Growing up, taco night was one of the best nights of the week. It was like eating Legos; Mom simply put the components on the table and we went at it, making our own hard-shelled, handheld delights. She used frozen ground beef, taco seasoning packets, pre-formed hard shells from a box, shredded iceberg lettuce, brand-name salsa, sour cream and some fresh produce. They were more akin to a Taco Hell menu item than anything authentically Mexican.
But by using local ingredients, taco night still remains a favorite, albeit vastly different in execution. Carnitas simmered all day in a crock pot, salsa made by hand with Parson’s tomatoes and onions from Ortiz farms and tortillas made fresh by La Tortilla Factory make taco night Slow Food–approved. It’s quite easy to consume 10 of these tacos and not even loosen the belt.
At home, tortillas can be steamed over the shredded carnitas crisping up in a hot pan. As if carnitas weren’t enough to on its own to induce a flavorgasm, wrap it with fresh tortillas steamed with pork juice and top it with fresh salsa with the best tomatoes this side of Jupiter, just now starting to ripen on backyard plants. It’s truly an otherworldy experience.