Battle of the Cuernavacans: You Sunk My Acorazado!

Cuernavacan pride
Taco acorazado
Get in mah belly.

I have Gustavo to thank for many things, but culinarily speaking, his
biggest contribution to my culinaria has to be the discovery of the
existence of the taco acorazado, the “battleship” taco that is an
invention of the Mexican city of Cuernavaca, capital of the central
state of Morelos.

This is not one of those cute little Lola
Gaspar-type snack-sized tacos; this isn't a 99ยข-from-a-truck-on-Slater
taco garnished with cilantro and onion. No, this is a man-sized
taco. It starts with a large corn tortilla, topped with rice, meat,
griddled onions and chiles.

For a long time, the only place to
get a battleship taco was from Alebrije's taco truck in Santa Ana; then,
last week, This Hole-In-The-Wall Life came up with a Morelos-style,
bricks-and-mortar taqueria in Garden Grove, also selling tacos

To the base recipe above, Alebrije's adds griddled
tomatoes, nopales (cactus paddles), avocado and cotija cheese (a
crumbly, salty, feta-like cheese). This is the taco that sunk a
battleship; this is the taco that eats like a meal. One of Alebrije's
tacos acorazados at lunch, and all I want for dinner is a drink.

The taste, especially once you add the stunningly spicy green avocado
salsa available in the “pockets” of ice along the truck, is a
revelation, as
I've said elsewhere
; the massive creation is a joy to eat.

Morelos, which is the dive to end all dives, didn't have any milanesa when I went, so I tried the al pastor
in my taco acorazado; when I called the next day to see if they had
milanesa (to compare apples to apples), they didn't. As it happens, it
doesn't matter; there were structural problems throughout the taco,
which contains rice, meat, onions and chiles.

The tortilla, though thicker than the Mission standard, wasn't
thick enough to stand up to the filling. Nobody in his right mind tries
to fold a taco acorazado without first eating some of the contents, but
the grease and sauce went right through the tortilla, turning it into
mush. The al pastor (done a la plancha, not al trompo),
though a little gristly, and not nearly spicy enough. The griddled
onions were well-cooked, but fully half the grilled chiles were badly

One place where Taqueria Morelos acquits itself well was
the salsa picosa, the spicy red salsa that was served (upon request)
with the taco. It woke up the sleepy al pastor and gave a nice zing to
the taco.

Verdict: not even close. Not only would I pass up
Taqueria Morelos in favor of Alebrije's, I would recommend against the
taco acorazado at Taqueria Morelos. Sorry, Gustavo; the other specialities may be good, but the taco acorazado was not worth the $4. I'm a big fan of
expanding the breadth of regional Mexican cooking in la naranja,
but only if it tastes good, and this didn't.

Alebrije's is parked outside the Northgate market on Cubbon St. half a
block west of Main St., Santa Ana; the truck is bright pink, which is a
whole other story.

Taqueria Morelos is located at 12631 Westminster Ave. in Garden Grove,
just over the border from Santa Ana.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *