Friday, January 27, 2017

Tacos El Gordo

Three years ago today, we were out in sunny, warm Vegas (at least it was warmer than here). We spent the day at Red Rock Canyon, and then for dinner, headed over to one of our must-stop places in Vegas, Tacos El Gordo, just past the Wynn and Encore on the Strip. We had been there before on our first trip to Vegas together (that's where the daytime photo comes from), but since we never wrote about that visit, we're recapping them both here together.

When we first went to Tacos El Gordo back on our 2012 trip, we didn't know much about them except that they were a branch of a Tijuana taco chain, that the tacos were good, and that we should try the adobada. Adobada is basically pork in a red chile marinade that they cook on a rotating spit. For the tacos, they just shave the meat off the spit and add on some pineapple if you want. In addition to seeing the meat on the spit, much of the other cooking is pretty much out in the open at Tacos El Gordo too, so you can see them cooking all sorts of other meats from their diverse menu, everything ranging from beef brains to pork stomach.

The focus at Tacos El Gordo is obviously tacos, but they also had varieties of fries, as well as quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, and more. They also had a drink machine separate from the regular soda machine that made A very happy because it had horchata along with other aguas frescas.

We were really hungry the first time we went to Tacos El Gordo. We were having a late lunch and we had just walked all the way from the MGM Grand to get tacos, so we ordered a lot. Way more than we should have. We didn't take notes back then so unfortunately I don't remember exactly what tacos we got or every ingredient, but each taco came with a different salsa and toppings (mostly onion and cilantro) based on what type of taco it was. We also remembered to order a plate on the side of the grilled spring onions and peppers which were really tasty.

As for the tacos, I know we got adobada and lengua, and I can see that there was also an azteca (nopal asado) on the tray. I remember there was a taco de sesos (beef brain) because A tried it for the first time on that trip and we have video, but I'm not sure what other tacos made it on the tray. For his first time eating brains, he found them kind of creamy and having an odd mineral-like flavor, but didn't dislike it. It wouldn't have been his first choice for another one, but it wasn't bad.

We liked the adobada taco so much that we got more even though we had just eaten seven tacos between the two of us. The marinated pork was just so good, and the second time, we remembered to get it with the pineapple on top which made it even better. We probably would have gotten another lengua taco also, as we really liked that one too, but we just had so much food at lunch that there wasn't any stomach space. And why did we have no stomach space?

Because, in our hunger and with eyes definitely bigger than our stomachs, we also got an order of adobada fries. To be fair to us, we didn't know that they were going to come in a container that large, but we really should have guessed it since they were $10 (this was 4+ years ago, so no idea what it is now) and at the time, each taco was only around $2. They were basically fries covered in shaved pork, cheese, sour cream, and guacamole in a large styrofoam take-out container. So good, but so much food. We were so stuffed when we left Tacos El Gordo, yet somehow we still rolled ourselves into a Vegas buffet that night since it was our only chance to do so. Maybe not the best planning and maybe not wise, but we did it.

We were a bit more sensible on our second trip to Tacos El Gordo, this time for dinner on this date three years ago. We got seven tacos again - mostly concentrating on adobada, lengua, and chorizo - along with the grilled vegetables, but this time we did not get the fries. It was a much smarter decision. The tacos were just as good as we remembered them, so much flavor, and still so affordable. 

Tacos El Gordo is on our list for any Vegas visit, and we would love to go back again for some more tacos. We're a little upset with ourselves that we forgot that they also have a branch in San Diego and only remembered after we got back home, because we could have gotten some more tasty tacos last fall. There are good taco spots in NY now, more as time goes on, but we still plan to return to Tacos El Gordo on our trips.

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