Oh, tacos! They are one of nature’s most perfect foods. I love just about everything about them. I’m talking about authentic Mexican soft corn tacos filled with earthy meats, not the crispy fried fast food ones (although there’s nothing wrong with those, either). I just adore those soft corn tortillas, the drippy sauces, the wonderful, rich meat fillings, and little squirt of lime that cuts all the richness and balances the whole.
I am always thrilled to get my taco quota filled at Lalo’s, a fabulous ramshackle hut on South Seneca. Their tacos are big, filled to bursting, and very fresh-tasting. I ordered several the other day, to try out the different meats. Lalo’s carnitas is made of big chunks of rich-tasting pork shoulder, cooked in its own fat until tender and crispy and delicious. I had another filled with lengua—that’s beef tongue—and it was surprisingly mild in flavor, with a gentle bouncy resistance. The standout was the barbacoa, beef cooked until dark brown and tender, heated on the grill so that some of the fat crisps up, then piled on the tortillas. The barbacoa has a deep, dense flavor that really needs that lime to balance the rich beef fat.
Lalo’s has other food, and I have heard that it was all good, but I have never tried any of it. I can’t help it. Once I’m there, all I can think about are the tacos. I have seen people carrying off hefty, enormous burritos and platters of nachos, and they all look happy. Lalo’s décor is nothing to write home about, but it’s cheerful and pleasant, if none too clean. I usually order from the drive through and skip the décor entirely. Then I drive to a park and eat outside, so the pigeons can clean up the mess.