Lately I have been obsessed with fish tacos.
There's something about the intricate balance of flavor and texture
the delicate fish,
the earthy tortilla,
the crisp slaw,
the tangy sauce and
the bright note of cilantro
that fascinates me and reassures me that every time I bite into one of this angelic creations, it will surely be just a little bit different than any fish taco I have ever eaten before.
During my trip to Mexico, I decided to challenge myself not only eat fish tacos every day but also to rate them and choose the winner. Here's how my eats stacked up.
Day One: Las Palomas at the resort
Pros: After a long day of travel, I was starving, and ready to eat a caballo. The fried fish was crisp, the slaw was tangy.
Cons: No cilantro. What.
Day 2: Herradero at the marina
Pros: Fresh caught sea bass. Crisp slaw. I tucked the orange garnish from my plate into my taco and went straight to heaven. Fresh pico de gallo and possibly handmade tortillas (note rips and tears).
Cons: There were only three tacos. I could have eaten eight.
Day 3: Las Palomas served poolside.
Pros: Even when served outside, the warm components were still warm and the cool components were still cool. The chipotle sauce was sassy and bold.
Cons: Breaded fish. I prefer unbreaded.
Day 4: The Bistro at Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach
Pros: No but that cilantro. So much. And so good. Fresh red snapper.
Cons: Sauteed vegetables and rice missed the mark. Uninspired salsa.
Day 5: Las Palomas served poolside again
Pros: For the third time in a row, this kitchen managed to serve the fish warm, and the slaw cool, even under the unforgiving Mexican sun. And I could drink that chipotle sauce straight from the cup.
Cons: The guacamole is wasted on me (I can't eat avocado), and the refried beans heavy and tasteless. I would have gladly traded it all in for a fourth taco.
Day 6: Wahoo's Fish Tacos at LAX
Pros: Delicate and pretty little tortillas with a pleasing proportion of filling to wrap. Beautiful colors and presentation, albeit in a styrofoam clamshell.
Cons: The flavor notes were bland and muddled. And what's up with just two tacos? I consider a trio of fish tacos to be gospel.
* * * * *And the winner of my South of the Border Taco Challenge?
My Day Two plate at Herrado, served by an adorable waiter I nicknamed Baby Lupe and threatened to bring him home as a Mexican groom for one of my (unsuspecting) daughters. He was handsome and polite and funny and thoughtful and brought us endless Mexican Cokes on ice and this amazing dish of pineapple ice cream as well.
He promised us this dessert would be to die for, and said that if we didn't like it, he'd eat it for us.
So huzzah to Herrado Restaurant and our own Baby Lupe and to delicious fish tacos everywhere!