Monday, October 18, 2010

Tacos y Mariscos Lopez

   I've put off this post for a little bit because I didn't really know where it fit in.  Also, I have been trying to find information online about these 2 taco stands, but there is none to be found.  Apparently, people are not finding it necessary to to give accurate addresses on permanently rooted hole in the wall taco joints.  Most taco stands/trucks in the Nolensville Rd. area of Nashville are of the "Lopez" variety.  (I believe they have 7 locations.)  The two we went to fall into that category, but since each place has it's own cooks, the fine tuning and grace of each dish varies from place to place.

   I have a new found joy of taco trucks. I know, I know.  I am a little late to the game, but I have come to the conclusion that I would very much like to own a (slightly) upscale taco truck (fleet???) one day.  After I have worked for awhile, my husband has settled into police work, and our future children are slightly older, of course.  Although, raising a child in a food truck may not be the worst thing.  And once I have totally mastered Spanish. (Fingers crossed that I get Rosetta Stone for Christmas!  Mom:  If you are reading, this is a HINT!)  I have my business plan pretty much laid out, but that is for another time.

   A couple weeks ago, my younger brother took me to his two favorite stands.  He lived in the Nolensville Rd. area for two years, so he is much better acquainted with Nashville's "Little Mexico" than I am.  The first place we went was Tacos y Mariscos: El Amigo (or Lopez #6). It is in a converted gas station at the corner of Nolensville Pk. and Elysian Fields Rd.  The kitchen is set up behind the counter and there are counter seats plus a few tables crammed into the little space.  Storage is in the walk in cooler area.  And currently they are building a rather beautiful exotic wood patio to expand seating.  The effect is kitschy and resourceful.  English is very limited but the waitress has no problem just asking you to point to the menu item.  I was unprepared to order, but looked up to the menu board and the first thing I saw was "Lengua".
   I wanted to try it at the Celebration of Cultures, but they were out.  This was my chance!  The waitress looked at me like I was crazy.  Whatever.  As soon as it came, I took just a second to snap a picture before devouring it!  It was so good.  The meat was cooked perfectly:  melt in your mouth tender.  And the flavor is like the best pot roast you have ever had.  Incredibly beefy and robust, but without the cumbersome heaviness of real pot roast (which I really don't like).  I can't believe we don't eat more tongue!!! Unless time is the issue we are considering.  The mouthfeel and flavor of tongue are widely appealing.  And when sliced or cubed, the "tongue-factor" is unidentifiable.
   The second place was Tacos y Mariscos: Lopez (#???)  I can not find this place online.  It is on Nolensville Rd. near the intersection with Old Hickory Blvd in the Tusculum area.  There is a truck (kitchen) in front of a tiny brick building.  You can order directly from the truck or sit down in the building's "dining room" just behind.  The closest landmark I can think of is Auto Latino (that place is pretty sketchy.)  We shared a chorizo burrito because they are HUGE, and for $6, a steal.  Perfectly spicy fresh chorizo and a dead-on ratio of meat to other filling.  The only draw back was that the flour tortilla was a bit tough and therefore hard to eat (cutting or tearing into it with your teeth.)  I don't think this is a regular occurrence, though. 
   Get out and try those tiny little Mexican and Latin places.  The people are nice, and while the location may be a tad run down, it is always clean.  Plus, that's where you can find some amazing (and cheap) food!  And maybe let me know about them.... I need to really get on this taco truck research wagon.

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