As all of us desperately scan our day by day social media for even a modicum of aid from COVID-19 malaise, I notice a theme amongst a lot of my pals who publish with resignation. We need to journey once more. Daydreams of previous glories mingle with imagined bucket record treks. These of us who’ve had the luck to expertise different lands and cultures know of the inevitable wealthy and indelible reminiscences that now seem to be a mirage.
Nevertheless, within the shadow of Steinbrenner Subject, with the expansive RayJay within the distance and the Pink Pony only a few steps away, the tiny Taqueria Margarita meals truck brings an genuine style of Mexico to Drew Park. It’s a household affair in honor of the late matriarch who’s the namesake of the tiny kitchen the place Elia Maldonado makes tortillas by hand at 6 a.m. (two daughters assist after they’re not at their day jobs).
4001 W. Dr. Martin Luter King Jr. Blvd., Tampa
Tacos $2.25; sandwiches/entrees $3.50-$11; sides $2.50; Drinks $1-$2.25
Tue-Wed. 11 a.m.-5 p.m./Thu 11 a.m.-6 p.m./Fri 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
813-466-2484; @taqueriamargaritatpa on Instagram and Facebook
These are the entrepreneurial mother-daughters who make America nice, working arduous for a greater life; dad is a popular building employee who is aware of everybody on this kind of industrial slice of Tampa. They proudly share Abuela’s genuine recipes which might be do-it-yourself with the freshest components, which immediately recall the pure flavors and aromas of meals stalls within the Mercado de Coyoacán (abuela comes from México, Mexico).
Whereas the tiny constructing is modest with simply an outside picnic desk and umbrella, the meals evokes the essence of Mexican avenue meals that will not be misplaced close to Frida Kahlo’s sensible cobalt blue La Casa Azul. The aim right here is to not push boundaries like at Bartaco or Shaker & Peel. You received’t discover hibiscus tortillas or glazed pork stomach.
As an alternative, proteins all exhibit most taste unmasked by the condiments we so typically mindlessly ladle upon our Mexican delicacies. There aren’t any dollops of bitter cream or chunky guacamole to distract from the goodness of the nice and cozy comfortable meat-topped do-it-yourself tortillas. Just a few grilled onions and a even handed sprinkling of contemporary cilantro accent the meat. Plus, in fact, a spritz of contemporary lime for additional zip.
The array is generally a well-recognized record: asada (beef), pollo (hen), el pastor (marinaded pork), carnitas (pulled pork), campechano (meat combo), and chorizo (spicy sausage). On some days, there’s decadent and juicy quesabirria served historically, as a twice-cooked taco, or Instagram-ready as a tortilla “pizza” with the carne unfold between two browned tortillas—and, sure, with a drool worthy consommé for dipping.
What’s particular is that every meat is given an opportunity to shine; its essence is current in your hand and in your palate, which is elegant in its simplicity.
Different menu decisions are primarily different “supply” strategies: Tortas (on a bun), huaraches (cheese and bean-filled masa dough, flattened and fried), sopes (thicker and open-face). I keep on with tacos, however the selection is yours.
The household additionally affords a carne asada entree together with rice and refried beans (the frijoles are a neighborhood favourite) plus frequent weekly specials; (learn: quesabirria). Two splendid salsas are provided to boost the tacos. The salsa roja has sufficient biting spice to clear your sinuses and lingers in your palate lengthy after you swallow. Followers of warmth will likely be doing a cheerful dance. Wimps like me, are happier with the gentle acidity delivered by tomatillos within the salsa verde. No matter whether or not you’re of the asbestos-mouth fire-breathing college or simply desire a pleasing grace notice, these sauces allow you to tweak your tacos to style.
Esquites (Mexican avenue corn) is a tall styrofoam cup of deliciousness. You miss the tactile nature of nibbling from a cob, however a giant spoonful catches you off guard. The corn is contemporary and creamy with cotija cheese balancing spice and acid that makes it sing in your palate. You simply need extra. The spice is energetic with out being intrusive; it’s simply sufficient to make it pop.
A refreshing and genuine option to quench your thirst is to seize a chilly comfortable drink from the cooler that sits just below the window in entrance. I elevate the lid and attain down into the ice-filled water and pluck out two bottles of Jarritos, Mexico’s favourite. There’s an exquisite vary of fruit flavors—strawberry, Mandarin, lime and my picks, pineapple and fruit punch. These sodas are made with actual cane sugar as a substitute of corn syrup. There’s an awesome stability between fizz and sweetness; in every case extra reserved than hottest U.S. manufacturers. The Fruit Punch seems to be like Hawaiian Punch however is much less cloying and fairly refreshing regardless of its Day-Glo coloration. Pineapple is a golden yellow, with the tartness related to contemporary fruit current on the end.
Sadly, COVID-19 compelled cancellation of weekend hours (though the household hints at new, expanded hours quickly), however you’ll be able to journey vicariously Tue.-Fri.y noon to hurry hour. A mere eight months in the past, Taqueria Margarita hosted a non-public birthday full with a reside mariachi band, one other iconic image of nice Mexican tradition. As we patiently wait behind our masks longing to share the communal pleasure of music to fill our hearts, no less than we’ve entry to the genuine tastes of previous Mexico to fill our bellies.
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