Driving home from my sister’s place this afternoon I decided that I needed tacos.  Not the awful excuse for tacos that Taco Bell serves, real tacos.  The kind that my dreams are made of.  The first time I had fish tacos was in Mexico and we were at this tiny hole in the wall restaurant where you walk up and the friendly dude who owns it runs out and asks where you want to sit and you point at a spot in the beach and he grabs a plastic table and sets you up right there.   A few folding chairs later and you are good to go.  We ordered “the best of what you have” and ended up with a spread of some of the freshest most fragrant fish and seafood dishes I have ever eaten.  And lots of beers and tequila.  It was amazing and beautiful with the ocean splashing only feet away and the twinkle of the lights and the sound of strange Mexican radio in the background and the fish tacos.  The fish tacos that changed my life and haunt my dreams and are the measuring stick I hold for each fish taco I have eaten since.  And not one has come even close.  Every time we go out and there are tacos on the menu I look at James and say “Think I will like these?” and he gets this pained expression on his face and tenderly tries to tell me that they may be great, damn near perfect even, but they won’t measure up.  And they never do.  The taco of my dreams has the freshest fish, tender and flaky and seasoned with the sweet but spicy seasoning that only Mexico can deliver, a soft and warm tortilla, a great heaping pile of freshly sliced cabbage or lettuce tossed in some tangy bite of vinaigrette, fresh tomatoes, a touch of spicy peppers and a heap of fresh cilantro.  When I say a heap, I mean a heap.

Honestly I have tried to recreate these many times, and although nothing can quite reach that level, I do feel the need to keep trying.  So today I decided to haul the cranky Little Chef in to Safeway to get the ingredients for these beauties.  It was late afternoon, and usually the worst time of day to even hope for the firetruck cart but low and behold there it was, in all its grubby splendor.  I tossed him in to “drive” and zipped through to get the things I needed.  Little Chef enjoyed the firetruck cart for about 12 minutes until he decided that his grumpy attitude was in fact still in full force and decided to throw himself from the moving vehicle and cause a scene.  If you have never been the mom in the store with the wailing toddler, I do not expect you to understand but I implore you to cut her some slack.  It is brutal.  A wailing 30lb child twisting and wriggling and doing everything in their rage fuelled power to get away from the meanest mommy ever.  At this particular moment Little Chef decided the only way he could be happy was grabbing every pack of instant rice off of the shelves and dump it in the chocolate bar display.  And of course meanest mommy ever said this was not acceptable behaviour and locked the poor dear in the cart seat {told you she was the worst}.  He proceeded to wail at the top of his lungs and attract the attention of every shopper in the place.  By the time we left I was ready to hand him to the nearest stranger and say “Congrats, here have an angry baby.”  Thankfully I still had some scrap of sense and put him in my Jeep instead.

Angry Little Chef

Once home he was only content to help me create my epic taco feast.  And surprisingly he was quite efficient at pulling cilantro leaves off the stalks.  Then it was into the sink and he “washed” dishes for a good hour before James came home.  Despite the cranky baby attitude my taco spread turned out really well.  I took red cabbage and sliced it thin and marinated it in vinegar, lime juice, sugar and salt until it was tangy, marinated some prawns in lime zest, lime juice, spices and a touch of sugar, chicken baked and then shredded in sundried tomato, chili, and chicken stock, black beans baked in sweet and saucy marinade and lots of fresh toppings.  I also made a nice combo of sliced tomatoes, garlic with just a hint of salt pepper and oil.  The tomatoes I got during our hectic shopping trip were on the vine cherry tomatoes that clearly had actually been ripened on the vine because they smelled like the sweet sun kissed tomatoes from the garden.  If you are thinking “tomatoes don’t smell like anything” then you have not had off the vine tomatoes.  Because they have a distinct smell that makes my heart sing.

Taco toppings

Little Chef eating tacos

The end result was a beautiful taco feast that Little Chef and James were happy to enjoy with me.  See some of these pregnancy cravings really do pay off for them.  It’s a nice balance for dealing with the weeping and mood swings.  Too bad I could not wash it down with a frosty beer or a tequila shot…

tacos yum

4 Comment

  1. These are some of the most beautiful tacos I’ve ever seen…Cravings, activated! It’s only 10am and I’m seriously considering taco-based second breakfast

    1. Taco breakfast seems like a great idea!

  2. These are some of the most beautiful tacos I’ve ever seen…Cravings, activated! It’s only 10am and I’m seriously considering taco-based second breakfast

    1. Taco breakfast seems like a great idea!

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