This week, Gabe Zambrano of Soho Taco, the gourmet taco company, is on the line with us. You'd think that someone would have started a taco cart with higher-end ingredients before, but they didn't, and OC is lucky to have Soho. (Now get a truck!) If you missed yesterday's interview, click here.
OC Weekly: What do we need less of in OC, foodwise?
Gabe Zambrano: Melted Velveeta on enchiladas and flavorless chain restaurants.
OCW: Who's your hero (culinary or otherwise)?
GZ: Mi mamá.
OCW: What's the weirdest request you've ever received?
GZ: Once I was asked to make a taco de chilaquiles – which is essentially a tortilla taco.
OCW: What's the best day you ever had at work?
GZ: Getting that incredible review from Gustavo Arellano.
OCW: What's one food you can't live without?
GZ: Chicken soup mostly because the simple flavors brings things back to the basics. It's comfort food 101.
OCW: What's one food you wish would disappear forever?
GZ: Papaya. I don't know why, but the smell and the taste of the fruit just doesn't mix with my palate.
OCW: What's your best recent food find?
GZ: Piaggio's caprese empanadas.
OCW: You're in a Mexican restaurant and a mariachi suits up. What do you request?
GZ: “El Rey” by José Alfredo Jímenez. Why? Because the lyrics of the song say, “I will always be king,” which I hope to be in the kitchen.
OCW: You're at the market. What do you buy two of?
GZ: Limes, because they're so versatile and you can do a lot with them.
OCW: What's your favorite music to cook by?
OCW: What cuisine are you unfamiliar with that you'd like to try?
GZ: I would like to try Thai. Since I come from the other side of the world I'm always fascinated by different interpretations of spice and flavor combinations. And, I think Thai cuisine is a perfect marriage of both.
OCW: What's your favorite Mexican food?
GZ: The moles from Puebla in Central Mexico. The complexity of the ingredients make up a symphony of flavors and ultimately a spectacular dish.
OCW: What one Mexican food do you wish were more common in the States?
GZ: Cecina de res, a thin sliced round steak marinated in sea salt and herbs and left out side to cure overnight. It's usually served with nopales asados (grilled cactus) on homemade tortillas and queso añejo shavings.
Follow Soho Taco on Twitter at @sohotaco.