A couple of weeks ago, I did a segment for the NPR show, Latino USA, highlighting the luxe lonchera scene in Irvine in support of my new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America. Taco María served as my laboratory to interview office drones and ask them why they preferred the wonderful eatery as opposed to, say, Taco Bell, and head chef Carlos Salgado was kind enough to let me interview him in my rambling, on-point ways.
After a couple of minutes, though, I became hungry. I washed down my fatigue with one of Salgado's spectacular aguas frescas–strawberry badassery or something?–and was about to issue him a challenge: make a crispy taco ala the original ones that invaded America in the 1920s. Just as I was about to mention it, though, I saw the words “crispy” on the lonchera's menu.
“Wait–you make crispy tacos?” I asked.
“Since Day One,” Salgado replied.
Color me pendejo as usual.
It doesn't matter your choice of ingredients: for no charge, Salgado will cook the tortillas a bit longer, so that it hardens the slightest bit, enough so that you get a luscious crunch yet remaining pliable. Salgado doesn't advertise it much, because it's a bit more labor-intensive, but the cabrón is such a mensch that he'll nevertheless do it upon request. So you know what to do, people: abuse his graciousness by ordering crispy tacos like crazy. And tip the hell out of Salgado and his crew, por favor, for our collective gluttony.
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