Considering the domestic direction my life has taken, I guess it makes sense that all I write about are sports and books and stuff on TV. After all, who has the time to go to restaurants? Of course, this is not 100% true – I have time to go to places, but the kid and diaper changing friendly restaurants are largely un-special. And then, there is take-away, which we rely on increasingly.
It is through this quest for great take-away that I sing praise for the place around the corner from me, Taco Bamba. Some will rhapsodize about District Taco, and certainly when I was living in Arlington, I loved El Charrito. Moreover, just to be fair, El Charrito is still great on the dimensions of authenticity (along with their pupusas!), but living in the burbs now, I am too thrilled to have a quality place in the burbs.
Taco Bamba is a true blue Mexican style Taqueria, already sort of rare in a part of the country where you are much more likely to find Salvadorian or Peruvian. The fridge is stocked with the Mexican Coca-Cola, and the tacos are wrapped in the double corn tortillas. They have all of the blocking and tackling varieties, including an excellent chorizo, as well as a cactus taco the life partner can’t stop eating. The core flavors are good and at $8 for 3, a good value.
But Taco Bamba does not stop there, as they also produce higher end “creative” tacos – including the best fish taco I’ve had. This taco, called “The Black Pearl”, is a perfectly fried bit of cod with a slaw and a squid ink aioli. As is the case with squid ink, it is weird optically to see it on a napkin, but the combination of the slaw and fish it is extremely refreshing. You get the crispiness of all the elements, and the aioli provides some garlicky complexity without making anything too soggy. Their pork belly taco has Asian touches with its slaw and seemingly hoisin based sauce. They even have a flour taco with American cheese and ground beef (the Gringo), lest you think they lack a sense of humor. The restaurant’s special other things – like Posole, the pork and hominy soup or grilled corn with cotija cheese – are excellent too. The tacos are reasonably generous. We can get a meal for two here for about 15 bucks combined easily, and given the space only having a dozen stools or so that meal is usually taken at home. It is a genuine crutch for us when we cannot think of what we want – and a legitimately excellent, flavorful one.