Friday, October 23, 2009

Cocina los Jarritos!

I'm planning on doing some cabrito tacos next week and decided I'd have some for lunch today to serve as a jumping off point, since I haven't had them in a long time I wanted to see what other people were doing when it came to putting goat meat on tortillas, so I swung by Perico's 290 at Mangum, only to find that the promised I was told about the menu not changing when they changed their name from Arandas were actually vicious lies, so no cabrito was to be had.

With a heavy heart I ventured out into the wilds, indecisive about where to eat. I considered having some pupusas at La Playita at 3406 Mangum, but decided to wait on going back there until I could take some company with me. In the end, I decided to try Cocina los Jarritos, which had recently opened in the NW Mall's food court.

Frankly, I did not have much hope for any food coming out of a food court that wasn't prepared by the good folks at Chik fil'A, but I figured it was worth trying out if only for the sake of the coworker who had first mentioned this new source for tacos and had solicited my opinion.

I decided to try their al pastor tacos to see if they lived up to or exceeded my own version, as well as some rice and beans. The tacos were very reasonably priced at $ 1.35 per, and the rice and beans were each $ 1.00 for a 4 oz. serving. I was offered the option of having my tacos dressed with either lettuce and tomato or cilantro and onion, and of course I went with the cilantro and onion because that is how I roll.

I was really impressed with the rice and beans. I think it's safe to say that the beans were some of the most flavorful refried beans I've ever gotten from a taco joint. They had a rich, deep flavor that was quite remarkable. The rice was just fine stirred up into my beans, just as I've eaten them since I was about four years old.

The tacos were not a complete disappointment, I suppose; unlike so many other "al pastor" tacos I've been served over the years, these actually had pineapple in them! (I'm of the opinion that al pastor tacos served without pineapple are not al pastor tacos at all.) Unfortunately, practically everything else about them was a let-down. As you can see in the picture below, the meat was cooked in a very bright red chili sauce, but unfortunately that chili sauce had strong, distracting bitter notes and was overly greasy.

The sample of fajita meat the man at the counter handed me as I walked up to order was quite good. In retrospect, I probably should have ordered fajita tacos instead. I don't understand why it's so hard to get good tacos al pastor around here, but I suppose that I should be thankful. It was eating another al pastor taco just like like these that finally prompted me to learn to make my own and to make them properly.

The available red sauce had a good, smoky flavor but also had quite a bit of unexpected sweetness. I guess they must have put sugar in it. It would have been excellent if not for that. Their green sauce was a smooth, creamy green variety that I am not a huge fan of.

I guess, in the end, I really can't recommend Cocina los Jarrito's tacos al pastor, but their fajita tacos might be worth a try, especially with another side of those rice and beans.

Does anyone know who else is offering up cabrito near the 610/290 interchange?

Cocina Los Jarritos al Pastor

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