2011.05 Taqueria el Repollito

2011.05 Taquería el Repollito

Sunday, August 7, 2011

102 5th Street, Coalinga, CA 93210

Coalinga

Just a few miles off Interstate 5, somewhere between Los Angeles and Sacramento, you can find the town of Coalinga. Fortunately or unfortunately bypassed by the big freeway, charming Coalinga maintains a humble and historical character, its economy largely driven by agribusiness and prisons.

Taquería el Repollito, in the middle of town, makes a fine place to stop for some road trip tacos. Carmen and I stopped off in the midst of taking the scenic route home from San Jose.

I had one each of the carne asada, al pastor, and carnitas tacos. The tacos ordinarily come with cabbage, which I asked them to hold, but now that I know that “el repollito” means “little cabbage,” I wonder if I made the wrong decision asking them to hold their namesake component.

They were all very good, and big in size.

I appreciate the vaguely informal style of the building – it reads as a rectangle with a ramada-like canopy erected as an afterthought. The canopy’s structure is rather crude, but in an appropriately agricultural way, meeting one’s expectations of what to encounter on the Open Road in the American West.

Posted: August 21st, 2011
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X2 Fritland

X2 Fritland

March 6, 2010

49 Henri Maus Street, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

During a two-week European vacation, I ate only one thing called a taco. The fried triangle you see in the picture was a menu item at fried-foods mecca Fritland in central Brussels, and it was called simply “Taco”. It consisted of a meaty, curry-flavored sludge, wrapped into a tortilla before being breaded and fried. This is basically a taco-inspired croquette, and reminded me of a samosa or something from a Japanese convenience store. In the photo you will also see a “poulycroc”, which is essentially a gigantic version of a Burger King chicken fry.

Of course, it was delicious. Anybody who tells you they don’t enjoy fried starches is most likely either a liar or self-delusional.

Posted: March 21st, 2010
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X1 Rolando’s Taco Shop

X1 Rolando’s Taco Shop

February 15, 2010

815 C St, San Diego, CA 92101

San Diego

Garrett and I road-tripped down to San Diego today, so that I could buy a bicycle I spotted on Craigslist – the world contains few other provocations that could motivate such a long drive. Lunchtime afternoon in San Diego, we detoured off the freeway to avoid a spot of traffic into downtown, and soon noticed Rolando’s Taco Shop. Located near Woodbury’s SD architecture school, we deduced that this must be a place where architecture students eat. The excellent plexiglas sign fitted into the window compelled us. The downtown neighborhood was quiet on this President’s Day afternoon.

We each ordered the plate of “5 mini tacos” for $5.99 each. We navigated the serveuse’s instructions – requesting that guacamole be skipped, and onions and cilantro only be provided. Instructed to choose only two meats per plate, I went with three carne asadas and two carne adobadas. Garrett chose carne asada and carnitas. They weren’t that miniature after all – four would have sufficed. They were nearly as big as the average taco. It made me wonder what the non-mini tacos at Rolando’s look like.

Tortillas were doubled, but not laminated, and fried to a mild leatheriness, unusually yellowy and corny. I liked them. The meat was also very tasty. The carne asada had a nice meaty flavor and was altogether right. The carne adobada was red and savory, and tasted like fried goodness, with some bits charred to a crispy blackness, but in a good way. I tried a bite of the carnitas, and found it fried and crispy. The green salsa from the salsa bar was a bit bland, but the rojo salsa was hot, thick, and with a deep red color. A fine meal!

This entry receives an “X-tacos” designation, because it’s not a Los Angeles-area taco shop, and thus not part of the AB0907 “Cincuenta Taquerías” project per se. Garrett suggested that such outliers should be given an “X” designation, cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X-plane_(aircraft).

Posted: February 15th, 2010
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