taquitos de papa

How to spot a GREAT taco shop

People think that just cause I’m Mexican that I eat tacos ALL the time. Smh.

You muthafuckin right!!!

I can quote “Blood in Blood out” and Chalino Sanchez lyrics on command. I have the shot mark on my arm that proves I was born in Mexico and one of my exes tried doing brujería on me. I have drank Pepsi from a plastic bag and judge people who tattoo their own name on themselves.

Yes. This makes me an EXPERT on tacos.

Tacos weren’t a luxury back then. I can’t relate to people who have had “taco night”, whatever that means. Taco night was Monday. And Tuesday. And Wednesday. And…

Tacos meant survival. Maybe just tacos de frijoles. Or taquitos de papa. Bro, give me tortillas and we can make tacos out of anything. Put a hot dog in my tortilla and watch me flourish.

There’s levels to this shit.

Time has passed, dude from Bronco died and everyone loves Mexican food. Tacos shops everywhere. National chains screaming authentic. Tip #1 - if the menu is in English, it’s NOT authentic. Chipotle is real Mexican like Patron is real tequila.

“I’ve been in this game for years, it made me an animal, there’s rules to this shit, I wrote me a manual” - Biggie

Not all tacos are built the same. The brother Eddie (@eddieftw) hit me up with the idea of doing something real for our people. Something that the Aztecs predicted on a smaller calender in the piramid where they had crazy parties every Saturday. Literature that will help you prosper for the rest of your life.

‘How to spot a GREAT taco spot"

LOCATION

The best taco spots are on the southside of the city. There is usually either a Cricket or Boost mobile store within a six block radius of it. The same radius should include a currency exchange and dude selling bootlegg DVDs outside. Consider yourself at home if there’s a lady selling tamales or elotes on the corner. A homeless dude outside asking for a quarter makes it official.

INSIDE TACO SPOT

If you open the door to the establishment and Los Temerarios are playing through surround sound, the tacos are delicious. Los Cadetes, any rancheras, Banda Recodo and Los Bukis all give extra flavor to tacos.

There are certain things to look for inside the taco shop that guarantee an amazing taco experience. A-Z

A. TV with a futbol game playing. Extra points if it’s NOT el America :)
B. A calendar from a nearby panadería hanging on Wall
C. Mazapán or Carlos V for sale next to the register
D. Zapata mural on a wall
E. Gang graffiti in restroom
F. Restroom is Co-ed
G. An ad for a mariachi hanging on door
H. Prices for sour cream, lemons and aguacate written with marker
I. Picture of a dead relative with a San Judas candle
J. Chiles en vinagre already on table
K. Salsa roja y verde on deck (no store bought bottles)
L. One flat iron where EVERYTHING is cooked
M. Menu has it as “bistec” not carne asada
N. Two tortillas per taco
O. Cops eating there (them fools drive all day, they know the dope spots)
P. Agua de horchata next to the agua de Jamaica…Tamarindo further proves it’s legit
Q. They sell Mexican Coke bottles and calling cards
R. Jarritos are a must
S. They ask “con todo?” even though it’s just cebolla y cilantro
T. Option to put lechuga y tomate instead
U. Al Pastor twirling on that gyro machine
V. Tacos served on those oval plastic trays they use at Burger joints
W. Ad for mechanic or apartment for rent by window
X. Cashier speaks a lil English, unless it’s a kid, usually owners son (taco joints that break child labor laws are THE best)
Y. Writes your order on post it note and hangs it by Taquero
Z. Tacos to go are in aluminum foil and a paper bag (hold it from the bottom cause it could rip)

EL TAQUERO

The actual Taquero is THE most important key to a dope taco spot. The best taqueros don’t know a lick of English. (except “madafaka”) If your taquero is wearing a Marlboro t shirt (tucked in all the way of course) with a naked chick or his home state on his baseball hat….be prepared to have a mouthgasm!

He can’t be taller than 5'9. A tall taquero is the devil’s work. Big mustache with no beard let’s you know that he knows what he’s doing. Trust him. He loves this. He’ll even ask you “como están los tacos?” with a crooked smile. Don’t be afraid of the bags under his eyes or the smell of yesterday’s beer. Heck, he may STILL be drunk. It’s common knowledge that la Cruda forces you to be great. The more hungover he is….the greater the taste enhancement will be. Consider yourself lucky that beer was on sale yesterday.

THE TEST

Tacos make you do things that you’re not even aware of. Your body reacts to tacos. How do you know if the tacos were flame? First your eyes will close and you might make sounds. Some might sound a lil sexual. You see taco eating is an experience. Your body is agreeing. Might agree so much that you nod your head in a “yes” fashion. Yes. The tacos were FIRE.

(Disclaimer: there can be exceptions to some of these based on what city you live in…but 95% of these are not debatable)

*sidenote: I was prepared to say that a great taco spot closes really late on weekends. The more I thought about it…No. Great taco spots don’t need to stay open late. They already did great based on performance, they don’t need that extra drunk money just cause everything else is closed.

One final thing. Please know the difference between a TAQUERIA and a Mexican Restaurant. It is NOT the same thing. Never order tacos from a Mexican restaurant…and never order a platillo from a Taqueria. Follow these rules and enjoy life.

Now be great.

“Tres de asada carnal!!”