So one of my white whales (I have many) is taco seasoning. Growing up in northern MN, “tacos” always meant ground beef + packet of taco seasoning. Sure you can mix in veggies, hard/soft shells, lettuce for taco salad, blah blah blah. That’s what tacos always were to me. Then I found Nacho’s.
Before I go any further, let me say that their logo does not represent the food, atmosphere, or people at Nacho’s. The site looks like an updated Don Pablo’s (greasy Ameri-Mexi food chain). Nacho’s is a small cafe run by a Mexican family that does one thing and one thing well. Namely making Mexican food like you’re in Mexico. It is, without reservation, the best Mexican street food I’ve ever had. Since I prefer blue collar street food to the gastro-nonsense consuming the world, calling it street food is a compliment. Tacos here are a corn tortilla, a protein, onion, and cilantro. Period. Don’t ask for cheese, it’s insulting to tacos (although they’re nice people and will give it to you with a smile). Nacho’s tacos are a lesson in what defines good food. Solid ingredients, simplicity, and a drop of elbow grease.
That being said, there are days when I’m running a little low on time (and elbow grease) and long for the days of my youth when tacos were only a half step removed from casserole. To that end, I’ve been searching for a good DIY spice mix that could compete with the nostalgia of a Ortega or Old El Paso. I’ve used a couple and they can do in a pinch. Last night I used this one and I’ve played with this one. But my quest continues.
Sidenote: The Alton Brown one actually got me chasing my own chili powder which I use all over the place. I’ll write something about it sometime.