whore, I could have slapped the tortillas out of her).  We received the carnitas tacos-they were a more traditional carnitas--slow-roasted then fried, to crisp some of the meat.  The flavor was incredible-not too salty, the perfect hint of orange.  Topped with pico do gallo, cilantro and onion, and we were conflicted.  The first round of tacos were amazing and moist, saucy and bursting with flavor. But these were great in a different way.  Alan, the owner--came over, and asked how they were, curious that we only had one apiece.  We explained our mission, and he sent us to our next location, a sports bar up the way.

The next round of tacos were good-but we had had better-in the last 20 minutes.  So it was one last stop, as the sun was setting and the town was becoming deserted of our cruising compadres.

Our last stop was Taqueria Mexico Lindo.  This place was good. Not great (hell, our sample size was LARGE), but they get a special mention or two.  The first, they carry Negro Modelo, which in Sky King's book gets major beer bonus points.  Next, in the middle of our gluttonous scarf-a-rama, a mother with two young children came in to beg-her daughter was tugging on clothing, saying, "por favor?", and asking for a taco.  The owner threw a tortilla on the grill, heated it, and handed it to her in a paper wrapper.  The family walked away sharing the tortilla, but not before Sky King emptied his pockets into the little girl's hands-I think this was one of our biggest expenses-and worth every penny.  Seeing a local businessperson show kindness to this family warmed our hearts--many of the local merchants looked at anyone begging with disdain, so it was especially nice to see an owner treat her and her family with respect.

The skies were darkening, our stomachs were ready to burst, and the scene of abject poverty threw a wet blanket on our taco extravaganza, so it was time to walk off some of the wonderful food.

Expanding waistlines and uncontrollable burping were the least of our concerns-each stomach rumble was a potentially explosive shabart.  We had to move quick. We managed to find our original shuttle driver, who regaled in our tale of outlandish American gluttony.

The next morning day, we woke up full. Foggy-brained, but full.  And excreting chile and cilantro from our pores.

*For reference, all of these locations are in the main tourist-y area, I believe the street has "Primero" in the name.  The owners were all incredibly friendly, about half spoke English quite well, and they all appreciated our need to find massive amounts of authentic tacos.

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