August 01, 2014

2012 - Tour de Taco

Let's travel back in time a couple years to 2012... this was back in the dark ages of Yelp Omaha, before we had a community manager or Events page and had to plan everything through the Talk Boards

This idea was fueled by meat and drinks at 801 Chophouse. So why not swing all the way to the other end of the spectrum and spend a day eating a belly's worth of value in South Omaha? Props to Matt M. for the name too!

Our first tour took place on Saturday, July 7th, 2012 and there were t-shirts and everything.

Locations included:

Sam's Leon Mexican Supplies - yelp.com/biz/sams-leon-m…
Taqueria Tiiuana - yelp.com/biz/taqueria-ti…
Tacos el Peligro - yelp.com/biz/tacos-el-pe…
Taqueria El Paisa - yelp.com/biz/taqueria-el…
Don Gaby's Restaurant - yelp.com/biz/don-gabys-r…
Paleteria & Restaurant San Luis - yelp.com/biz/paleteria-a…

We walked to them all (map here) except TT, which was sadly closed, and I was ridiculously full afterwards. - Then I went on a patio ride! (Note to Patio Ride Omaha, a taco tour would possibly be a good investment if they ever expand out of downtown). 

Taqueria Tijuana was closed
We were sad about that.
This was also the day I first was introduced to Horchata! A day that changed my life... thanks Aimee P! This year was also my first ever trip to International Bakery. Another place you just kind of have to go with the flow at... nothing is labeled, and they have a huge variety from jalapeno-cream-cheese filled pastries to regular 'ol sprinkle donuts (and nearly everything in between). Though note: "International" doesn't mean you'll be finding any macaroons here. Read up on your Mexican pastry (or Pan Dulce / sweet breads) here:
http://www.pinedasbakery.com/mexican-bakery-glossary.html
or
http://andrejabrulc.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/mexico-project-mexican-cuisine-pan-dulce-sweet-bread/

But basically, just grab some tongs and a tray. Load up and enjoy.

All in all, we had such a great time, another tour was planned for shortly thereafter. 

Taco Tour - Redux

A little over a month later on August 18th we were at it again. This time, we started at Taqueria Tijuana (who by this time had their electrical issue / fire repairs completed), then headed back to two favorites from the previous tour (Taqueria el Paisa and Tacos el Peligro) and rounded out at Jalapeno!

No pictures of this one, but I did go get a tattoo right after (plus a bonus black squirrel)!

Squirrel logo tattoos are only $25 at Black Squirrel Tattoo

2013 - Tour de Taco

Our third tour... second annual, took place on July 13, 2013. 

We visited:

El Rancho - yelp.com/biz/el-rancho-omaha
Taqueria El Paisa - again, since this and el Peligro were my favorites
El Rinconcito - yelp.com/biz/el-rinconcito-omaha-2
Tacos el Peligro - again
Taqueria La Esmeralda - yelp.com/biz/taqueria-la-esmeralda-omaha (where I couldn't eat another bite and had to throw in the towel). 

This time I tried to eat all the chips.
And, of course, we stopped at International Bakery

2014 - Tour de Taco

And then suddenly it was 2014! This year's tour was hosted on the brand new Yelp Omaha Events Page, but the funny thing about that is that once an event has passed... it's like it never existed. (Or I just can't find it). But that's okay because this one is still relatively fresh in my memory since it only happened 3 weeks ago on July 12, 2014!

(Never-mind, I found the event listing after all... thanks Google!)

Oh this is also probably a good time to mention I have also written a taco primer for anyone thinking about orchestrating their own tour: saraheatsomaha.com/2014/…

So Here's What Went Down...

La Casita 

First stop on Tour de Taco is usually somewhere we can gather and wait out the stragglers. There were definitely some stragglers this time... (April R. I'm looking at you!) 

But no matter, we had plenty of time to peruse the menu, order food and then consider ordering more while I slugged down a large horchata. 

The problem with taco tour is what usually I get so excited that by the time we start ordering at the first place I usually over order. This is probably compounded by the fact that I try to eat a small breakfast on tour days - after the gym - so I'm typically ravenous at the first location also. 

I kept it in check and just ordered a couple tacos to start while I satiated myself on horchata. They also bring out a complimentary warm bean dip with chips here. Pretty nice! 

chips here were good, and salsa's are pretty spicy.
my staple Al Pastor and I think a Cachete
I'm going to write a more detailed review of La Casita since we've been back several times since the tour, so hang tight for more details on this place. It was definitely a winner for food, but not so much for friendliness.

Dos De Oros 

De Oros has two trucks, which led to some confusion on our part. Both are on 24th Street, but one is in the O'Reilley Autoparts parking lot at Vinton Street) and the other - the one listed on Yelp - is at G Street in the Envios de Dinero parking lot. You can see it on Google Streetview and everything.

This was an interesting stop for several reasons... first, it was super busy and on a busy street. Second, because this was the first time in my life I've met a quesadilla I didn't like (old grease explosion is how I'd describe it) and third, because when I went across the street to use the restroom I considered using the mens single-holer since there was someone in the women's... DON'T. That mens' restroom is one of those restrooms you may have nightmares about. (Probably best to either pee before you go, or just drive right on by here in general).

As you may have gathered, I wasn't enamored with the food. It was just kind of rough. Everything was a little too mushy and greasy, the Al pastor appeared to be topped with canned pineapple and even the shells weren't really palatable. The coke was good and cold though.

Waiting in line... keep a sharp ear to the food calling too.

Al pastor, is that you?
Mushy greasy meat... 
The coke was good.

Driveway Tacos (S 23rd St & N St)

On to the next stop, or so we thought. This was one of Matt M's finds, a husband a wife team who apparently make tacos in their driveway. The cart was there, and there was some kind of swap meet going on across the street... but no tacos could be found. Scratch that one off the list for now. 

That was the kind of hazard I was hoping to avoid on this tour, which after La Casita, was really all trucks or food of a similar mobility. Speaking of which...
In June I was in touch with Maria Bonita via their Facebook page. Truck #1 was otherwise occupied, but Truck #2 (aka Taste of Sabor) was available, as I was told. My directions were to text them and either find the truck or it would come to us.

Even though I did text and Facebook message, neither of those things happened. Scratch that. 

Interesting anecdote about the Taste of Sabor truck... I didn't know this was Maria Bonita until recently. So while I've still never had food from Truck #1, I have eaten from Truck #2 and I wasn't impressed.

Mariscos Los Willy's

I've already written a detailed review singing my praises of Willy's, so you can check that out here, follow them on Facebook here, add your own reviews on Yelp here, and generally we can all thank Dale L. for this because this place continues to knock it out of the park when it comes to seafood. Tostadas Mixtas and Fish Tacos, and I was a happy camper.

Tostadas Mixtas!

The crowd chowing down (some)... Love the canopies and tables. (and music).

Some were still ordering...

Nice variety of hot sauces available

Tacos de Pescado!
Restrooms are in this building to the East (customers only!)

International Bakery

Yes, we also went to International Bakery again. I do so love traditions.

pastries!

Helados Santa Fe

Apparently we were on a roll for sweets at the end of this year's Tour de Taco, so we audibled to Helados Santa Fe for a closer. I will say that if you don't mind moldy dank smells, feel free to enjoy your ice cream and pelatas inside. William G. and I ventured outdoors and commenced some kind of accidental speed eating competition to finish before our treats melted.

I enjoyed a paleta (think popsicle) of the pineapple-chile variety, and since this was also my first time having paletas... I see more of these in my future with all the interesting flavor options!

Here's what they have on tap here.

Paletas:

Arroz - Rice
Bolis
Chicle - Bubble Gum
Choco-Chip 
Coco - Coconut
Esquimales - Eskimos?
Fresa - Strawberry
Fresas c. Crema - Strawberry w. Cream
Frutas Secas - Dried Fruits?
Galleta - Cookie
Limon - Lemon
Mango c. Chile
Mango 
Mangonada
Melon
Nuez - Walnut
Pina - Pineapple
Pina c. Chile - Pineapple w. Chile
Sandia - Watermelon
Vainilla - three guesses on this one

Helados (Ice Cream):

Choco-Chip
Chongos - cinnamon and milk
Coco
Fresa
Fresas c. Crema
Fruitas Secas
Galleta
Gansito - a Mexican snack cake that's covered in chocolate and filled with strawberry & cream
Mango
Mantecado y Chocolate - Shortbread and Chocolate
Nuez
Rompope - Eggnog?
Vainilla
Zarzamora c. Queso - blackberry cheesecake?

More great informaiton on Helados here: http://www.thrillist.com/eat/chicago/avondale/the-weird-and-wonderful-flavors-of-mexican-ice-cream

Only after the fact did I remember that the OWH said this place had some kind of amazing 'bread ice cream'. Maybe that's the Mantecado y Chocolate? Maybe I can go back tomorrow?

Just writing this post has me all ready for tacos and pastries all over again! And the best part is that there are still places I haven't even tried yet. Onwards!

The exterior kind of gives you an indication of the upkeep on the interior...
Pretty cool signs greet you upon entry.
Feast your eyes on this!
Elote makes a good dessert too!
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