A slightly condensed version of this post appears on 219 magazine’s new Medium site.
November 24, 2014
Choza Taqueria is authentic and elegant, but too expensive for a quick grab, and not fine enough to be a destination. It serves a few other standards, such as burritos and tostadas, and a few fun treats such as ceviche and horchata, but the nine taco options are at the center of its menu.
The shredded chicken taco has the crumbly, mild cheese and sweet pineapple you’d expect. The barbacoa goes festive with cinnamon and cumin, giving it sweetness, which lingers surprisingly after the bite, but never grabs you. The pescado has the kind of elegant presentation you’d expect for four tacos at $15, with pointy slices of red onion wrapped around gobs of green mango salsa, white pickled cabbage and flecks of cheese. It is the only taco with a satisfying amount of meat, but because it’s cut as a giant chunk, it’s difficult to take a consistent bite that includes all the layers of flavor. And it was so full it dripped a bit, an attribute in its favor.
Which brings me to the chorizo taco. As a hot sauce connoisseur, I dabbed from four flavors of standard Mexican hot sauce—Cholula, Tapatio, Valentina and Yucateco. The other tacos wilted and submitted, but the chorizo taste parried every hot challenger with a new dimension, leaving blood-red grease stains on the tortillas you’d expect from such a full flavored fight. But at the price of a sit-down meal, I’d like an option for fresh hot sauce rather than store-bought standards. The room-temperature corn tortillas taste grainy and make the ingredients feel like total strangers invited to the same meal, each of which is interesting on its own, but which together taste lonely and isolated without a warm host to wrap them together.