Back in San Francisco, we could find authentic tacos at almost every other door in the Mission District. Often on Sundays, we’d sleep in until 10am (of course, this was B.C. – or Before Children) and lazily work our way towards the corner of Mission and 25th to La Taqueria for an early lunch. Of course, we’d always arrive the exact same time as everyone else getting out of church, so we’d have to fight the caravans of hungry families for parking spots. Since there 23,440 cars and only like 29 parking spots where you could park without getting a ticket, it was a fierce game of strategy.
When you first get within 3 miles of your destination, you start scanning…..
No, you aren’t looking for parking spots – that’s totally hopeless and you’d just waste your eye-energy. You’re scanning for people walking who have a high probability of going back to their car and leaving the area. So, you’re looking for someone who is walking slooooowwwllllly, someone whose belt is loosened, tell-tale lunch drippings on shirt and someone with that totally satisfied, dreamy look on their face. Of course they are walking sloooowwwllllyy – they are relishing, savoring in the temporary power that they have – the power of “I have a parking spot that YOU GUYS ALL WANT.”
So here starts the game. Five cars following this person, each taking a different route trying to guess which car is hers.
“Look, she’s wearing Manolo pumps from two seasons ago – that Mercedes SL600 is so not her car. Go for the Audi A3 with the big dent! Woops….she’s heading left! Oh- here she is….turn here! She stopped! SLOW DOWN!! Wait – she’s walking between cars to the next isle. HURRRY! GO!!”
(a evil eye glare to the other cars) Now all the cars are jockeying to be as close as they can to her without inflicting bodily injury to said target. Because if you get too close and end up hitting the target, you’re totally disqualified with a 50 yard penalty and obligated to start over all again and identify a new target.
In the end, it was all worth it – the tacos at La Taqueria are so amazingly, deliciously fresh. As you walk within 2 blocks of the restaurant, the aroma of seared steak with hints of cumin and coriander will make your knees weak and your heart palpitate. A few more doors down, you begin to hear the sound of the cooks throwing the meat on the flaming grill, it always landing with a shocking sizzle.
“dos Carne Asada Tacos con queso y aguacate. Tambien una Mango Agua Fresca por favor”
I not even going to try replicate those tacos – because that would just totally cheapen our memories of hoping, fighting, praying wishing, waiting 3 hours for a parking spot for 2 tacos each.
So here is my own version for steak tacos. Enjoy!
The main star of the marinade is canned Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce. Each pepper is pretty hot. So, no, I didn’t use all of them. In fact, I used just one pepper and some of the Adobo Sauce. I primarily use the Chipotle (which is really jalepeno smoked) for flavor, not necessarily for heat. This way my kids can still eat the tacos)
If you do like it hot, use 2 or 3 peppers and maybe more of the Adobo Sauce too. The smoky flavors of Chipotle + the vinegar-y, tomato-y flavors of the Adobo make it so perfect for the skirt steak. Plus, skirt steak is cheap (about $5 a pound) and its the steak traditionally used for fajitas and steak tacos. It just doesn’t taste the same with other cuts.
Chipotle Skirt Steak Tacos
1 lb skirt steak
2 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 whole chipotle ‘chili en adobo’+ 2 teaspoon adobo sauce (you may use more peppers if you like spice)
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
+ see below for accompaniments
Pureed the one chipotle pepper + 2 tsp Adobo Sauce with the onion (oh yeah, I forgot the garlic in the pic) garlic, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Stir in the cilantro. Throw it all in a zip lock bag with 1lb of skirt steak for at least 2 hours. Grill medium-rare.
Cut the skirt steak in very thin strips across the grain – otherwise it will be tough and chewy.
-Corn tortillas – I throw the tortillas directly on the grill 30 seconds, flip, add cheese, grill 30 seconds, remove. This melts the cheese oh-so-perfectly and chars the tortilla edges just a tiny bit for that crunch. Heating it also takes away some of the “rawness” that corn tortillas have when they are straight out of the bag.
-Cold sour cream
-Wedges of lime
-Avocado halves – you can just scoop out what you want directly onto your taco
-Lettuce – I personally don’t use lettuce in my tacos, but some people may like it
Did I mention that you only use one pepper and not the whole can?! 🙂