Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Taqueria Tepatitlan - Ventura
So, I haven't done shit since May and it seems like in that time a few things have occurred with regards to tacos, taquerias and some other interesting bits in the Ventura County. Nothing of any real importance (there is some sad news, though) but let me run down just a few things that caught my eye:
"Gourmet" Food trucks have been getting together and serving the greater Oxnard area at a clip of about once month in a designated area. I believe they've been setting up at either the Elks Lodge parking lot or Plaza Park? Dude, I don't remember but the fact that Oxnard has been hosting Gourmet Food trucks in itself gives me hope for the future. The Ventura County Environmental Health Division is a real stick in the mud when it comes to food trucks, by the way. They've actually been at it for a year now (with the food trucks) but I hadn't really paid much attention until just recently.
I know that food trucks have been setting up shop here and there over the last few years but the idea of having a specific day with a specific area for the trucks to set up seems to be spreading to the other magnificent towns in and around Ventura County. Again, this is a good thing.
The other thing that happened recently is that there was a shooting at Super Taco in Oxnard. This is obviously a big bummer and I personally thought it was terrible. I don't want to take away from the fact that a 28 year old man lost his life, which is absolutely horrible and definitely shocked me personally, but Super Taco does not serve good food.
Lastly, I drove by the Thousand Oaks Meat Locker the other day and they had a Trompo set up and were shaving off Al Pastor and serving up tacos and such..... Jeez. I honestly don't know how I feel about this. A good thing, right? I think Corrigans Steak House is now serving Cochinta Pibil and a variety of Oaxacan Mole's too. Stay tuned for more info on that...
So- Taqueria Tepatitlan is a very nice sit down style taqueria on Ventura avenue. They've had some nice write ups in the VC Reporter and I believe have been voted the third best Mexican food establishment recently (by the residents of Ventura County????) by the same periodical as well.
I walk in and take a seat, a very nice waitress takes my order ( 2 carne asada, al pastor, carnitas...) and then brings me chips and salsa. The salsa was a very flavorful dipping salsa which I think of using only for the sole purpose of dipping chips and nothing else.
Here's how the tacos measured up:
Carne Asada: I ordered two of them so I could really get a beat on how they do up one of my favorite proteins and unfortunately, it was pretty bland. The meat was moist and tender but the meat itself was lacking in the "Depth Of Flavor" department. The saving grace (and really, the standout on all the tacos) was the red sauce you see in the pic above. It had vinegary/smokey kinda flavor that mixed well with the more than likely reconstituted dry chilies that made up this concoction. It paired well with the meat and made it enjoyable for me to eat.
Al Pastor: Wow, this was different. The flavor of the sauce that covered the pork was really BOLD and I loved it. Totally different (to me) than most of the Al Pastor I've had in the past. The pork itself was shredded and like I said, the sauce/marinade that covered it had an amazing flavor with slow burning mild heat that made me wish I had just ordered four of these. In any case, it was pretty damn good. Can't put my finger on all the intricacies of the sauce but... yeah.
Carnitas: Well, yeah... look, I love carnitas which is usually why I'm such a hard ass about how they should taste and in this case, I was just not satisfied with the flavor and some of the texture. Let me back up, the flavor of pork was there, which is important, but the texture was mushy and the mouth feel was a bit dry. That red sauce that was poured over it helped but to me, it just didn't cut it.
Some other things of note: $2.50 a taco is a bit much for this blogger but the tortillas were filled to the max with meat. Speaking of which, the tortillas were absolutely top notch in the flavor and preparation department. Also, I don't usually like to comment on service but everyone who worked there was very friendly and helpful and they also had Sierra Nevada Torpedo extra IPA on tap. This is a beer I like a lot.
Look it, I know for a fact that Taqueria Tepatitlan serves up some great Mexican food but today I was here grading tacos ONLY. Being that this place is right across the street from the mighty Ortiz Taco Time reminded me of this singular focus. 3/5 stars.
362 North Ventura Avenue
Ventura, CA 93001