The “Tell” of a good Rocky Point Taco Stand
One of the greatest smells has to be the carne asada cooking on the grill as you enter Mexico. It even smells better at night because that’s when most of the taco stands start preparing for their dinner and late-night crowds. The smell of carne asada is on par to the smell of a beach fire. The two always bring a smile to my face because I know good times are near…or great food is.
With so many taco stands in Rocky Point how does one choose? Do you want tacos de carne asada, al pastor, birria, cabeza, lengua? Tacos! Tacos! Tacos! I think most taco stands serve the standard – tacos de carne asada (beef tacos) so do they all taste the same? No way! Those who have been here enough times have no doubt found their favorites, but how do you spot a good taco stand if you’ve never been to Rocky Point before? I’ll let you in on a little trick that will work anywhere in Mexico and it’s definitely true in Rocky Point…look for the taco stands with the most locals. And by that I mean the most “locals”, not foreigners. We are creatures of habit. We have our favorite taco stands and that’s where we go time after time. Sure, we may try a new one on a friend’s recommendation, but we will always go back to our favorites. If you eat early in the day, finding a taco stand by my method above may be tricky as most don’t open until the early evening, but there are some that open for lunch and the good ones are packed – just as the good restaurants are. Some taco stands, like my all time favorite, Chuy’s Tacos, was SRO most of the time…ahhh, but they were worth waiting for. You can’t really go wrong with a beef taco, but some stands just have that extra touch that makes them better whether it’s their condiments, homemade tortillas or the way they grill their carne asada – whatever it is they make you want to return time and time again. Just because there is a big taco stand with gimmicky stuff across the street side does not mean they have the best tacos. Take a look inside to see how many patrons they have and check at different times of the day – also check whether the majority of the crowd is locals or foreigners. You want to eat where the Mexican’s eat – that’s the secret.
Some of my favorite taco stands have been vans parked on the side of the street or little tiny places surrounded by chain link that, if you blink, you will miss it. Great taco stands pop up everywhere and you can always ask a local for a recommendation. Tell them what kind of taco you are looking for and no doubt they will point you to their favorite.
A few things to watch out for when you are dining on our local fare:
- Make sure the meat is not cooked openly in a heavy traffic area. Vehicle tires kick up all kinds of debris and dust from the street including animal waste and trash. Ick.
- Same with condiments. Make sure they arrive to you fresh and cold. Condiments left on the table are susceptible to the same crap floating in the air not to mention the hands that have been there before yours.
- The person who cooks your food is not the one who handles the money. My favorite hot dog guy cooks the dogs and his son takes the money. The cook never touches the dirty money.
- Follow these guidelines and you should have no problems finding your new favorite taco stand and you won’t be sick after you eat – unless you eat too many as I always do.