Now THIS is a themed-food week I can get behind! Because – duh – tacos. Also, I’m assuming the choice of dates has something to do with the Dia de los Muertos so, you know, history.
From Nov. 3-9, a bunch of local restaurants have $5 nacho and taco menu specials. When you buy at least three of them, you can complete a “passport” and drop it off or scan and email it to Style Weekly to be in the running for a $200 Visa gift card. Win something, did you say? Obviously, I made it my mission to complete this taco challenge!
I started my Mexican food adventure Monday at Cha Cha’s Cantina, the food partner/sponsor for the Week. A bunch of my co-workers and I schlepped down the hill from our office to Cary Street and ordered a mix of the steak taco special (“grilled flank steak topped with fresh mango, roasted corn and avocado relish”) and the shrimp taco special (“seared shrimp, roasted corn and avocado relish and fresh mango”). We all swapped tacos so everyone ended up with one of each, in addition to the side of rice.
All I have to say about Cha Cha’s tacos is WOW. They were amazing! I hate to say it, but I’d eaten there before and never been overly impressed. They do standard Mexican food well, but I’d never had anything I’d consider a standout dish. Well these tacos changed that. Seriously, if you can only eat one of the taco specials for Nacho Taco Week, go here with someone else, order one of each, swap a taco and enjoy!
Next on the list was lunch with my Mom on Wednesday. She’s recently taken a new job downtown, so I’ve been enjoying meeting her for lunch and introducing her to some of my favorite spots. Citizen is one of them. At first glance, they look like a hole-in-the-wall sandwich shop, but a closer look at their menu reveals an eclectic mix of breakfast options, tortas (pressed sandwiches), salads and sides with a focus on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. I had the Creole Taco special (“house smoked chipotle Tasso ham and kale on soft corn tortillas topped with Mudbug pico de gallo, served with jalapeno, lime and Celeriac remoulade”). I ordered a side of jerked collards and a side of celery root slaw for my mom and I to share. My favorite thing about Citizen is their bold flavors, and the Creole tacos did not disappoint. Between the ham, kale and remoulade, there was a great mix of spicy, sweet, sour, tangy, crispy and savory. So good!
Last on the list was a place I’ve been wanting to try for a while. My husband and I took a trip to Los Cabos, Mexico a few years ago, and I fell in love with Baja Mexican cuisine – particularly fish tacos. Pelon’s Baja Grill has a fish taco special on the Nacho Taco Week list, so I ordered a couple specials plus a kids’ meal for my boys and swung by after work to pick them up. They were everything I expect Baja cuisine to be – fresh, light, flavorful, crispy and crunchy. Served with a side of rice and beans, the tacos were topped with a spicy sauce that was the perfect match for the plentiful, crispy cabbage and chunks of fried white fish. Of course, nothing in the States can match the deliciousness of an authentic, Baja fish taco, but these came close.
So what are you waiting for? Nacho Taco Week isn’t over until Nov. 9.