Last night in honor of Cinco de Mayo, I took the opportunity to visit the local for some authentic carne asada and all the trappings. It was my first time there and I was thoroughly impressed.
Large, clean and conducive to extensive shopping for cultural goodies, the aisles boasted everything from tamarind candies and caramel disks to dulce de leche, fresh produce and sweet breads. The coolers offered various kinds of Mexican beer including my favorite Negro Modelo.
A line of fellow revelers looking for their marinated meats of choice joined me at the butcher counter. When asked for citrus-soaked beef for eight, the butcher handed me a large aluminum tub full of orange scented flank steak topped with piles of sliced white onions and cilantro. Our order of guacamole was made fresh as we waited. We opted for all four salsa options and bought our own ripe jalapenos to roast for some pickled cabbage slaw.
There's no way I would have received the same amounts of meat in ratio to price at a regular grocery store and it surely wouldn't have been marinated with the same sense of care that caused the tacos later to sing with sweet scents and tender beef.
I want to go back now on a regular Saturday morning with an hour to spare and really get to know what other gems are hiding there like the large rocky piles of oysters on ice, the fresh white fish ceviche and the homemade nopales cactus salad.
I have a feeling my barbecues will never be the same.