Takesos y Papas: Tijuana Style Tacos go Upscale

Categories: Tijuana Sí!
Bill Esparza
Taco dulce con piña, Takesos y Papas, Tijuana

When Tacos Salceados (sauciers) appeared back in 2007--known by the locals as Tacos La Ermita (the street where it's located)--tijuanenses had no idea they'd become hosts to the coolest taqueria in the Milky Way. This is a unique street food presentation found only in Tijuana, and the envy of everyone north and south of the border who ever tried to pimp out a taco.

Every message needs some disciples and Marcos Flores--the guy that was in charge the kitchen at Tacos Salceados--is the chosen one. Marcos served as captain of the kitchen and sous chef in the line-style operation at Salceados. In the middle of 2011 he went solo and opened Takesos y Papas, taking the salceados style of tacoing with him. A year later, Flores has refined his technique, developed his own salsas, and has stayed true to his goal of delivering a fine product and service one taco at a time. He left his old gig so he could make better tacos--period.         

The Plaza Monarcha mall is a low-rent kiddie park parading as a mall, with a food court that happens to house one of the most chingon taquerias around. It's not easy to get here but well worth the trip.

The proprietary salsas and creams are important to this design of taco, which takes a northern surf 'n' turf tradition in respect to proteins and wets them with various chile, fruit, and nut salsas to impart a stewed texture more akin to the south.

Bill Esparza
Chiles güeros, Takesos y Papas

 All condiments are set out in small batches to maintain freshness, moisture, and cleanliness. The pickled vegetables are served julienne style and the Baja-style chiles güeros are blistered, seasoned and immersed in lime juice and soy sauce--they're off the charts delicious.

Bill Esparza
Taco NY con camaron, Takesos y Papas

The New York con camaron, or New York steak with shrimp is a surf and turf dream taco--you can order is with either corn tortillas, or hand rolled flour tortillas. I swing both ways. The local land and sea luxury combo sits atop a bed of melted cheese and is dressed with a bit of cream, a fan of sliced avocado, and a light salsa of chile guajillo.

Salmon seems an illogical choice given all the amazing Baja seafood products, but it's flesh is a perfect surface for a splash of cream and almond salsa.  

Bill Esparza
Taco de jalapeño, Takesos y Papas

The taco de jalapeno can be enjoyed by itself, or you can add a protein--like the rules of the street, the taco is yours to conceive--you just have to ask. The taco looks innocent enough, but a whole jalapeno with Takesos y Papas wicked salsa habanera is as deceptive as the teenage satin-jacketed girls on Av. Revolucion years ago that would offer you roses while one of them picked your pocket.

Plan for a long lunch and bring some friends to put together a taco tasting, but make sure to get the items that are unique to the salceados style of tacos. Commence engagement of salivary glands!

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