One of the first things you'll learn about me is that I am no food snob. I am hardly a purist. In fact, my brother Sebastian absolutely balks at some of the things I eat and some of the ways I cook (he is a hater of all things Rachel Ray, but don't tell her).
I do, however, love food (have I mentioned this?) and have somewhat refined tastes as far as certain things go. Being a Latina who spent a good deal of my life in California (Northern and Southern) I like to think that I know good (and by this I mean tasty and somewhat authentic) Mexican food. I've eaten at my share of taquerias, nicer Mexican restaurants, taco trucks and even stands in Rosarito and Mexico City. In my opinion, no self-respecting taqueria calls beef tacos by any other name than "carne asada" tacos. If carnitas and al pastor aren't on the menu, well..... (if you don't have anything nice to say....bla bla bla).
Burritos are a whole other animal. The ones at several of the decent San Francisco Mission district taquerias give even the best Mexican cocinera a run for her money. Portland has several options of this very same caliber (plus the insanely divine spicy tempeh burrito made by Chencho at "El Nutri Taco," the taco truck he runs from his front yard on SE Woodstock (east of 82nd). Now, I have to tell you that the 7 years I spent on the East Coast (in cities like Boston, Philadelphia and sometimes New York) were like the 7 years of famine in the bible when it comes to good, authentic Mexican food. Not a real taco to be found. No pickled jalapeno/onion/carrot/radish mix to garnish. No decent salsa bars with the real thing.
But, I digress. Back to my not being a food snob and Taco Tuesday..... A couple of weeks ago I dropped in on my sister and brother-in-law for an impromptu happy hour (as I often do on Monday nights when my husband has class). They were actually on their way out for dinner because they had a gift card that someone had given Joel for father's day. They were headed to (I cringed a little) Baja Fresh on Sunnyside Rd. They invited me and my kids along, and I honestly couldn't resist the company (even if I felt a little leary about having Mexican food at a chainy-chain place).
Well, I was very pleasantly surprised. I ordered carnitas tacos and almost died when I bit into the first one and experienced.....THE REAL THING!!!! I'm talking about juicy, salty, perfectly seasoned pork with authentic-tasting green salsa as well as chopped white onions and cilantro on top. They also had an impressive salsa bar with many different selections and bottomless tortilla chips. Another plus, they were playing classic Salsa music. We had a great time and I really enjoyed the tacos, not to mention the chainy-chain prices.
That was on a Monday. But when we were walking out, I noticed a sign that said "Taco Tuesdays - 99 cent Tacos." If you know me even a tiny little bit you know that I love a bargain almost even more than I love delicious food. So....I was hooked. I went back with Sabrina, our friend Michelle and all the kids last night for Taco Tuesday and had a blast. This time I had a Negra Modelo - the perfect beer to pair with tasty tacos.