Hello, my name is Joe, I am Adriana's Cocina's web designer and marketing assistant, and I'd like to preface this blog post by saying that these are all opinions of my own.
I am passionate about many things in life: design, urban planning, basketball, and... incredible TACOS! I see #TacoTuesday posts weekly and listen, it's not that seasoned ground beef and unheated tortillas are terrible, I just want better for you! Though I'll never be the chef that Adriana is, I put together four tips that will improve any Taco Tuesday.
Tacos are a Mexican staple and play a big part in Mexican-American cuisine here in Southern California. Universally loved for their versatility in flavors and accessibility, you can usually find a variety of good taco options at your local taco shop; from carne asada and al pastor to lengua, and more commonly now, birria! For the nights you want to make your own though, here are a few pointers for peak deliciousness:
#1 Pick the right cheese.
There is a lot of debate on whether cheese belongs on a taco or not, I, however, choose not to participate in that conversation. That being said, the kind of cheese you use is of the utmost importance! Though many people default to shredded Mexican cheese blends, I would advise you to venture out into the worlds of Queso Fresco and Oaxaca Cheese.
Queso Fresco is a creamy and crumbly cheese; its slight saltiness and fresh taste make it perfect for topping just about anything. If I had to compare it to other cheeses I would say it is an understated mix, somewhere between Mozarella and Feta.
Oaxaca cheese is a personal favorite of mine. It is mildly flavored and is the perfect cheese to balance more flavor-packed meats like birria and carnitas. It also happens to melt beautifully! This brings me to tip #2...
#2 Heat your tortillas and melt that cheese!
Invest in a comal! Comals are stovetop cast-iron griddles that you can find at your local Mexican Market or as low as $20 on Amazon. Comals are essential for heating up tortillas and melting cheese on them, but I use mine for everything, from tacos to grilled cheeses. It will change the way you make quesadillas forever! Trust me.
#3 Be resourceful (local tip).
I'm aware not everywhere has Mexican markets as we do here in Southern California, but if you do have access to one (like Cardena's) with a carniceria (butcher), they often offer pre-marinated meats that are great for tacos and take a lot of the guessing out of seasoning a food you're not too familiar with.
#4 Pick the right toppings.
Everyone's preferences for toppings are different and usually depend on the type of taco being eaten. For instance, fried fish tacos are often served with cabbage or slaw and potato tacos tend to come with Mexican Crema and Cotija Cheese.
All things considered, this is my list of essential toppings:
• Diced White Onion
• Mexican Green Onion
• Sliced Radishes
• Avocado or Guacamole
I hope one of these tips helps improve your Taco making and, more importantly, eating experience!
I am going to leave you with a list of some of our staff's favorite tacos:
Drea- "Baja Fish Tacos with the perfect crema to salsa ratio and a squeeze of lime."
Alex- "Carne Asada Tacos, also known as Al Carbon Tacos - loaded with guac, queso, and salsa!", "Taco Stand in San Diego, Surf and Turf tacos!"
Adriana: "My favorite taco is nopal with queso, a great tomatillo Quemada salsa, and a papa taco with Oaxaca cheese and grilled peppers."
Phil: "Barbacoa with a Salsa Roja or Shrimp and Carne Asada with guacamole "
Myself: Carnitas with pickled red onion, guacamole, cilantro, and tomatillo salsa.