On this installment of “John Eats at a Place, Takes Pictures of it and Writes About it On the Interwebs”, I’m going to teach you a lesson. There is no charge for this lesson. All I ask is you continue to read my stuff and share it on your favorite social network. Ready? OK, let’s go.
Say you’re driving down the road looking for a Mexican restaurant and you’re going to pick it only by the way they present themselves. This would be a weird way to find something to eat. Let’s change that. Imagine you’re a Yelp reviewer and you’re looking for someplace that you can critique and really act like you know what you’re talking about based on years of culinary experience and education. Since your mission in life is to write about restaurants and guide the owners to culinary greatness, you need to find a place that really really needs your help. Say you drive by a Mexican joint that looks like this:
The appropriate action is to continue driving. The more appropriate action is to speed up so you pass it faster. The most appropriate action is to give this restaurant the middle finger for confusing people about Mexican food, speed up and drive right by. The only reason places like this should exist is to give you an example when talking about how much better a good Mexican restaurant is. Side note, I can never be too mad at Tios Mexican Cafe because they have served bullshit food to the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor for years and also provided me with a ton of material to write about. Its newest contribution to absolutely destroying Mexican food is “Chili Queso Fries”.
Ladies and gentleman, that is an absolute disgrace. The fact that someone actually prepared that and though it would be a good idea to trade it for money terrifies me. BUT ANYWAYS, there is a point to all of this madness. This isn’t just another post where John rants about how shitty Tios Mexican Cafe is. There actually is a lesson here. Imagine you’re driving down that same street. You’ve slowed down and you’re looking for a more appropriate place to eat than Tios Mexican Cafe. You come across the following sign:
This all but guarantees you a quality Mexican dining experience. Ignore the fact that it’s surrounded by a liquor store and an adult novelties shop. Between those two businesses resides an authentic family owned restaurant that is simply trying to provide you a quality meal for an affordable price. It’s been a long road to get here (if you actually are reading this), but I give you.. La Torre Taqueria.
When you walk in you are greeted by a man and a woman who I can only assume are the owners. They are incredibly friendly and make a point to welcome every customer that walks in the door. You are faced with a large chalkboard menu above a counter that takes carry out orders and five or six tables for eating in. There is one small cooking area that is in plain view so you can watch the owners grill your food, heat up the tortillas and prepare everything right in front of you. Not only is this a fun experience, but you can see the simple processes that make Mexican food so great.
You are given two sauces after you order. I’m not saying these are life changing but I want to completely change my life after eating them. I would drink this stuff. They are incredible. After my meal, I could taste the green sauce during my entire 45 minute drive home. I literally started looking up verde hot sauce recipes while I was in the restaurant with the dream of recreating it.
Their tacos are also borderline life changing. The Pastor is pretty standard – marinated pork with a little fruityness that cuts the spice. The Carnitas are on another level — not quite as crispy as I’m used to but the flavor is crazy. The cilantro and onion were so fresh and flavorful that they hung out right with the pork flavor and made the taco complete. When you add the hot sauce, you’re looking at one of the better start to finish taco experiences I have had.
The summary of this lesson is always judge a book by its cover when it comes to Mexican food. If you see a Mexican “cafe” or anything named something that white people associate with Mexican culture – sombreros, mariachis, ect – stay away. If you see a no bullshit sign out front with the word “taqueria” in the name, get in there.
The most important thing — La Torre Taqueria is delicious. Go there. it’s on 1525 Washtenaw Ave in Ypsilanti.