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Tacos anyone???

inspired by last nights "no reservations" and my longing for good mexican i tried(if it is possible) to out-do my last excursion for burgers. we went on a taco hunt today, from point to asbury park. al pastor, lingua, carnitas, al carbon, and even chivo(goat) and orejas(pig's ears). i must say, the quality of tortillas just plain s*&^^%%@%^@!!!!!!

we did encounter some great meats and good prices unlike some favs from this board in keyport and freehold, sorry ; ( but a taco should not be more than 2.50 and even that is pushing the limit. but this did answer a question brought up on this board.

is there authentic mexican food here in jersey? IMHO, traditional ingredients and recipes are a must but after that, its highly subjective. the person or chef making the food can still be a bad cook.....

BTW....went into surf taco for the first time.....no pork on the menu? thai chili srimp tacos? this is NOT a taco shop, i don't care how good it is. come on, ya gotta have pork!!!!!

reviews to follow along with a gut check from boom burger for dessert!

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  1. I would have warned you about ST - the Mrs. refers to it as Surf Yucko! Their "salsas" are particularly disappointing and devoid of taste. We much prefer Fins in Bradley Beach for "Baja-Cali-Mex" (or whatever that subcuisine is labeled).

    I have to say that the Taco Truck may have been my favorite taco of '08. Although, there is a little grocery by the train station in Red Bank that I got a fantastic carnitas from.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MGZ

      I ate at Fins Saturday night and the place was hopping. I put it in the same category as Surf Taco and don't find the food to be particulary better or worse. The only thing I order when I go to Surf Taco are the signature surf (fish) tacos. I love 'em, but definitely not a traditional mexican taco.

    2. This topic arises a week after The Shack closed? Whimper...

      Will anyone offer a Shrimp Tempura Taco again? (Granted, not "authentic" but sooo good. Just sub battered fried shrimp for the battered fried fish in a fish taco)

      Their Baja Tacos and Tacos Pastore were noteworthy too... :-(

      1. Mexico Lindo, South St, Freehold - had them last night - onions, a little bit of greens, a new one combining three meats, etc.

        Broadway in Long Branch has great tacos - best of all is the place
        off broadway that also sells rotisserie chicken.

        French St in New Brunswick - all the way down, past that big mexican place, on the left.

        3 Replies
        1. re: aacharya

          El Familiar in Toms River Rt 9 (Stella Towne Plaza) has the most delicious Shrimp Taco, & Pork Tinga Taco anywhere I ever tasted......besides all the other excellent Colombian & Mexican choices on their menu.....give it a try you wont be dissapointed.

          1. re: aacharya

            I wonder if Mexico Lindo in Freehold is related to the one in Brick. I love the authenticity of the food in Brick. Don't get down there enough.

            1. re: fershore

              We used to love Mexico Lindo in Brick. The last time we went about six months ago we were hugely disappointed. The place was empty, smelled very musty and the food definitely dropped down considerably. We will never go back.

          2. Thanks for the post chefMD. I earlier put up the taco truck post and I'll file this one. the best (and 0nly) tacos I've had in Middlesex county were at Tapitio's on Main in South River and Rositas Taqeria on Sudam in New Brunswick.
            ps Chef, do you know of The Robinhood Meeting House, near Bath Maine? Google it.

            14 Replies
            1. re: Passadumkeg

              passa... not familiar with either as i barely make it into monmouth co. on my days off.

              tapas.... been to el famliar at least once a month since i moved to beachwood 18 mos. ago. food is solid but i definitley had better tacos on my "trek". wish they would do fresh chips and get rid of the others, yuck. i would agree though, everything has been good there.

              aach... mexico lindo good but expensive for what i remember, like 3$ a taco??? almost everywhere i went yesterday was 2$

              1. re: chefMD

                No, mexico lindo is $2.00 or $2.35 a taco. $5.99/$6.99 for a set of three, with beans and rice.

                1. re: aacharya

                  my apologies, maybe i am thinking of another shop in freehold...the two i remember going to were generally more expensive than what i expect to pay. maybe pork and tortillas are more expensive here than in san diego?

                2. re: chefMD

                  Chef - Did you get to Mi Mexico in Point? We haven't been there in a while, but the "saulty" beef was good.

                  1. re: MGZ

                    my first stop actually, had goat, tongue, ears, al pastor and carnitas....

                    1. re: chefMD

                      How about Dos Hermanos in Belmar? (Commercial tortillas also, I believe)

                      A curious adventure, indeed. I, however, prefer to stay in one spot when I do my marathon eating.

                      BTW - On such a quest, does one hit a wall? "No more cilantro, Grandma!"

                      1. re: MGZ

                        yes, dos hermanos, very good, best salsa of the day if i recall....

                        wall? what wall? i think i had 18 tacos and finished the night at boom with a burger and wings.......ouch!

                        1. re: chefMD

                          Did any of the places have a good, hot salsa? I find my self adding hot sauce and would love a fresh salsa that was spicy enough (and salty enough) on its own.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            knowing your taste, no.... a few were spicy but not what you would like. i would ask if there is a sauce that the staff uses or just ask for a fresh pepper. you may get a look but will definitely get props when you eat them fresh, i always have.

                            1. re: chefMD

                              Too bad.

                              These quests of your's are like market research. Perhaps wings next? Start at Extreme BBQ?

                              1. re: MGZ

                                cant.... you have a valid point and for all i know the food is good. i for one support the smaller "mom and pop"/ independents rather than the chains. however, how can you have a "taco" shop and not have pork? its blasphemous if you ask me. surf taco reminds me of starbucks or any other chain, very cold, lots of "glam/flash" and no heart. walk into mi mexico next door and you will see what i mean. these people genuinely care about what they do and it is definitely reflected in their food(great chivo taco, chips,and salsas by the way).

                                1. re: chefMD

                                  ChefMD- On your taco journey I think you need to seperate mexican style tacos vs. a california- baja style taco. Based on your posts you obviously enjoy goat, tongue, & pigs ears. If you enjoy that kind of taco than a Mi Mexico place is for you. If you enjoy fresh fish tacos & good burritos than Surf Taco is for you. But to call ST blasphemous because they are not selling a pork taco is ridiculuos. And to critize ST for not having heart because you don't like their style of tacos is narrowed minded.

                                  1. re: mav10

                                    mav......

                                    first of all, "blasphemous" was an attempt at humor. second, having spent ten years of my life in BAJA/SAN DIEGO, home of the fish taco/cali/baja/ burrito etc.., i definitely know the difference and frankly dont care for a 5-6$ burrito filled mostly with beans, rice, cheese and sour cream. this "cali" style stems from americans looking to maximize their profit because protein obviously costs more, while the surfers on the beach needed an inexpensive meal. so you get a giant tortilla filled with "filler" and some meat.

                                    as far as heart, i.... never mind, not enough room here to go into that subject of which i am truly aware.

                                    i never said ST was bad, i never even ate there. Maybe its the best fish taco i will never have. i was referring to what makes it look and feel like starbucks, mcd's, subway, etc... i don't give my money to them either. and, i suppose i am a bit old school but "thai shrimp taco" doesn't sound right to me.

                                    1. re: chefMD

                                      Now that The Shack has closed I am on a quest for a decent, sit down place with table service that serves a good fish taco. ST and Fins are OK, but I just don't care for the counter service, tiny plastic containers of bad salsa & guac and a dining room full of sullen, texting juvies. I don't mind paying more than $3 for a taco if it is well made by a good cook using fresh ingredients.

              2. Chefmd.....for super Pork tacos give El Familiar in TR and try the PORK TINGA Taco .....shredded spicy pork its heavenly! Try the Shrimp Taco & Carne Helgado Steak, Empanadas, & Soncocho soup also OMG!

                8 Replies
                1. re: Tapas52

                  i have had them all..... all very good but i must say i don't go there for the tacos. mostly arepas. honestly, i definitely had better "tacos" elsewhere. please do not get me wrong, i have waxed poetic here many times about el familiar and continue to enjoy it everytime i go. its a great value and one of the best places i have been in NJ since moving here.

                  1. re: chefMD

                    Thanks to you two, finding ourselves in TR yesterday, we tried El Familiar. Chef - the chicharrones were rediculously decadent - no one should deep fry bacon. Luckily, they agreed to serve me a side plate of jalepenos to cut through the richness. The arepas were wonderful. My wife had the arepas con camerones -- Mighty tasty!

                    Tapas - I tried the pork tinga as well. You are correct, that is a very flavorful preparation. I would have been happy to have just had a plateful and a fork.

                    Also, how come nobody told me about the Turkish grocery store a few doors down. That place was great. We picked up a cold smoked herring, some funky, hard sheep's milk cheese that tasted like a hybrid of manchego and aged cheddar, and a sausage that was similar in flavor to smoked chorizo, shaped like a keilbalsa, and a deep, dark brown color (to call it pungent would be an understatement!).

                    1. re: MGZ

                      ooooooohhh, sorry, i forgot about that place. i had that sausage too! talk about garlic.

                      1. re: chefMD

                        I'm afraid to admit it, but can still taste it.

                        I couldn't quite find a condiment to pair it with - tried grainy mustard and hot sauces. I started to think about some type of fruit. Very interesting flavor, to say the least.

                        1. re: MGZ

                          yea, it stays with you for a while.... good question, what to pair?

                          yes, i am contemplating the chicken wing "challenge" as well

                          1. re: chefMD

                            I used some crumbled sausage to make a pan sauce for chicken breasts. My wife may never forgive me! I don't know why I assumed it was pork. I am beginning to think that it was made with something else?

                            Two underappreciated wings for your quest - 1. The dry rubbed wings at the Porch in Spring Lake Heights (Be warned, though, the rest of the food there is lousy). 2. The sriracha wings at 507 Main in Belmar. (I suppose this is the stuff of another thread).

                            1. re: MGZ

                              Turkish/Middle Eastern, probably a safe bet it's not pork. Most likely lamb or beef.