A few years ago, all of two miles from our house, a carnicería opened up, or reopened, or was bought and reopened–something, anywat. We aren’t much for meat grilling at home, so we never had much reason to go inside.
A few *months* ago, they started advertising a new item: 99¢ tacos.
Still, for some reason, we didn’t go in.
Why? Partly suspicion: no taquería sells tacos that cheap anymore. Plus they seemed a little desperate, as they put multiple signs out all the time (sometimes employing people to wave said signs around). We’d already completed our taco quest–it’s possible that we (I) felt a little too certain about where one could find the best tacos. And all that was combined with the opening of our first local taco truck only one mile from our front door (post yet-to-come), kept us away.
Today we went inside, entering Raffa’s Carnicería Panadería Taquería #3. We found a great little shop: other customers seated inside, eating lunch (there’s a shaded outdoor seating area); a few rows of shelf-stable foods; a solid selection of produce, a gorgeous display of pastries, great ready-to-grill meats (asadas, pollos); beautiful pre-packaged freshly made tamales, salsas, guacamoles, and ceviches; and the biggest single piece of chicharrón I’ve ever seen (sorry no pic, but picture a state-fair-pig-sized piece of fried skin).
This is an easy thing to write: Raffa’s is really good. Two excellent salsas, one richly hot rojo and a nicely tangy spiced verde. The pollo: we don’t recommend-not bad, a little bland. Same with the al pastor. But those aside: the carne asada has more flavor than any other carne asada we’ve tried in the Pomona Valley area (were there some chewy/tendony bites? There were. Oh well). The chorizo was absurd: savory, spicy, grilled to a slight char. And the carnitas (which they sell by the pound) was as good as the carnitas you’ll get at Border Grill … for, again, less than a buck.
So we learn again: random little pop-up parking lot tacos … of course we should duck in immediately and try them, wherever they are, whenever we come across them. You should, too–we’ll see you there next time?