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Caporales Mexican Food

13 Apr

Ahem… Sorry about that 2 year gap in posts. I didn’t stop eating tacos and I didn’t fall into a well. I’d also be lying if I said I’ve been busy. I just haven’t had the ganas to keep up with this thing. I’m not sure what’s compelling me to come back but here I am. It may be short lived…

Today I’m writing about  Caporales Mexican food located at 1260 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, KS. It wasn’t my intention to eat here this afternoon. My plan was to eat chilaquiles at Tacos on Wheels (which I’m planning to review later but don’t hold your breath) but changed my mind once I got in the car. 

The restaurant is in the “strip” of stores at the corner of Roe and Merriam lane. Basically it’s right next to that Family Dollar that used to host a swap and shop in the parking lot every weekend (maybe still does?). The place is clean and features your typical Mexican restaurant decorations- serapes and sombreros. I ordered my food to-go at the tiny window, but there are plenty of places to sit if you want to stay. The menu offers other Mexican restaurant staples such as enchiladas and burritos smothered in cheese. I had to search a bit for the street taco options but was happy to find them. I went with 3 tacos- asada, lengua and potato. 

 

I stole this pic off their public FB page because by the time I thought to take one it looked like this  

Let’s get the negatives out of the way.

  • They sent me home with a lemon instead of a lime. Is there another lime shortage I’m unaware of?
  • Calling the salsa mild is an understatement. Calling it salsa is being generous. I was sent with one tub of red “salsa” that tasted like V8. Perhaps I was profiled due to my light skin and sent with the sissy option? Or maybe if I stayed to eat I would have been given other salsa choices? Who knows. 
  • The potato taco was a mistake on my part. I don’t know why I ordered it. If you’re looking for a good potato taco go to Taco Bell, where the potato is at least seasoned and crispy. 
  • I’d have appreciated some of those radishes they featured in that pic above.

But it wasn’t all bad, people!

Aside from the lime and salsa missteps my other tacos were pretty good. The asada was decent. I’d eat another asada taco there but I don’t have much else to say about it. The real star of the whole meal was the lengua. The meat was cut into easy to manage cubes and perfectly cooked. It was seasoned well and super tender. From my first bite I was instantly remorseful that I didn’t order more. Obviously, I would have appreciated some actual salsa but the lengua was so good it wasn’t necessary. 

So, despite the mostly negative review I will go back to Caporales. Another important plus is the proximity to my house. Even though I probably won’t, I can ride my bike there in about 5 minutes. If I’m in need of a quick taco fix it’s nice to know I have options aside from the over priced, over hyped   Taco Republic. Next time I’ll stick to lengua and make sure I have other salsa and limes at home.

See you in 2 more years!

Raquel

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El Camino Real

29 Jun

You guyyyyysss! I’m back! I know what you’re thinking- dreams do come true! I’m not sure what brought me back and I can’t promise I’m here to stay, but here’s just enough to whet your appetite.

I’ve got a new taco partner, a friend named Ashley who’s a Mexican and hood rat in training. What I like about Ashley is that when I say things like “I know a really good place to eat but it’s not exactly the cleanest place…” she doesn’t bat an eye. For the past few months we’ve made weekly treks to Bonito Michoacan for tacos and Mexican Cokes. This week I revealed my past as a taco blogger and asked her if she’d like to join me. Thankfully, she was game.

We made our way to El Camino Real located at 7th Street and Minnesota-ish in KCK. To my more dirtbaggy friends and family- you’ve probably had lunch there after a trip to the court house that’s right across the street. The restaurant is pretty small with only about 10 tables in the whole joint. There isn’t a real theme to the décor except to describe it as something my grandma or myself would come up with if asked to design a restaurant dining room. From my seat there were no less than 3 Virgin Mary pictures in my line of sight.

For dinner I ordered an al pastor taco and a carnitas taco. Ashley went with two al pastor and one carne asada. We were brought a basket of chips and an empty ramekin to fill with the salsa that sits on the table. The salsa was passable with no discernible flavors except for what Ashley described as “tomato pastey.”

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Our food came out pretty quickly with small bowls of onions and cilantro that allowed us to dress them ourselves. The only salsa in sight was the red stuff sitting on the table. I didn’t ask about green salsa because I’d assume if that were an option they would just bring it to the table as salsa verde is always preferred to red. I’ve never been much of a tacos al pastor fan, which is weird because it combines my two favorite foods- pineapple and tacos. When I was in Mexico last year I had super yummy tacos al pastor off the street so I thought perhaps I just needed to keep trying. I will say the tacos al pastor at El Camino Real were probably the best I’ve had in Kansas City, but they can’t hold a candle to the tacos I had in Mexico. Ashley agreed that their al pastor were better than those at Bonito Michoacan. The sticking point for me was the use of fresh pineapple over canned. The carnitas were bland but I was hungry so I ate it. I would also eat a book if I were hungry enough. Ashley felt her asada taco needed more flavor and was too dry. Luckily we had ice cold Mexican Cokes to wash our troubles away.

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So that’s it. My first taco blog in about 2 years and it wasn’t super positive. Maybe I’m off my taco game, but probably not. I’d love to review your favorite taco spots (or at least eat there, snap a few pics and then never actually write the blog) so send me some recs!

Food Truck Festival!

4 Aug

As I have mentioned before I LOVE food sold from sketchy sources-  grilled meat sticks from the window of a Paraguayan bus, fried chicken at a Honduran bus stop, fair food, tamales out of a Mexican lady’s trunk. I really could go on. So when I found out about the Food Truck Festival in Westport I knew I was in for a treat. I along with several of my favorite coworkers made our way to the festival ready to see what those trucks had to offer.

The Food Truck Festival was held in the backyard of the Beaumont Club and ran out onto Pennsylvania. After paying a $5 cover to get in we made our way around the perimeter to scope out our options. There were trucks from all walks of life- meatball trucks, cupcake trucks, organic trucks, and (most importantly) taco trucks. We paid way too much for  beers and made our way to the first taco truck.

I’ve eaten at Poco’s on the Boulevard a few times, several years ago and only for breakfast. So with fond memories I made my way to the Poco’s truck which was offering $2 tacos. I ordered one carne asada and my coworker, Daniel, ordered the same. There was a small salsa bar where we were allowed to dress our own tacos that included a few  different salsa options and pickled onions! I thought for sure the pickled onions were a sign of good things to come. Alas, that was not the case. The meat was pretty flavorful and tender. The onions were, of course, delicious and the salsa was decent. The tortilla, however, was a disappointment. It was rubbery and fell apart. One bite into the taco it split down the middle and my taco guts spilled all over the plate. The tortilla bites I did have were chewy and had a pretty undesirable consistency. Even Daniel, who doesn’t consider himself a taco expert, agreed that the taco needed some improvements. Disappointed we made our way to the next destination.

The next truck stop wasn’t a truck at all. It was just a Cancun Fiesta Fresh tent located in the Cancun Fiesta Fresh parking lot. I, again, ordered one carne asada taco with cilantro, onions and a lime. Daniel, again, ordered the same.  This time  the tortilla was soft and held its composure. I could chew it without wincing. The meat was delicious and tender. Daniel noted the difference in the tacos right away and agreed that the Cancun taco was far and away the better taco.

Had Poco’s used a different tortilla this would be a different post. I would have given them a pretty glowing review, if only for pickled onions.  Imagine going to Blanc and having them serve you a burger on white Wonder Bread. Wonder Bread might work on your burgers at home when you’re too cheap to go out for buns, but not in a restaurant. Bad tortillas might work at home when you don’t know any better about using quality tortillas, but not when you’re a mexican restaurant. I haven’t tried their in-store tacos, and they may be better when they aren’t being mass-produced. To be continued…

Miguel’s Catering and Carry Out

30 Jun

This week’s taco adventure took me to a really really small hole in the wall conveniently located 1 block away from my place in Mission, KS. It was a bit of a gamble, and luckily one that paid off.

Miguel’s Catering and Carry Out is at 5038 Lamar. It isn’t in the middle of a bustling strip mall, or surrounded by other restaurants. It isn’t surrounded by anything other than a tiny liquor store and a bunch of skuzzy apartment complexes (mine included). Blink and you will miss it. It hasn’t been open long, and given the location and lack of proper advertising, I’m not sure it will stay open long.

Annie and I made the 5 minute walk to Miguel’s after remembering the homemade sign advertising their  $1 Taco Tuesday special. The place is simple and appears to be family run. There are a few chairs inside that seem to be used primarily for waiting. Orders are placed at the bar, where a nice lady asks you what kind of meat you want. Our options were ground beef with potatoes, barbacoa, al pastor, asada, chicken in green sauce, chicken in red sauce, carnitas and pork in green sauce. The tacos are served on one corn tortilla with cilantro, onions and a your choice of salsa. I ordered one al pastor, one asada and one chicken in green sauce ( I was errantly given chicken in green sauce; I really wanted pork in green sauce. Perhaps I mumble too much.)  Annie ordered one carne asada, one chicken in red sauce and one pork in green sauce.

There isn’t much by way of seating at Miguel’s, which is probably why it’s called Miguel’s catering and CARRY OUT.  Annie and I were able to find some nice stoop space outside on the curb in front of the restaurant. Since there is basically nothing else of value in the strip we weren’t worried about the parking spaces filling up or having a car plow in to our faces. Miguel himself offered to pull the chairs back out on to the sidewalk for us, but we were fine where we were. We briefly considered running into the liquor store for a couple of tall boys, but weren’t sure of the public drinking laws in Mission and decided against it.

Despite its unassuming exterior Miguel’s tacos are surprisingly delicious. I found the carne asada tacos especially flavorful. And anything swimming in green sauce is usually in ace in my book. Annie enjoyed her tacos as well. She especially liked the chicken in red sauce. The pork in green sauce was a little spicy, but still delicious. My biggest complaint was that one tortilla wasn’t enough, especially for the saucy tacos. The shells just sorta fell apart in your hands as you ate.

If you read this and are into trying to keep small family owned restaurants in business you should try Miguel’s Catering and Carry Out. The hours leave a little to be desired- they close at 7pm. They do, however, serve breakfast between the hours of 6:30 and 10am. The breakfast menu appears to fall a little more on the traditional breakfast side, which is a shame; breakfast tacos make life worth living.

Do yourself (and Miguel and his family) a favor and find this little place, if only for the ability to pick up cheap delicious tacos and a six-pack in the same trip.

Taco related foods

16 Jun

The following tacos and taco related foods are unanimously delicious and therefore need no review:

Choco Tacos

Taco Bell Tacos

Quik Trip Taquitos

 

 

Rudy’s Tenampa

16 Jun

I’ve been to Rudy’s Tenampa before.  Several times.  I wasn’t even planning on reviewing this place, but my Aunt Jessica and Uncle Justin have a way of getting me to do things I don’t want to do…

Chances are high that you know exactly where Rudy’s Tenampa is located. Many of you have probably eaten there a few times. For those of you who live under a rock, or never leave Johnson County, Rudy’s is located on 43rd Street between Genesee and Wyoming.  For this post I had the pleasure of having a whole host of research assistants, many coming from the same gene pool as yours truly. This week’s research assistants include my Aunt Lola, Aunt Jessica, Uncle Justin, Cousin Gabriel, Cousin Luke and Cousins Alivia and Caleb.

Despite the fact that Rudy’s has been a long time family favorite, I’ve always been lukewarm towards their food. As I mentioned before I probably could have passed on reviewing Rudy’s but Jessica and Justin were in town from Brooklyn, New York and they specially requested to be research assistants. Not wanting to upset my readers, I happily obliged. Besides, I knew Justin wouldn’t shut up about their bean tacos until I tried them.

Following Jessica and Justin’s recommendation I ordered a bean taco as well as one fish and one fried ground beef taco.  Justin and Jessica have been vegetarians (or brainwashed, as my grandfather likes to call it) for several years, so Justin’s idea of good Mexican food is anything covered in cheese and salsa. With meat-less choices being limited on the menu, Justin found a hero in the bean taco. It is exactly what it sounds like- refried beans, cheese, and lettuce in a fried flour tortilla. Justin said the shell alone is what dreams are made of. 

My favorite of the other two tacos was the fish taco. It was served on a soft flour tortilla with pico and lettuce. The fish was light, but lacked a bit in the flavor department. The ground beef taco was mediocre at best- its best attribute being that it was fried. Much like the fish, it didn’t offer much flavor. I’m not sure it was seasoned at all. My cousin Luke also ordered a plate of fried ground beef tacos. Being a boy of few words, he didn’t have much to offer quote-wise. But, he cleaned his plate so I’ll take that as his stamp of approval.

The lack of flavor was remedied by dousing my tacos in salsa. Also, a few pitchers of margaritas. No Rodriquez family function is complete with out an alcohol induced cry fest about how much we love each other.  The margaritas were delicious and  just strong enough. The server won brownie points with us by informing us we still had two minutes to order another pitcher before the happy hour special was over.

So, while you probably have your own opinion on Rudy’s, mine is this: meh. As I’ve said before, I haven’t found much on the menu to do somersaults over; but I don’t refuse to eat there. My family likes to eat there, and I (usually) like my family. So I guess I like it by association. It’s really not so bad with the right mix of good company and margaritas.

Bonito Michoacan

31 May

Hello, fellow taco fans. I have recently made the jump from Tumblr to, because I never fully understood how to use Tumblr and I didn’t really like it that much. Thanks for following!

This week my taco hunting took me and Research Assistant James to Bonito Michoacan located at 10th and Minnesota in Kansas City, Kansas.  I’m a seasoned veteran of the streets of KCK, but James is a transplant from NYC and hasn’t had the pleasure of exploring the city. The whole ride there he kept asking me “where are you taking me?” Confused by the lack of Targets and Starbucks and the abundance of stores with names in foreign languages and rascal scooters on the street, James knew we weren’t  in JoCo anymore.

We went to Bonito Michoacan with no expectations.  What we found was a diamond in the rough. Bonito Michoacan isn’t your average taqueria. It is a goldmine for all your Mexican necessities: pinatas, Bimbo products, prepaid calling cards, candy covered in chili powder, etc. It also happens to serve some of the best tacos I have had in 27 years of taco eating.

When we arrived the line was long and snaking around the aisles and the dining area was full and abuzz with families enjoying heaping plates of tacos. The Taco Tuesday special at Bonito Michoacan is $1 street tacos with your choice of meats: lengua, carne asada, carnitas, shredded chicken, al pastor, and some others I wasn’t daring enough to try.  Like many of the best restaurants  orders are placed cafeteria style, paid for at the end of the line and then it’s up to you to stake out a place to sit. Tables are equipped with a variety of salsas- pico de gallo, two types of salsa verde, two types of red salsa and pickled onions.

Wanting to try an assortment of tacos, but not gorge myself, I ordered carne asada, al pastor and carnitas tacos. (I wanted to try the lengua but they were out.) James went with the gorging method and ordered 6 tacos- 2 chicken, 2 carne asada and 2 al pastor. The tacos were served in 2 soft warm corn tortillas with a heap of cilantro and onions. With all the salsa on the table I was a bit overwhelmed by the possibilities.  I think I sampled all of them and each was tastier than the last. The spicier ones were toned down with a refreshing gulp of horchata. 

Could this be the place I’ve been searching for? Have I found taco love? The only criticism I have of the tacos I sampled is that the carnitas were really fatty and chewy. When I return to Bonito Michoacan I’ll probably pass on the carnitas and load up on the carne asada and al pastor tacos. James noted a sick feeling after all eating those tacos and joked that they had poisoned the gringo, but I maintain that he shouldn’t have eaten 6 tacos. (James acknowledges that he had probably gorged himself and was NOT poisoned by those delicious tacos.) 

While I can’t say enough good things about the tacos at Bonito Michoacan, my search still continues…

 

 

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/34/1504471/restaurant/Downtown-KCK/El-Bonito-Michoacan-Kansas-City”><img alt=”El Bonito Michoacan on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/logo/1504471/biglogo.gif” style=”border:none;width:104px;height:34px” /></a>