It’s Tuesday. Well at least it was when the guys sat around the table to talk Taco. So listen in as Andy, Greg and Nathan try to decipher just what a Taco is and what it isn’t. Are Tacos highbrow or lowbrow? Do Tacos have to have a tortilla? And just where do Fritos and Vegans fit into the equation?
Well, these questions will be answered in typical Table Set fashion. That means while eating. Tacos, of course. Please excuse the crunch and growl, because you can’t eat Tacos quietly.
Greg decides to start the Taco Talk with a childhood favorite. The Old School Lowbrow Crunchy Taco. He considers it a “Proper Taco” and is surprised (relieved?) to find that Andy and Nathan do too.
If you want to make yourself an Old School Taco don’t look to these guys for directions. The recipe’s on the back of the box.
One more thing. Do the shells have to be stale for a Crunchy Taco to be a Proper Taco? Greg says “Yes”. Andy says “Toast them in the oven”. Nathan says “More please”.
Oh, and while we’re asking questions… just what do you drink with a Taco?
Artificially flavored sodas are fine (for 12-year-olds) but fortunately Nathan has brought something a bit more grown up. It’s called Siesta, a tasty mix of Tequila, Campari and Ruby Red Grapefruit. It comes from Flatiron Lounge in NYC and it’s a great Taco Tuesday party starter. Partly for its festive pink color and partly because it’s a terrific example of a “Batch Cocktail”. Batch Cocktails don’t need to be bottom of the barrel when you use top shelf ingredients.
Speaking of top shelf. Andy brought his version of a highbrow Taco that’s just sooo LA. It’s inspired by a vegan restaurant in West Hollywood known as Gracias Madre. Where they artfully combine classic LA Mexican patio culture with creative vegan fare. His version takes the vegan best of Gracias Madre and pairs it with the bold flavors of another great Los Angeles Taco joint, Guisados. The result is the best of the braised Taco tradition made with mushrooms. Hongos con Cilantro Tacos.
In between bites the guys get into some of the other vital elements for a successful Taco Tuesday. Salsa (by the bucketful) is certainly essential. Andy serves his highbrow Mushroom Taco with a roasted salsa verde you can make at home (recipe above). Be careful though, Greg warns that too much char can ruin a salsa and says to consider raw “summer salsas” as well (click here for recipe ideas). Nathan likes “blender salsas” (of course he likes blender drinks too). Don’t forget the Guacamole. Greg intended to make a Fuerte avocado version for the Table this Tuesday. However when the last of the season’s Fuerte avocados are in the house– it’s hard to keep them around for “guests”.
Of course what would Andy’s highbrow hongos be without homemade tortillas? Greg made a miserable fail of the job of a Taco Tuesday on a Easter Sunday at Andy’s house not so long ago. Determined to right that wrong he’s been perfecting his skills lately. So get up off the floor and step into Greg’s kitchen as he finally does tortillas justice. There are a few tips and he’s willing to share.
But Nathan decided to take the more traditional route and braise his pork all night. His Pulled Pork Tacos are served with Grilled Pineapple and Cilantro. But he just couldn’t decide if these Tacos were highbrow or lowbrow. After all, they’re served with a Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce (recipe below) so it could go either way. In the end you can decide for yourself. Should he serve them on gourmet tortillas, or ladle them straight into a Fritos bag? Greg’s mom would approve.
Once the Taco Talk gets going at your own table you’ll see just how easy it is to expand on the theme. Which is just what Andy did recently when he put together a mock French/Mexican Restaurant in his very own home. Viola! Chez Lazibônnez Mexican Bistro.
All this Taco Talk has gotten Greg off subject as well. He’s thinking about another Mexican treat. Cemita. What is a Cemita? Well, a Cemita is a sandwich originally from Puebla, Mexico. Making it a type of Torta. What distinguishes it from other more generic Tortas is its place of origin within Mexico and the roll it’s made with– also called a Cemita. You can learn more about the sandwich here.
Oh, and there’s that blue and white check deli paper Greg likes so much. So much that Andy bought some too. Just in time for dessert. Un Choco Taco.