Taco Summer

Taco Summer: "Macho Tacos" Loaded with Whole Chile, Monterey Jack, Cabbage, and Carne Asada

At Cahuamanta El Yaqui, the carne asada tacos are hardly an afterthought, like at many restaurants.
At Cahuamanta El Yaqui, the carne asada tacos are hardly an afterthought, like at many restaurants. Shelby Moore
6. Cahuamanta El Yaqui

Cahuamanta El Yaqui, 3549 West McDowell Road
Open Since: 2014
Style: Sonoran surf-and-turf from the capital city of Obregón
Signature Taco(s): Carne asada loaded with a big green chile, melted cheese, and cabbage

There’s a strong case to make for carne asada as Arizona’s state dish. After speaking with dozens of business owners for our Taco Summer series, it’s clear that no matter where your specialty lies — fish tacos, al pastor, pollo asado — you’ll almost certainly need to offer some form of carne asada as well.

There are those who serve it by necessity, and those who take pride in the dish and make it the main attraction, or at least give it equal billing to their other meats and fillings.The latter is certainly the case at the case at Cahuamanta El Yaqui, which serves a surf-and-turf-style menu, along with famously great carne asada.

Owner Adan Lopez grew up outside of the coastal city of Obregón, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Sonora. Sonora, like Arizona, has a long history of raising cattle, and in coastal cities like Obregón, shrimp tostadas and carne asada share equal billing.

At Cahuamanta El Yaqui, the asada is served Sonoran-style, adorned with some combination of cabbage, salsa, and sometimes chiles of avocado salsa.

Atop a medium-size flour tortilla, an unchopped green chile spans from end to end, melded to the tortilla with melty Monterey jack cheese, on top of which is piled a generous amount of very simply seasoned carne asada (in Sonora, it is common not only to forego marinating the carne asada, but also to season solely with salt), and finished with a mound of finely chopped cabbage.

In addition to marinated onions and quartered limes, you'll get a small cup of runny avocado salsa to drizzle over the top. Though these tacos, packed to the brim, can get a little messy, they are flavorful and satisfying, appropriately called "macho tacos."

Our Taco Summer picks so far:
50. Taqueria Don Beto
49. Kiss Pollos Estilo Sinaloa
48. Tacos Tijuana
47. El Burrito Grande
46. El Horseshoe Restaurant
45. Tacos Sahuaro
44. El Pollo Correteado
43. Adrian's
42. La Fiesta
41. Taqueria Lucy
40. Tortas Ahogadas George
39. Taqueria El Chino
38. Joe's Tacos
37. Taqueria El Gallo de Lagos
36. Tacos Huicho
35. Puffy Taco Shack
34. Ni De Aqui Ne De Alla
33. Mr. Mesquite
32. Senor Ozzy's
31. Tacos Jalisco
30. Ta'Carbon
29. Taqueria Los Yaquis
28: Helio Basin Brewing
27: Sonora Taco Shop
26: Mercado Y Carniceria Cuernavaca
25. Restaurant Atoyac Estilo Oaxaca
24. Paquime Street Food
23. The Rez
22. Asadero Toro
21. La Frontera 1
20. Taquería Yaqui
19. Presidio Cocina Mexicana
18. Mucha Lucha Taco Shop
17. Casa Reynoso
16. Backyard Taco
15. Taquitos Jalisco
14: Waldo's Tacos
13: Moreno's Mexican Grill
12: Asadero Norte De Sonora
11: Taqueria La Hacienda #1
10. Gadzooks
9. Tacos Chava
8. Tacos Kissi
7. Taqueria El Fundador

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Shelby Moore