The Spice of Life

1200329002For a mid-week dinner rendezvous with a friend last week, I suggested La Verdad, the Ken Oringer taqueria I had heard so much about but had never gotten around to trying.

“Oh. You want Mexican tonight?” my friend asked, batting her eyelashes innocently enough. “You mean, like Taco Bell?”

Oh, the humanity!

I have a somewhat unhealthy obsession with Mexican food. It’s like a stormy romance, reallydashed by one too many servings of rubbery tortilla shells and bland refried beans, only to be reignited by a truly inspired taco.

But sadly, so many people near and dear to me don’t touch the stuff. I would venture that it’s mostly a result of never experiencing the true bold flavors of Latin American cooking, and in some cases, never even giving it a try in the first place. In my dining partner’s case, it was the former. It turns out the closest she’d ever come to a burrito was that ubiquitous fast food joint of chalupa fame. So I was more than thrilled when she cordially agreed to “try something new.”

So how was La Verdad? Magnifico. The grilled corn ($4.95), sprinkled generously with tangy cojita cheese crumbles and served with tiny lime wedges for extra zing, was packed with char grilled flavor and was plenty creamy. And I couldn’t imagine a better fish taco. ($12). This one was bright and spicy from the addition of chipotle mayonesa. Muy bien, indeed, and certainly not Taco Bell. Now if only I could get my Mexican-crazed mother to try Vietnamese.