As you might know if you’ve been reading some of the other Blogs (or Facebook statuses) in my family, this is the week when the various families of the Vanderhoeven Machine , a completely and totally random holiday season made up by some of my siblings and cousins roughly six or seven years ago. If you’re looking for a more detailed explanation (if such a thing really exists) of the whole thing you can refer to this post on my sister’s Blog during last year’s Ernesta Week, but the gist of the whole thing is that Ernesta Day (and the accompanying Ernesta Fiesta) takes place on whichever Saturday happens to be closest to June 10th, and International Pirate Day takes place on the Saturday before that. On the weekdays in between the two, everyone plans their meals as outlined in the song Pizza Day by the Aquabats. This means that since today is Tuesday, tacos are on the menu, and even though I already had tacos for lunch today, tacos somehow managed to also find their way onto the menu for dinner.
Based on the fact that the prescribed eating for the week is based off of a theoretical school lunch menu, the spirit of the whole thing would seem to suggest that the taco in question is of the generic hard shell type, as seen at your friendly neighborhood fast food Mexican place. Then again, those types of tacos have pretty much been done to death these days, so for Tuesday Tacos I wandered a bit off the beaten path (well not really) and opted for a plateful of tacos (see above) from Taqueria Guadalajara, the taco truck located in the parking lot of the 76 station on 148th in the Overlake area. This taco truck is considered by many to provide the most authentic Mexican food on the Eastside (and the number of Mexicans eating there at any given time would seem to attest to this.) These tacos are no exception, although they bear little resemblance to what most Americans would think of as being a taco. What’s being served here is what is known as Tacos de Asador (grill tacos) which are basically two small corn tortillas that are griddled until they’re just a little bit crispy around the edges, then filled with meat, onions, cilantro and garnished with radishes and the salsa that you apply to them. These ones are carne asada, although they also offer chicken (pollo), pork (al pastor) and tongue (lengua) as options. I have yet to be brave enough to try the lengua, but the others are quite good, although I’m usually partial to the carne asada. These ones are a bit more expensive than the standard issue fast food tacos, but they’re still not bad (4 for $5) and very tasty in their own way.
Then again, while I was growing up in my Mom and Dad’s house, this is generally what would be served up when tacos were on the menu, and what I made for dinner this evening. As you can probably tell, it’s more in line with what you might expect a taco (well, a soft taco anyway) to look like, and this is the type of thing that works well for feeding a small army for cheap and without much effort. Basically, you brown up a pound or so of ground beef and a can or two of refried beans (or lacking those, mashed potato flakes work surprisingly well as a substitute) and you’ve got your base. Since I had it around, I also added a can of diced green chiles to add a bit of vaguely New Mexican flavor, and within reason, there are plenty of other options that would work here as well. Once you’ve got that, it’s pretty much a matter of warming up some tortillas and getting together some lettuce, shredded cheese, and whatever else you might want (in this case salsa and sour cream) and you’ve got a meal. It’s nothing fancy but it’s filling and surprisingly tasty, although it can get a bit messy to eat. My Mom sometimes likes to skip the flour tortilla and just put all the stuff on top of a plate of tortilla chips.
No matter how you’re eating your tacos, enjoy the rest of your Ernesta Week. Next up on the menu is Wednesday: Hamburgers and Chocolate Milk, Thursday: Sloppy Joes and Burritos in a Bag (that one tends to be open to interpetation) and finally Pizza Day on Friday.