I am as white as they come.
Growing up in the rural midwest, my experiences with real Mexican food started late. Those of you in SoCal (as the kids call it) will laugh at my inexperience with legit tacos. I’ve only had the chance to get LA tacos on a few occasions and was absolutely blown away at how cheap and good they are. That is why I am so happy Vegas has started to get some great options, the best of which seems to be Taco Y Taco.
This place is streamlined for high volume like you wouldn’t believe. 3 separate lines for tacos/vampiro/tostadas, each one with different meats. I had to visit all 3 lines and 3 different people, which is kind of weird when I was the only person there at the time, but it took less than 90 seconds to get all the food. There’s a huge salsa/sauce bar in the middle of the restaurant, and one man was very angry he was unable to take salsa home with him for free.
After having an insanely good vampiro (open faced taco on a crispy tortilla with cheese sauce) in my last LA trip I decided to get another one here and see how it measured up. I ended up with a carne asada vampiro and cochinita pibil, al pastor, and carnitas tacos.
I decided to only grab some extra limes from the salsa bar to see how they dress it when they ask “with everything?” and I respond with a reverent nod. The answer:
Whereas the LA tacos I had came with basically just meat and tortilla and you were expected to sprinkle on your extras, the array of salsas and toppings for these tacos were such that they were an absolutely explosion of flavor in your mouth. Tangy, acidic, crunchy onions and peppery cilantro. The pork marinade and spices shone through extremely well and everything mixed together into this absolutely incredible few bites of happiness.
All of the above food and a drink came out to only $14, which for the size of the tacos (folding them up resulted in some of the filling to spill out, a problem rectified by me eating it anyway) is super reasonable. Most mere humans would be completely satisfied by this amount of food. The vampiro taco, with its two tortilla sandwich appearance, was incredibly messy to eat but even at $4 was a remarkable deal since the amount of filling seemed to be 2 or 3 times as much as each taco had. The cheese seemed to be just melted cheese rather than a coherent sauce and the carne asada was clearly the weakest of the 4 meats I decided to try, but it was still delicious.
I feel like carne asada falls into the trap of being the “safe choice” for gringos at taco places and they don’t want to do too much to it because they know it’s going to sell extremely well no matter what, so I was disappointed that I chose that meat for the vampiro because I felt like it handicapped it.
I don’t like bias. I rectified it.
Pibil vampiro numero uno.
Go here yesterday.
Taco Y Taco
9470 S Eastern Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89123
3430 E Tropicana Ave, Las Vegas, NV 89121
Open til 10PM on weekdays, 12AM or 2 AM on weekends depending on location.