This is a Taquito tower.
These are two taquitos, spooning side by side.
And this was all that was left after the photo session.
Here’s where the story begins: I’m eight. I’m hungry. And all I want to eat is a soft taco filled with spicy meat, crispy shreds of lettuce, cheese, and sour cream.
Fast forward twenty years, and not much has changed. Except I’m taller.
As a Bay Area native, eating Tex Mex was just part of life. Like believing in Santa (even as Jew), learning how to drive, or electing celebrities as Governor.
If there was a birthday to celebrate, you better believe it was happening at Chevy’s (sombrero and freshly made tortillas included). And if you needed a quick snack after school, you were surely grabbing a burrito at Una Mas, that was probably twice the size of your stomach.
This was life. This was food. This was the Californian Tex Mex tradition.
Now that I live in San Francisco, my love for the cuisine has only increased as I am surrounded by even more amazing Mexican restaurants. You really cannot walk half a mile in this city without being blanketed by the spicy smells of chorizo, roasting peppers, or carne asada. Seriously, try it. I’m not complaining.
But alas, like most prepared food, salt is as innate as chili powder and masa. So I’ve had to give up any remnants of my childhood take-out taco fixes. Sure, making low sodium tacos at home is totally easy and always delicious. But there were some menu items, one in particular, that seemed too difficult, too special to recreate, without moving to Mexico and learning from the masters.
Por ejemplo: Taquitos. Just tiny tacos. But oh, so much more.
While on a recent olfactory urban hike, I could no longer deny the cravings of my youth. I wanted my taquitos and I wanted them now. So I grabbed some corn tortillas, ground beef, smoky spices, and I set to work.
As I always try to avoid excessive messes in the kitchen, I wanted to surpass the whole frying process. So I tried baking the little beef rolls in the oven. And it worked, perfectly. To add extra flavor and to imitate the texture of cheese, I also added sauteed shreds of zuke and avocado cream, giving each bite something stringy and luscious to complement the seared beef.
Making my taquito dreams come true was much easier than expected and in the end, they were actually much healthier than the ones that came straight out of the frier or the frozen foods box.
These low sodium tiny tacos had bite. They had spice. They had moments of silky smooth love. And most importantly, they didn’t take long to disappear.