Taco love isn’t just a bad name for a ’70s funk cover band but a state of mind we all kind of exist in. In fact, it’s near cult like the way we worship these delectable creations. Don’t believe me? Currently on Instagram, there are 3.2 million public posts hashtagged #TacoTuesday. That’s just one out of the seven days in a week! Look to the straight-up #Taco to find 8 million public posts. People love going out to eat tacos, and telling everyone else that they did in fact eat those tacos, or at least had them in sight long enough to shoot a well-lit picture of them.
I’m not here to tear those warm feelings of taco joy down, nor to shame you and your love of them. Nay, I myself have been guilty of it many times. In fact, I have even tagged something as #TacoTuesday, even though it was a Monday. I believe we should celebrate these small gifts of tortilla-wrapped joy. What worth is there in a life lived, yet devoid of the small culinary celebrations we find in it? This week, we’re talking to you, our Taco Tuesday Warriors! Welcome to Taco Week!
We’ve been doing food weeks for a while, so some of you know the gist of what happens. For those out of the loop, here’s the rundown. We reach out to restaurants who then bring out their finest to help highlight some of the best our city has to offer. I eat them, Eric takes pictures, then they get all written up and put here for you to discover. But, dear sweet readers, none of this matters if you only let these tacos exist in your mind and mind alone. In the immortal words of Hollywood megastar Shia LaBeouf, “Do it, just do it! Don’t let your dreams be dreams. Yesterday you said tomorrow. So just do it! Make your dreams come true. Just! Do! It! Some people dream of success, while you’re going to wake up and work hard at it.” Assuredly, he was talking about eating tacos.
So that’s our challenge to you. Read through, learn the intricacies that makes each of these tacos wonderful and unique and then go out and find them. Treasure them. Love them. Break the mold of the standard taco Tuesday and hunt out greater goals during Weekly Alibi’s Taco Week Sept. 11 to 18. Become the victor of Taco Week! Show the great culinary minds behind these eighth wonders of the modern world that you recognize their effort and genius, and partake of the bountiful goodness that is tacos.
Find one you love far more than the others? Let us know! Tag us on social media, and be sure to use #AlibiTacoWeek to let people know you’re in on the action. Will you be able to run the gamut of these six local locales and their foodie creations? Or will you let your dreams be just dreams? Embark on a taco quest.
Eric Williams Photography
Sadie’s of New Mexico
6230 Fourth Street NW
Sadie’s of New Mexico is a staple of the community in so many different ways that it’s hard to imagine the growth of the local food culture here without their impact. Their main location, at 6230 Fourth Street NW is mind-bogglingly huge, where you can actually get lost from friends and family if you are separated. You don’t reach a location that size without doing something right, and their taco week offering is testament to that. Featuring what they call the “Taco Family,” on feature is their Taco Burger, Toni’s Taco Salad and a set of three tacos using blue corn, flour, and cornmeal tortilla shells with shredded chicken, carne adovada and refried beans, each. The papa of the meal is the taco burger, featuring three whole patties inside a massive shell covered in aged cheddar, lettuce, onion, tomato and your choice of chile. This was earnestly nearly a footlong, and one of the most insanely delicious looking taco burgers I have ever seen. The mama of the meal is Toni’s Taco Salad, which is imposing in a whole different way, based on its height and circumference. Featuring crisp iceberg lettuce served with refried beans, aged cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocados and “Billy's spicy ground beef” or shredded chicken inside a crisp flour or corn tortilla, it is a meal all on its own, fit for two easily. Add to that the three taco kids, and you have a small feast to partake in. With juicy, well-seasoned meat, fresh ingredients and a knack for flair, these are some very Instagram-worthy offerings just waiting for you to come snack and snap.
Gobble This Old Town Cafe is located exactly where they say, nestled inside Old Town itself at 308 San Felipe St. NW. Featuring fresh takes on some dishes, while offering some traditional Salvadoran fare as well (I’m looking at you, pupusas), they brought their A game to the table for Taco Week. Their taco was the carnitas taco, loaded high with red chile pulled pork with a healthy helping of pickled red cabbage, cilantro and mango pineapple habanero salsa. If you had your mouth start watering like mine just reading that, don’t forget that it comes with a side of chips and salsa pica de gallo. You might not have heard of them yet, but I promise you, in the very near future, their doors will never be shut because of the foot traffic coming through for these tacos. You’ll struggle to find complaints with anything on the menu, and this hidden gem will be the talk of the town. So before you become one of the people out of the loop and left behind on the next great thing, get yourself down there and try the carnitas taco for yourself. You’ll be a believer after your first bite. With vibrant colors, fresh and inventive ingredients plus a panache for presentation, you’ll be raking in the likes with any social media post featuring these creations.
Eric Williams Photography
407 Central Ave. NW
Everyone knows and loves Sister Bar. It’s hard not to, with a fun environment loaded with arcade machines, pinball, great music and quite frankly an almost overwhelming amount of drink choices available to you. But did you know that their kitchen is the hidden star of the whole location? Don’t believe me? Go in on a Tuesday afternoon around 5:30pm and tell me how many people you see there not eating. With a fairly extensive and bold menu featuring an impressively high quality standard for bar food, you’ve got a guaranteed good meal ahead of you. Featured with us is their fried avocado taco, created exquisitely with avocado, cucumber, radish, green onion, pickled onion and a vegan chipotle crema. The delicate but crunchy shell around the avocado gives way to a burst of that creamy smooth texture and robust avocado flavor that us millenials can’t seem to get enough of. Add to that the combination of colorful and fresh veggies that help round out the profile of the avocado and a hint of that vegan chipotle crema to finish, and you have what feels like the most decadent taco you can find. So what are you waiting for? Get down there, grab a pint of your old favorite, order some tacos and capture that cool snake sculpture made of branches in the background to add that “influencer” vibe to your next social media blast of taco love.
My love for Dia De Los TaKos is already well established from my review of them a while back, but a good reiteration of these things is always worthwhile. Combining flavors in bold and inventive ways to create a culinary experience unlike anything you’ve ever tried before is not a new concept to them, and soon enough, it won’t be to you either. With a trio of tasty tacos on feature, you’ll find one that definitively suits your needs. First off we have the Cali Convertible, featuring fresh beer-battered white fish, a Baja slaw and cilantro crema. Crispy exterior, light and fluffy interior, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. In some cases, less is more, and the ingredients all work in harmony to create a taco that brings a relaxing day at the beach to mind. Next on the menu is the Grandpa’s Pick-Up Taco, featuring confit pork carnitas topped with salsa rojo, guacamole, onion and cilantro. An added bonus is that this tender taco is also gluten-free. Finally, we have the Electric Bike Taco, if meats aren’t your style. Crafted with sweet crispy potato, creamy house cashew cheese, Jerusalem salad and guacamole, this is the kind of flavor combination you want in all vegan dishes. Bold, unafraid and reminiscent of something you feel you’ve been lacking in your life but could never quite put your finger on. With a visually appealing interior, you’ll have no trouble framing the perfect background to accompany your equally appealing tacos for your next digital declaration.
Eric Williams Photography
400 Central Ave. SW
If you’ve been following our food weeks for the last year, you’ll notice one consistency: Brixens. They’re a Downtown favorite that is passionate about food and drink, and deserving of your attention. This round, they brought out a whole combo. Featuring a soft fish taco and a crispy brisket taco along with their wine topped margarita, it’s definitely a whole experience. First off, the fish taco uses sustainably caught cod with a citrus marinade. With that, you also get their special house three-cheese blend, featuring sharp cheddar, smoked provolone and mozzarella, with their corn and black bean salsa, freshly crumbled cotija cheese and a healthy serving of guacamole. The cod is light and flaky, with a really fresh flavor and the gentle tones of citrus highlight the good qualities of the cod. The crunchy brisket taco is a beast of its own, featuring the same cheese and salsa, but the brisket itself is the real star. It’s a red chile coffee-braised brisket that has some serious heft to it. It leaves a nice, soothing heat at the back of your throat, and the coffee notes are subtle but when they pronounce themselves, it’s absolutely eye opening. Finish those tacos off with the Sunset Park margarita, which is a traditional margarita with a layer of wine, Cabernet Sauvignon specifically, on top, and you have one of the most interesting combos on the list. With their carefully crafted interior, you’ll have no shortage of popping backgrounds to use to bring out the wild colors and sights of these tacos for your social announcements.
Many of us have incredibly fond memories of Garduño’s, who have been a staple of our community for a long time. Their location at Hotel Albuquerque continues to uphold that standard of quality and environment, especially the margaritas, which are arguably the best in the city. This food week, they brought the best of the best, with their tacos al pastor. This pork is simmered in a sweet and spicy pineapple sauce, then topped with cabbage and grilled pineapple chunks. These tacos were so damn good, we had to have a second helping after the first round. The sweetness of the pineapple and the salty notes on the pork made for something that was so delectable and enjoyable, you would be the biggest liar in the city if you said you weren’t enjoying yourself while eating them. An absolutely solid set of colors and tastes, you’ll find these are the perfect mix of presentation and digestibility. With their gorgeous patio, the final rays of fading summer sun before fall is here and your taco/margarita combo laid out, you’ll have no problem creating the wonder shot for your Facebook and Instagram profiles, highlighting that you were involved in the consumption of some of Albuquerque’s best tacos.