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Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Taqueria Jaas Light, Hermosillo, Sonora: Carne Asada's Lightweight World Champ
I have been a regular commuting customer of Taqueria Jaas Light since around 2002; they've been the place for carne asada tacos in Hermosillo since they first opened back in 1987. I'm there doing shows at least a couple of times a year, in Hermosillo, Sonora, where the greatest carne asada tradition in Mexico can be savored.
Carne asada is everywhere in Hermosillo, from the grand parrilladas to to taquerias to street stands marked by small chimneys atop their grills. It's all done with local beef from Angus steers and has to be roasted over mesquite. This is northern tradition.
At 6PM, the desert air rings with sounds of testosterone driven banda music and the scent of searing meat becomes a component of the atmosphere. That's when Jaas Light begins the steady stream of tacos that doesn't cease 'til almost 4AM. This is where the band goes after the show, to check out the attractive Sonoran women, and have amazing carne asada.
Sonoran women are famous in Mexico for their beauty, and they are everywhere here, so much that it overwhelms the senses. At the palenque(multi-purpose arena)they are stunning in pink and baby-blue cowgirl hats, boots, and tight Brazilian jeans singing along with their favorite hits while waving diva hands in the air--it must be the carne asada!
A team of professional and apprentice taqueros tend to the business of tacoing.
The house blend of Angus New York steak, top sirloin, and chuck are cut and trimmed prior to cooking. Blending allows for tremendous flavor and keeps the taco economical. Sonoran beef is sought after in top restaurants from Baja to Mexico City.
Sonorans love a plenteous salsa bar; here you'll find chilled cucumber and radishes, various salsas and guacamole, but be one must try the local heat:chiltepin.Chiltepin chiles are BB-sized balls of dried chile with a rattle of seeds inside that bring stinging heat that rides just below this chiles bold flavor.
The menu at Jaas Light gathers the local taco stylings of Sonora. You can start off with a carne asada taco, but it would be a shame to stop there.Request flour tortillas, they are the natural pairing for steak tacos.
Th pellizcada is a unique member of the taco family. A sope(masa disc) is covered with melted cheese and carne asada, finished with the usual toppings. An icing of fresh guacamole wets this hardy, gooey stag of the taco kingdom. This taco needs no explanation; it's a greatest flavor hits compilation.
The lorenza is the Sonoran version of the Sinaloan vampiro, a toasted-until-bone-dry tortilla covered with molten-cheese and the tri-steak blend.
The caramelo(caramel)is a flow of local cheese inside a flour tortilla with the house steak combination.
The marquee taco is the Taco Light, the proprietary blend of steak wrapped in a lettuce leaf, if you feel so inclined, but the Taco Jaas is the showstopper, a taco that has made its way to Tijuana under the nome de taco of the taco hass.A roasted anaheim chile, melted cheese, and Jaas's signature carne asada will seem familiar in concept, but this is all quality product and cookery.
Carne asada shines at Jaas Light, grass-fed steak, simply seasoned with coarse salt, and tenderized by the craft of polished taqueros.
This taqueria is the undisputed lightweight world champion of carne asada, a lighter charge into Sonoran steak culture. A few taco Lights and you'll still be ready to take on the heavyweights, the local parrilladas. Ladies and Gentlemen...let's get ready to taco, Sonoran style.
Ignacio Mariscal #23 Esq. Gomez Farias