Monday, January 11, 2010

Ay Jalisco

The Location: Ay Jalisco, Jefferson Blvd

The Taco: One each of carnitas, carne asada and al pastor (not pictured)

The Price: $1.89/each

The Verdict: Ay Jalisco has been tempting us from its location just off the freeway in West Sacramento for years, and we've been meaning to stop by to check it out. After reader AJ wrote in to recommend it, we knew it had to get bumped to the top of the list. I tried one each of the carne asada, carnitas and al pastor tacos. Each one was topped with a traditional onion and cilantro mix with a little salsa thrown in for good measure.

The carnitas tasted fine but was nothing special.  It seemed to essentially be shredded pork without that extra bit of chewy caramelized texture that good carnitas should have.  The carne asada was tasty with a good marinated flavor that wasn't overwhelming.  Of the three my favorite was the al pastor.  Typically al pastor is served thinly sliced, similar to a gyro, but in this case it came chopped into small cubes.  The flavor of the marinade (which is really the key to al pastor) came through nicely, with a good spice that wasn't too strong.

Overall, I rate this as a respectable three and a half stars.

The Rating: ★★★ ½ (out of 5)

Taqueria Ay Jali on Urbanspoon

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grilled Pork Tacos


We made some home-made pork tacos the other night, taken from a recipe at Culinary Grace Notes. The recipe calls for home-made guacamole and pineapple salsa, but I decided to forego that in favor of The Trader Joe's versions of each. A big time saver, and the TJ's versions are delicious enough. A squeeze of fresh lime across the top, and these are ready to go.

The marinade recipe is rather long, but it only takes about 15 minutes and a quick zip in the blender, then marinate for a couple of hours (original recipe calls for only one hour, but I say the longer the better) and throw the meat on the grill. I ended up charring the meat a little too much, but despite that these tacos were delicious. We threw the toppings inside some Chipotle tortillas from La Tortilla Factory (via Raley's) for an easy dinner. If I was rating my own cooking, these would earn 4½ stars, although I do tend to grade myself on a curve.