The sign outside says "Real Mexican Food". The atmosphere inside says "the sign is probably right".
I have driven by this sign countless times, and every time I pass it I lick my lips. I love "real" Mexican food. Alright, I'll admit that the "real" part can be a hard distinction to make. There is indigenous pre-Spanish Mexican food. There is regional Mexican food. There are a lot of different types of Mexican food. I suppose the best way I can describe what I mean by "real" is a complete and utter lack of neon yellow cheese whiz. That, I promise you, is not even real food...Mexican or not.
The interior was bright and cheery. Modelo banners hung overhead and a soccer game was on the tube. The place was packed at lunch on Sunday, and although I didn't take a poll, I can pretty safely assume that Nick and I were the only people there that weren't fluent in Spanish.
As I perused my menu, which was entirely in Spanish, I patted myself on the back for recognizing beef tongue, and then glanced at my hubby expecting to see him with a furrowed brow, deciphering the menu along with me. But there was no furrowed brow. Instead he had made his decision and was sipping he beer and watching the soccer game on the tv above my head. His menu was in English. I swiftly switched menus and made my decision.
The hubby ordered a beef tongue taco, a pork taco and a tamale. I also ordered a tamale and a roast pork tostada.
I adore tamales, and I adored these tamales. They were topped with crema and oaxaca cheese. They were rich in flavor yet light in texture. It's tough to make a tamale that isn't overly dense, so when I sink my teeth into a tender, moist tamale that isn't gummy, I'm happy.
Nick's tacos were fantastic as well. His beef tongue taco (a favorite of his) was melt in your mouth tender. It was topped simply with chopped onion, cilantro and perhaps a bit of lime and was served atop two warm corn tortillas. The rich tongue contrasted with the bright cilantro wonderfully...I guess that's why it's such a tried and true preparation.
The pork on my tostada stole the whole show. It was amazing. There were flecks of crispy skin amidst hunks of just fatty enough roast pork. The pork was roll your eyes back in your head good...serious porky goodness.
The price was right. The bill totaled $15 with the addition of a few Modelos. The service was punctual and friendly.
This is the type of place I love finding. The building itself isn't flashy...honestly, it's anything but. The prices aren't high. The food is amazing. And there is even a small grocery store attached that sells things like dried corn husks for tamales.
I think that all too often people overlook little gems like La Tapatia. I'm glad we didn't.
P.S. Next time I go (and there WILL be a next time) I'm going to try one of their tortas and perhaps a bowl of whatever sopa they have that day. Mexican soup and sandwich lunch!