Intentional Tacos


Growing up, Saturday lunch was usually tacos, which my mother insisted were chalupas, since that’s what she’d eaten when she went to college in Texas, some time before Pearl Harbor. We didn’t know any better, never mind that we were only about 20 miles from Tijuana. We ate what we thought were tacos on Saturdays, because they were something the Indian (Native Americans weren’t around back then) maid, who shared a surname with the Mexican president known more for the eponymous laws that set off the Cristero Rebellion than any of his good deeds, could quickly make before leaving for the weekend. Fried corn tortillas, canned refried beans, hamburger cooked with chile powder, lettuce, onion, and tomato. My job was to slice the scallions. At least the tortillas weren’t those pre-fried taco shells.

Today I’ve become one of those people who treks all over town in search of the esoteric, organic, and delicious, hitting La Ruta Natural one Saturday, and 8 days (which for you Estadounidenses, is a week) later, the organic market at Paseo Altozano, occasionally faced with a double-header if the first-Saturday-of-the-Month Mercato DaVinci beckons. And then there’s the every-Wednesday-while-school-is-in-session Mercadito CEM, which now conflicts with my passion for ordering up groceries from El Arbol over on Av. Cuautla, now that I’ve learned the secret handshake.

And then all of this hunting and gathering leads me to Sundays playing cook in my kitchen, getting out my toys for a purpose other than making MorgenFood in the Instant Pot and agua de pepino with the mandolin, coming to the realization that a food stylist on staff could be useful and that I ought not give up my day job, as if I had one. I’ll get into one kind of food, and then I’ll run it into the ground. Verdolagas were last year’s cheap thrill. At the moment I’m into tacos. Not the kind we grew up with, of course, but the kind that would photograph well, since the only purpose in creating something attractive on your plate is to upload it to Facebook, right?

So now I present you with the tacos du jour: Instant Pot pulled pork, Las Tias mango habanero chutney, Thai basil, and tomatoes, all wrapped up in tortillas de flor de jamaica, courtesy of Roberto Gomez, purveyor of all things jamaica. Everything that went into this plate came from Michoacán. Lamentably, germinado jamaica (hibiscus sprout) wasn’t available, and that would’ve been so essential. Maybe by summer’s end I’ll get this designer taco thing perfected.


A rabbit from last Sunday’s Feria Alternativa de Urandén reposes in the freezer. Butter rabbit (murgh makhana) on blue corn tortillas, anyone?

12 comments on “Intentional Tacos

  1. Ah, the annual blog post.

    As for the topic at hand, seems like lots of bother for a lunch.


  2. babsofsanmiguel says:



  3. Richard Trump says:

    Yum, forwarded this to my wife Jennifer. I’m sure some amazing tacos will be forthcoming as she is competitive as hell in the kitchen!


  4. Steve Cotton says:

    I am getting in my car right now.

    You know my slogan: I hate tacos. Rather I hate almost any food wrapped in a tortilla. The reason has almost nothing to do with Jalisco cuisine. You know the plaint — it’s not you, it’s me. I bore quickly. Especially with food. As do you.

    Your combination looks perfect. And, by the description, I bet it will taste even better.

    Unfortunately, my food-purchasing options here on the distant Pacific coast are rather limited. But, during this last year, you have put me on track to order items I cannot regularly purchase here. Asian cuisine seeds come to mind.

    And there is a thought. Have you tried cooking your pulled pork with a combination of seeds? Black mustard-cumin-anise. Cardamom-fennel-coriander. The combinations are almost endless. At least, endless in a there-are-only-so-many-days-left-in-my-life kind of endless.

    Enjoy the experimentation. That is what makes life interesting.


    • Tortillas are climbing to newer levels around these parts now. Red Tsiri’s blue corn tortillas, hecho a mano, so artisan that the package is signed by the hands that made them, are superb. Someone has come up with a barley tortilla that’s supposed to fight obesity and improve your mood, but I haven’t tried them yet. You just haven’t met the right tortilla, that’s all.

      Butter chicken was made to go with blue corn tortillas.

      You’ve given me some ideas for the pulled pork. Fenugreek, my latest cheap thrill, would be good.


      • Steve Cotton says:

        I used fenugreek seeds in my Indian cooking class in the 1980s, but I have not used them since. Where do you get yours? I should check at Hawaii here. I found a pound bag on Amazon.Mx for $948.64 (Mx). That seems a bit steep. Or maybe Bare Essentials, just down the street, has some. They regularly surprise me with what they can get.


        • I bought fenugreek seeds at Del Arbol, a bulk foods store in Morelia. They were not expensive. And then at City Market at Antea Lifestyle Center in Queretaro, I came upon dried fenugreek leaves. Mercado Libre has “Fenogreco Semillas 1 Kilogramo Envío Incluido” for 165 MXN, shipping included. An even better deal.


  5. William Kaliher says:

    Excellent–delicious read as well as meal


  6. Kerry McDermott says:

    Are you living in Morelia? Pátzcuaro? I want to visit Morelia and attend the Spanish school there, but here in the US everyone fears I’ll be kidnapped. I just don’t agree! I am considering a move to Mexico in the next couple of years and feel drawn to Morelia, though I’ve not been there. Thanks for your blog!


    • In Morelia. As long as you’re a gringo, saying out of hinky situations, neither selling nor buying drugs, and keeping yourself to the safe side of tracks, you’ll be fine. You are more likely to be hit by an asteroid than kidnapped.


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