[Pigging by Wilfrid: July 9, 2012]
I spent an hour or two on the Avenue of international gastronomic dreams the other day, until driven away by the heat.
I always think I can easily eat half a dozen tacos, but at 98 in the shade, my appetite falters.
A fine day for a spicy ceviche, which is the main attraction, but I was lured by the bollo de pescado. A tamale, essentially, stuffed with flaked (and I think marinated) white fish. The onion topping is a necessary balance to the smooth blandness of the corn dough.
Not a cheap bite, at $9, but fairly filling.
Maybe it's my imagination, but the number of little Latino sports bars along the strip seems to have exploded. Most of them are advertising for staff, and many cock a confident snook at local labor laws. At some places, if you aren't a chica, and your name's not linda, forget about it.
I also noted Taqueria Coatzingo has a sibling, a few blocks east of the original. Probably old news. Anyway, I went back to the old Coatzingo at 76th.
The lengua is my standby order, fresh-braised and gloriously tender. I got it con todo, which meant it was hard to find under the guacamole.
Breaking through, the meat was as good as ever. Also, the prices have held steady for some seven years! $2.50 for each over-stuffed taco.
If you get it to go, it comes with a neat tray of "fixings" too.
Just to make a comparison, I stepped over to the Tu Casa Restaurancito truck on the kerb nearby. The taco de lengua looked pretty as a picture.
Inevitably, the tiny truck (it's really small) has to rely on pre-cooked meats stored in plastic containers, so although the tongue was fine, it was drier than Coatzingo's. The tortillas were also a little dried out. Same price too.
So I spent Saturday proving that Coatzingo is still good. What did you do?