Saturday, July 30, 2011

What's your favorite taco filling?

See here for slide show.

Psssst, mine is #3. But fried avocado tacos sound quite enticing as well...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Food Truck Friday!!

I am so loving the food truck revolution overtaking the Lou! And what better way to celebrate it than with Sauce Magazine's Food Truck Friday in Tower Grove Park. All the food trucks in one place - which sure is easier than chasing them down one by one via their Twitter feeds! It allowed me to finally try Shell's Coastal Cuisine's grilled fish tacos. The tacos come with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, key lime crema sauce and a tomatillo salsa. You can choose between flour and corn tortillas. Normally, you get two for $7.50, including a side. But they had a Food Truck Friday special going on - one taco for $4.50 and a side of sweet potato chips. Seeing as I had lots of other truck fare to sample, I went for the special.

The fish tasted like tilapia; it had some nice, spicy seasonings and was quite moist and succulent. Shell's Coastal Cuisine advertises itself as providing "Floribian" flavors and this was most apparent in the key lime crema sauce. It was citrusy and very tasty. The onions were slightly caramelized, which added a little bit of sweetness. The iceberg lettuce provided a little crunch. However, the corn tortillas were quite a fail and fell apart at first bite. P.S. Loved the sweet potato chips!

A moving target - follow them on Twitter.

3.5 out of 5 fishies.

Monday, July 25, 2011

This fish taco blogger heads back to the kitchen

It was time to try out a new fish taco recipe and since I'd rather not deep fry anything during a 100+ heat wave, a sautéed fish taco sounded enticing. I found the recipe searching the Food Network index. It comes from the lovely Aarti Sequeira and so it has some interesting Indian elements about it. I bought some flaky cod at Whole Paycheck, picked some fresh mint from the garden and headed over to my favorite co-chef's kitchen for an evening of fish tacos.

The fish was marinated in coriander, ancho chile powder, a dash of cinnamon, salt, pepper and olive oil. The marinade had a lovely smoky Indian aroma due to the coriander, which we mulled by hand, bringing out its nice lemony flavor. The ancho chile powder increased the smokiness of the marinade. Although the seasonings made for a flavorful fish, most of it dissipated into the pool of liquid that the fish disintegrated into. It might be better baked, or perhaps drained of more liquid before sautéing in the pan.

What really rounded out the recipe was the mayonnaise sauce. It too had an Indian kick to it, with plenty of smoky cumin and fresh mint. It was also a little tart from the lime juice and had some pungent spiciness from the garlic, adding to the complexity of flavors.

Stove-top warmed corn tortillas (still looking for a good source in the Lou, as none of the ones I've tried hold together), a handful of scallions and the vinegary crunch of cabbage brought it all together. There was no need for additional lime juice, as the mayo sauce had plenty in it. Skip the suggested banana pepper topping. They made us feel like we were at a Subway restaurant and had to decide whether to order the six inch or the foot long.

A quick, easy and delicious recipe, so go try it today! Although I did not find the suggested Allagash White Ale, I did find a similar beer to pair the fish tacos with -  Avery White Rascal Ale. Spiced with coriander and orange peel, it works perfectly with the tacos and balances their spiciness with its semi-sweet citrus flavors.

4 out of 5 fishies.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest fish taco blogger heads to Hotlanta

Prior to the Philly trip and subsequent El Vez review, we went to Atlanta to see the Cardinals take on the Braves. Needing a fish taco fix, we headed to Pure Taqueria. The restaurant has three locations in the Atlanta area, as well as a place in North Carolina. Our destination in Alpharetta, GA started its life as a 1920s era Pure Fuel gas station. The place has large glass garage doors that open up and expose you to the elements. Inside, they play up the gas station feel with cement floors and industrial furniture; 1920s metal ice coolers keep the beers cold.

We ordered the Pescado - three fried fish tacos on corn tortillas for $10.49. The tacos were topped with poblano slaw and chipotle mayo. The platter included arroz Mexicano and your choice of frijoles negros, refritos or churros. To spice things up, two salsas - cruda tomatillo and chile morita - were served on the side. The fried fish was superb and super fresh. They used tilapia, although it was hard to tell as they did not skimp on the batter, resulting in a nice and crunchy fried fish. The chipotle mayo was a nice take on the traditional Baja sauce. It wasn't overly spicy, but had a bit of a kick to it. However, topped with either or both of the side salsas, the fish tacos had some serious Atlanta heat.

Our fish taco cravings were satisfied. Unfortunately the Braves beat the Cardinals.

103 Roswell Street
Alpharetta, GA 30009
(678) 20-0023

4 out of 5 fishies.

The Serious Eats Guide to Taco Styles

Check out this quick guide to tacos!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Creamy Crunchy Cha Cha Chow!

Doh, missed today's special taco platter: beer battered fish taco with creamy homemade guacamole and red cabbage slaw. Looks yum! Please repeat next Wednesday at your Barnes stop Cha Cha Chow! Must try! :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fish tacos in the Big Apple

I recently returned from a most lovely long weekend in New York City. In planning for my trip I had included Empellón's soft shell crab tacos in my culinary itinerary (in addition to amazing chocolate almond croissants at Ceci-Cela and fabulous pumpernickel bagels at Ess-a-bagel - lest you think I only enjoy fish tacos) after having read a most stellar review of them. However, I neglected to find out that they are only open for dinner and were booked into at least the following week. Oops.

Thankfully I was steered in a different fishy direction and headed to Hecho en Dumbo. The place started as a pop-up in 2007 operating several nights a week out of a local cafe in Dumbo, Brooklyn (so no, it's not named after a famous flying elephant) before moving across the river to the East Village and opening a restaurant in 2010. The decor is tasteful and spare in its industrial-chic vibe consisting of exposed brick walls and a wood-plank ceiling complete with steel air ducts. Matching the contemporary Mexican atmosphere, the food is appropriately urbane. The restaurant specializes in antojitos, otherwise known as small plates, so expect dainty portions and inventive cuisine.

The $11 Tacos el Alcalde on the menu sounded pretty amazing - a mélange of smoked sable fish, braised Spanish octopus, and fresh Gulf Shrimp, folded into a trio of flour tortillas with red and yellow pepper, tomato, red onion, queso fresco, and garnished with crisp fried Fish Chicharrón.  The three bite-sized tacos came fully stuffed with fishy goodness. They were amazingly flavored and juicy and had lots of spicy, smokey Spanish flavors. They were even better once you topped them with any of the accompaniments - a spicy red tomato salsa, a green tomatillo salsa, or pico de gallo. As for the house made tortillas, they were springy and perfectly salted. The only thing that was missing for me was a creamy sauce to hold the mélange together.

So if your travels take you to New York City, do check this place out. And be sure to sample other goodies on the menu, such as the chile relleno de atun and tostadas de ceviche, both of which were mouth wateringly delicious. The cocktails list definitely merits sampling as well, with only boutique tequilas on the menu. At $10+ each, the margaritas are a bit pricey, but they go down oh so smoothly without the gross sourness typical of cheaper swill. My fresh grapefruit and Cazadores tequila Paloma ($12) was both refreshing and potent.

354 Bowery
New York, NY 10012
(212) 937-4245

4.5 out of 5 fishies.