Expanding Tacopalooza into 2016!

Dear friends and taco enthusiasts,

I thank you deeply for your interest in my blog this past year. I have had a ton of fun eating my way around the Twin Cities. BUT, I have not visited many of the places on my recommendation list! While some of my original visions for this blog have not come to fruition, I have also developed new ideas which I desire to pursue. Therefore, I am going to expand this blog in 2016 to include more than just tacos. I ate tacos at every taqueria I patroned this year but many of these places boast other signature menu items. Although I may not have enjoyed the tacos at a certain taqueria, that does not mean that they don’t have a kick-ass torta/enchilada/fajita/burrito/or tamale!

So, I am pleased to announce that I will continue to eat and blog in 2016, hopefully providing more reviews on the places I did not get to, updated reviews on places I have been to, and a new outlook on Latin food fares that I want to consume in general. 2016 will not limit me to tacos, although tacos will be devoured!

Thank you again for continuing to read my blog, keeping me creative, and motivating me to write about foodstuffs!

Most sincerely,

TacoKelly

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Homemade Chorizo and the Final Stretch

20151221_190622I am coming down to the final weeks of taco eating. As of this post I have 10 days left of the year and 11 tacos yet to eat. And the best part is that I have not gotten tired of tacos yet! I was craving chorizo tacos yesterday while at work and my lovely boyfriend, without knowing my intentions, decided to make homemade chorizo! Not just homemade as in he bought a few sausage links and heated them up at home like I normally do. I mean he actually ground and seasoned the chorizo meat completely from scratch. And goddamn they were the best chorizo I’ve ever had! Take a look for yourself:

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The worst part is that I only ate 5 tacos when I could have very easily have eaten 10. I think I know what I am eating for the next couple of days!

Taco Count: 354

UPDATE: I forgot to actually post this blog when I wrote it so now it is actually 3 days left in the year and 3 tacos left! I ate a few steak and egg tacos and straight up steak tacos over the past few days with left over prime rib from Christmas. I know this next picture is not actually a taco but I just have to share this monstrous meat with you. It was reverse seared and cooked to perfection!

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Taco Count: 362

National Taco Day October 4th!

Thank goodness for all you fine people for keeping me informed of the important national holidays! I had no idea that October 4th was National Taco Day until a few of you commented on my Facebook. And I’m so glad you did as I had had a craving for dirty Chinese food. That idea quickly went out the door as did I to go get tacos from Taqueria Las Teresitas!

For this under recognized holiday, I ordered a feast! Considering I have already had all their tacos, I decided to try something new. One of my absolute favorite Mexican items is chile verde sauce. So, appropriately, I ordered the Chile Verde platter which consists of pork tips and potatoes in a delicious chile tomatillo verde sauce with rice, beans, and assorted taco toppings. Chadd got the Steak a la Diabla which was steak in a deep red spicy garlic sauce with beans, rice, and assorted taco toppings. We each also got a chorizo taco and of course, multiple salsas from the salsa bar to go with some tortilla chips. Everything was fantastic. I must admit that I think my Chile Verde platter was better than the Steak Diabla but Chadd would disagree. I was able to still taste the potatoes and pork flavors with the chile verde but Chadd’s diabla sauce covered up much of the meat flavor in my opinion, just too overpowering. But, to each their own!

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Fun Facts provided by National Taco Day:

  • Last year, Americans at over 4.5 billion tacos
  • The word taco is believed to be derived from explosives Mexicans used to use. These explosives were gunpowder wrapped in paper.
  • Ensenada, Mexico is a city that claims to have invented the fish taco
  • It is thought that the first taco truck popped up in New York City in 1966.

 

Taco Count: 246-250

Camping Tacos

I love camping. Everything tastes better cooked outside. When we go camping, we eat gooooood! Night one has recently been steak and lobster with an Orlando Blooming Onion. Yes, you read that right. Steak and lobster. Proof:

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Lobstrosities!!!

And of course we always have too much. Instead of giving the uneaten steak to the fish, we will bag it up and sink it in the lake to save for our breakfast the next morning. You know what that means, STEAK AND EGG TACOS!

I went camping twice this year and sadly, when we were in the Apostle Islands, I screwed up and didn’t sink the steak well enough. The wind picked up over night and that equals larger waves on shore. My relatively light weight limestone rock wasn’t heavy enough to weigh down the steaks in rougher water so they floated away overnight. Either that or a bear walked up on them and swiped them. The result remains the same… no steak and eggs that time.

We also try to get in a meal of fried fish tacos while camping. But alas, not this year. We didn’t go fishing in the Apostle Islands and our fishing haul in the Boundary Waters was sort of sad. I caught 2 monster Northerns but they never made it back to our camp site. We strung both of the 6 pound behemoths on the same cheap stringer and hauled them behind us for a few miles in rough water. Between the strain on the stringer and their sharp teeth, there was only frayed rope left behind the canoe where glorious fish should have been. Luckily the fish whisperer A-tron pulled through and caught us yet another monster Northern (I still claim that it was one of mine just swimming in the bay of our camp site). This guy was enough to feed 3 hungry adults. And not just a couple of fish nuggets, like actually made us full. Even though we got our beloved fish meal, it was raining and sad the day we cooked them up. I didn’t want to bust out the tortillas and risk them getting wet and soggy. And they were all the way across camp and it was raining. Did I mention it was raining?

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The fish whisperer and the largest small mouth bass he has ever caught. We didn’t eat this though

Between the 2 camping trips I ate 5 breakfast tacos. While maybe not the best breakfast tacos I have ever had, they were still amazing as I said before that everything just tastes better in the woods, cooked over an open fire.

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Homemade Shrimp Tacos

 

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Taco Pickles and Orange Sauce were sitting in the fridge just waiting to be used. I didn’t have much in the way of protein in the house but I remembered I had shrimpers! That’s when I realized that the Orange Sauce would pair excellently with sauteed shrimp. Corn tortillas with shrimpers sauteed in Orange Sauce with lettuce, taco pickles, an additional drizzle of Orange Sauce, and a small crumbling of feta cheese. I wanted queso fresco but didn’t have any on hand and was too lazy to go out and get some. I know, feta seems kinda weird to put on tacos but it actually kind of worked. But Mexican crema would have been better than the cheese though so the next night when I made these again, I used just that. I ate 7 of these puppies in 2 days. Much Shrimp. Such Yum. 

 

Sorry these pictures are so terrible, we have bad lighting in the house. But I assure you they were yummy! And easy!

Taco Count: 214-221

BBQ, Beer, and Bocce!

What’s better than a pork shoulder being smoked all day?

That pork shoulder being shredded with a power drill by two handsome men then eaten taco style!

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My friend Dave was home visiting family and friends for about a month before being deployed earlier this summer. As a going away party, he invited a bunch of his friends out to his Dad’s house/ranch to have some BBQ and beers.

He prepared some beef rib tips and smoked pork shoulder for all of us esteemed guests. The rest of us schleps brought salads, sides, and sauces. Dave’s dad provided TWO kegs of home brews PLUS home brewed root beer! No wonder where Dave gets his chops from. AND! his dad sent Chadd and I home with 18 fresh eggs! (my boyfriend almost got his eyes pecked out trying to collect said eggs but who cares, EGGS!).

Absolutely everything about this day was fantastic! It was still early in the Minnesotan summer and us of Scandinavian heritage, still slowly thawing out from a long winter, were delighted with such a gorgeous day. We bullshitted over beers on the patio, played some bocce ball, and ate some phenomenal food!

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The Connell Carnita smoked pork shoulder tacos gets a 5 out of 5 because you get that phenomenal smokey flavor and the meat was not dried out in the least! Plus you can taste the manliness of the power drill shredding technique, I swear! Some tacos need a bunch of toppings to cover up poor meat, this one, as you can tell from the picture above, only needed a few taco pickles and some verde salsa (which was also homemade by the man of the hour).

Taco count: 169-170. I’m sad I only got 2 tacos because I filled up on so many other delicious delectables.