Tacos may very well be the perfect food, but let's face it, the standard Meximerican fare can get a bit stale after a while. Taco the Town is here to highlight some of the more unusual Mexican finds in the Valley.
This week: Cochinita Pibil from La Condesa Gourmet Taco Shop
¿Como se dice?: The impressive list of fillings at La Condesa is only exceeded by the ridiculously good gourmet salsa bar, but like it or not, you really need something to compliment the exotic selection of salsas. So pony up to a cow hide upholstered bar stool, snag a mega horchata or jamaica, and opt for the cochinita pibil anything. We're a big fan of the quesadillas at La Condesa, that not only live up to their gourmet reputation, but are a soul satisfying combo of cheesy pulled pork wrapped in a thick masa coating. Almost like a Mexi-fied calzone.
(sink your teeth into all the spicy details after the jump)
La Comida: The tacos and burritos from La Condesa are packed with some seriously impressive fillings, but we recommend the Mexico City-style quesadilla for a savory, rich treat. A thick, homemade masa circle with the perfect amount of salt is wrapped around bright red, fork-tender cochinita pibil and stringy Oaxaca cheese. Deep fry that Mexi-calzone, drizzle with crema and cotija, and indulge.
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El Sabor: Cochinita pibil is the Mexican version of good old fashioned pulled pork, and if done right it will melt-in-your-mouth from first bite to last. The slow-roasted pork is wrapped in banana leaves to lock in the moisture, and the long and low roast creates a shredded mass of fork tender pork. This Yucatan pork is the perfect meat to wrap in tortillas, fill a Mexico City-style quesadilla, or just smother in pickled onions and crema to nibble solo.
A citric bite helps to tenderize the meat, and offers a complex, sweet and sour tang. The achiote paste is bright red and slightly earthy, while the garlic and chiles makes the whole mess of red hot pork burn oh so good.
Bring a bit of México to your kitchen: Taberna Mexicana may have bit the dust with the stagnant summertime blues, but their signature cochinita pibil lives on! Head chef Alex Padillas was kind enough to share the smokin' hot recipe for pulled pork, Mexican-style. Four types of citrus, garlic and habaneros are added to pork shoulder and wrapped in banana leaves for a slow-roast. There's even a bonus recipe for flash-fried plantains and pickled red onions.
Know of any Mexican gems in the valley? Reveal your family secrets in the comment section.