Well, this was one hell of a fast week, eh? It’s Sunday and I remember last Sunday like it was… well, something a lot less than a week ago. But here we are nonetheless. Another week, another memorable meal. Like many in recent memory, it’s a nice Saturday experience. I was on my way to Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield OH (a true holiday gift emporium for the culinarily-minded!) and it was lunchtime. I had remembered hearing about a great Mexican bakery up that way, so I thought I’d hit it on the way home, but as I approached it I saw that it was attached to a hole-in-the-wall Taqueria. Real Mexican sounded good, so I pulled in…
I love real Mexican food. This place had all the signs of greatness, starting with a clientele and waitstaff that were, myself excepted, 100% Mexican. It was bustling, even at 1pm. Diners were enjoying the weekend menudo and birria (goat) stews. And I didn’t see a dollop of sour cream in sight. Right on!
When it comes to trying Mexican restaurants I haven’t visited before, I always (ALWAYS) order one of three dishes that can tell me a lot about a place: tacos al carbon, tacos al pastor, or chile colorado. If these go well, you can ensure I’ll be back! So on this day it was the tacos al carbon, three of them with beans and rice. Ordered in Spanish, acknowledged in Spanish. (Another positive sign.) While I waited, I enjoyed the people-watching and the kitchen-watching. This place was humming right along. At the back of the dining room was a check-cashing counter, an extremely common sight at Mexican-American community centers. (Fairfield, as so many towns these days, has a very sizable Mexican-American population.)
A few minutes later, the tacos came out, and I knew at a glance I had something good going on. The verdict? Really good. The tortillas were fried just right, and the blend of grilled meat, fresh onion and cilantro, and a squeeze of the lime– oh so harmonious! I love it when a plate comes together. I will admit that the meat was a little tough and in my opinion a little underseasoned. However, a squeeze of the tomatillo salsa added just the kick I was looking for. Delicious! I will definitely be back when my travels bring me back north for foodie stuff.
By the way, I did stop at the panaderia next door and picked up a trio of Mexican pastries. They were all nice, but the churro was a standout. Earlier this year I had fresh-made churros from the “Churro lady” in Brooklyn (at the subway station)– this brought back the fondest of memories!
What I Made This Week:
So this week’s experiment was a Charlotte Royale in baking class. I must admit I’ve NEVER understood this dessert. Make a jelly roll (speaking of desserts that are hard to comprehend), slice it into 1/2″ wide slices, stuff the bottom and sides of a charlotte mold with them, fill the mold with pastry cream (!), and top with a layer of sponge cake. Refrigerate to set, flip, glaze, refrigerate again and… serve as a pie? Well, I’ll admit I don’t get it. It came out looking nice, but I’ll never order (or make!) one of these again. Ah, classical food!