Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hello, old friends.

Last month I attended the Festival Hispano at the County Park in North Charleston. There was some good music, a capoeira troupe, and what seemed to be some nice authentic food (though not nearly enough of it, which meant three unnavigably lengthy queues in a crowd of about 2,000 people), but unfortunately little else: a cellphone dealer or two, some Sponge-Bob souvenirs, and some generic soda and beer vendors. With respect to the effort involved in the production of the event, it was a little poor.

Where were the living history reenactments?, I thought. Where were the strange couples' party games? Where were the custom car artists with their beautiful Silverado pickups? Where were all the taco trucks?

I do admit that, as an enthusiast of the growing presence of centro- and sudamericana culture within our own, it may have been too easy for me to be disappointed by the event. Folks seemed to be having fun, which I reckon is the point. But the event left me with the thoughts of how we all tend to take many of our most distinctive cultural details for granted.

Not much of a revelation, I know; it's just something to consider. Which aspects of your culture do you think outsiders would find most interesting? Which do you think might be most important to your grandparents? To your children?

Oh, yes. Unfulfilled from our outing, my friend and I stopped in at La Fortuna de Hanahan on the way home for a couple of tacos and a gordita.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New truck on Johns Island

Dave and I stopped at Rosebank Farms this week hoping to lunch on El Jalicience's exquisite quezadillas, but were surprised to find a new Los Parados truck parked there instead.

The operator of the truck was one of the friendliest I've met, and was eager to show us the reverb-laden boom of his CB radio.

According to Dave, the quezadillas don't measure up to the bar set by Jalicience, but few do. I ordered a torta al pastor and a Sidral apple soda and was not a bit disappointed.

The best torta of my life:

Friday, August 22, 2008


Ron and I stopped by the church picnic at La Iglesia del Santo Espiritu last Sunday and found a friendly scene of music, games, cultural exhibitions, and homemade food.

The guisado and tamales de puerco were both good, and the mild agua de tamarindo was especially nice on a hot afternoon in the countryside, but the highlight for me was the savory and tender tacos de birria:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pickens, SC

In the heart of the tomato-based barbecue region of South Carolina:

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Torta de pastor and an agua de jamaica at El Progresso yesterday:

Monday, June 30, 2008

And a new coat of paint

I had a very nice lunch at El Jaliciense today with my friend Bob and his son. It had been almost a year since the last time I'd visited my old favorite , and I was a little surprised to find the truck parked in the old spot.

They also look to be about to get a new paint job for their mobile kitchen:

I was in the mood for tacos for sure, but I couldn't pass up their delicious quezadillas. So, I ordered one of each - both al pastor - and picked up a coke from the cooler.

The pastor was better than I remembered, and cooked with perhaps a little more pineapple than usual - somehow especially nice on a warm day like this one. The new picnic table in the shade a few less of those pestering chickens make the whole experience at El Jaliciense ever more pleasant.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

In the news

Taco Truck Battle Heats Up in Los Angeles

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Sweet Corn

Oh, and the tamales rajas. Aye!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This spring, I discovered a seemingly obscure delicacy of Mexican cuisine. I had decided to take a break from eating meat for the season of Lent, which was easy until I found myself at "La Fortuna de Hanahan," an exceptionally friendly family-run grocery store/butchershop/restaurant/video-rental just off of Remount Rd.

Tempted as I was by their delicious tacos al pastor, I decided to stick to my guns and ordered two quesadillas: one mushroom and one huitlacoche. I wasn't sure what it was; it looked a little like spinach, tasted a little like mushroom, and the waitress and the butcher tried to think of an English word for it, but all I understood was that it had something to do corn. Whatever it was, I had a new favorite.

When I ordered another the next week, and tried again to find out more about the nature of this delicacy, the waitress showed me an illustration on the label of a tin can. I was baffled. This is what was represented on the label:

Considered a blight by most North American and European farmers, corn smut has been cultivated by the people of Mexico for centuries. The Aztecs purposefully exposed young corn plants to the spores of the fungus in order to promote the growth of the truffle-like galls. Those who have had the fortune to enjoy the sweet and earthy taste of this unfortunately rare delicacy know why.

Sunday, February 10, 2008


I had lunch last week at Los Parados, where the aguas frescas are served in very generous proportions.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

After the blizzard

I spent the first couple of days of this year in beautiful Leadville, Colorado. At over 10,000 ft. above sea level, it's the highest incorporated city in our country as well as home to the Beck/Bower family - my generous hosts and patient ski instructors.

It's also home a substantial Chicano community; the small Victorian mining town is home to at least one tienda, one taco truck, and a few authentic-looking Mexican restaurants. While exploring the town on my first morning there, I stopped into Manuelita's on Harrison Avenue for an early lunch and enjoyed a delicious torta de adobado.

Dear faithful readers (or) Hey, Jonathan

Apologies for the lack of coverage lately. I forget about blogging sometimes. I don't, however, forget about tacos. Here are a few highlights of the past season:

Reuniting with Blanca, our favorite waitress from the old Las Lupitas, at El Progreso.

Taking my friend Jack, an experienced Los Angeles taco truck lover, for his first lunch on Remount Road.

Discovering a new favorite, La Fortuna, a grocery/carneceria/taqueria in Hanahan. Friendly folks, deliciously spicy guacamole, excellent gorditas, and a wonderful shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Enjoying a fine tamal de rajas with arroz con leche at Michelle's Cafe in Baltimore.

Followed by a tamal dulce, filled with cinnamon and raisins.

My pregnant vegetarian sister patiently keeps me company while I sample Jesus and Michelle's tamales.

Thanks for reading, everyone. Keep those letters coming!

Hasta pronto.