Recently, I’ve been craving tacos.
Between June and September (2012), I’ve traveled through Hong Kong, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Singapore, New Zealand, and Australia. I’ve had the great privilege of eating inexpensive and out-of-this-world Asian food including Chinese (Cantonese), Himalayan, Indian, Nepalese, Thai, and Vietnamese. I continue to eat, and I still want more.
But occasionally, the memory of visiting friends in Ciudad de México (México City) surfaces, and I think of tacos.
I needs the tacos.
On my final night in the city, Eva and I are out at a concert, but we leave before the end of the gig for the promise of late-night tacos. We’re going to a taco-place she frequented in her youth as an out-late after-party place for food in the early-morning hours.
Just before 4am, we arrive at Taquería Brasil Copacabana in Delegación (the borough of) Coyoacán.
There are some ten or so tables around, but there are only a couple of people eating when we enter.
Bright fluorescent lights illuminate the cafeteria-like restaurant with a familiar cold glare. Decades’ old tables and chairs are scattered throughout the place, sitting on tired scratchy linoleum floors. There are more staff than customers; a couple of staff with hairnets are lingering about in quiet but animated conversation.
It’s absolutely perfect: it’s exactly the kind of place I had hoped to visit, and one I know only the locals would go for their taco fix.
As Eva describes the “hole-in-the-wall”:
… The name “Taquerías Brasil Copacabana” comes from the original location in Villa Coapa (in the Federal District or state of Mexico City). The place used to be a double cinema called “Brasil” and “Copacabana”. The cinemas closed down, and a bunch of small taco stands (carts) began popping up in the evenings. Over time, the taco stands became popular. Eventually, someone bought the entire place, cleverly converted it all into a single taco eatery, and decided to keep the name.
Tacos al pastor has been described as the Mexican version of döner kebab, but with porky goodness. Tender seasoned melt-in-your-mouth pork is fried on a metal grill right in front of you, and the pork is served hot, enveloped lovingly within heated soft taco wraps. Bottles containing sauces of varying evil and spice await your taco devouring needs. Alternatively, I ask for “alambre de pastor” complete with grilled onions and peppers and a layer of melted cheese for that stick-in-your-stomach soak-up-the-beer goodness.
But I’m also here for tacos de lengua, or tacos with beef tongue. It’s not something many would entertain, but I know it’s commonly served here, and I’ve had beef tongue before. While tonight’s tacos de lengua is downright delicious, my preference of the three choices tonight would be the “simpler” tacos al pastor.
When everyone in the room nods at my eating pleasure, I know I’ve done exactly the right thing. And I know I’ve done right by them, too. It’s a perfect way to end a fantastic week in México City with Eva and her family.
I made the photos above with a 4th-generation iPod Touch on 10 March 2012. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.