Yesterday when I was out buying some fancy chocolates for Father's Day, I stopped by Lilly's Taqueria, a place that rated highly on Yelp. Although I usually pack my lunch for work, I was so happy to enjoy the beautiful Friday weather and finally eat some good Mexican.
Lily's is the quintessential hole-in-the-wall taco joint. I could not believe that it was just two blocks off of the ever bourgie State Street, which is filled with expensive restaurants and designer stores. I arrived before noon, and the place was already packed. I was the only non-Latino person there, but I took that as a good sign.
I looked up on the whiteboard with my taco options: carne asada (steak), adobada (marinated pork), steamed beef, ojos (eye!), tongue, brain . . . yeah, I stuck with the asada and adobada. The tacos came out on soft tortillas with cilantro, onions, and a side of salsa verde. All for $1.35 each.
I was going to take it back to the office to eat, but since the office was about a mile away, I could not wait. I sat down at one of the folding tables on one of those chairs you would find at a church hall, and savored those little tacos. The meat was moist and flavorful, but not greasy at all, and the toppings were perfect.
At moments like these, I wonder how we got so off-track with tacos. How did the taco bell taco, with oily ground meat and covered in cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce become what we think of when we think of tacos.
[Photos courtesy of SantaBarbara.com]