Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Ode to Tacos and a Taco Stand
It was almost a year ago that I left for Oaxaca Mexico for the summer and yet many of the meals, snacks, sights, and sounds are still very much on my mind. Today's rumination is about tacos, but more specifically only one taco stand in the town of Teotitlan del Valle.
Attached to the central market, Samburgesa Sam's opens up in the evenings and remains so until most of the town is asleep. As the name suggests, hamburgers are on offer, as are tacos and a variety of other simple snack foods. The tacos weren't necessarily revelatory, but they were always just about the perfect punctuation to a day. The pleasant evenings by the central square with families coming for an evening bite, men stopping by for a drink, and a gathering of friends reminded me of the importance of these types of spaces. If i remember correctly, while I was eating the above plate of tacos, a man was bucked right off of his horse onto the uneven cobblestone street. What else could he do but get back on? Everyone sort of nervously laughed and returned to their food and drink. All I could think about was how much it must have hurt.
I'm not sure if there's much more to say about tacos other than what I've already said before in posts written long ago. Tortillas are the perfect vehicle for grilled meats and condiments. This deceptively simple food has me running all over San Francisco in search of perfection. However, nothing compares to these modest tacos in Teotitlan del Valle. In many ways it is the taco stand that made me fall in love with street food and I've been chasing that dragon ever since. It's been over a decade now since I first really started wrestling with the pleasures of street food. The concepts of immediacy, freshness, and community are simple pleasures not easily found just anywhere.