In preparation for a Muay Thai fight, I have been on a diet the past few weeks, and have enjoyed some pretty good results. The beauty of the diet I am on, is that it allows a cheat day once a week. The cheat day actually encourages you to go absolutely bonkers for 14 hours each week.
There is some science behind it, but that is fodder for another post.
I have been craving tacos the past few weeks, so I decided to organize a Tacothon.
The promise behind the Tacothon was to root out the BEST tacos in Salt Lake City.
I invited a few friends along, (Many of them are MMA Fighters or Muay Thai students) and this is what we found:
I wanted to begin the day with 'Fast Food' tacos. We have all been there … late at night, hunger strikes … waddya gunna do? There is nothing tastier after a night of drinking than a few tacos … that is if you can get through the drive through without getting into fist fight with other late night Taco Lovers.
I should point out that we conducted this Tacothon on a Sunday (My designated CHEAT DAY). Taco Time, as well as many other highly recognized Taco places, were closed on the Sabbath.
I picked up a party pack from both Taco Bell and Del Taco.
I went to my gym, where I met up with my fellow Tacothaners and ate some tacos.
It was nice to see some of them, as I have not been the most social person the past few months as I have been recovering from knee surgery.
We busted open the party packs and brave them a try. The Taco Bell Party pack had 12 tacos in it, and cost just over $ 15.00. The Del Taco had 10 tacos, but was almost half the price.
The Del Taco tacos were literally the the size of Taco Bell's though and failed miserably on the taste test.
Taco Bell wins by a unanimous decision.
Next, we decided to try out the famous Taco Trucks that so many people talk about on State Street in downtown Salt Lake City.
There are two in the Sears parking lot at 800 South State Street, and two one block South at 900 South State Street.
The first one we visited faces South (Toward 800 South) in the Sears Parking lot. Compared to the 'Fast Food' we had just indulged in, it was Heaven on Earth. Very tasty tacos, and cost $ 1.00 apiece.
The other faces East (Toward State Street). We asked each to serve us their best Taco. This truck recommended the Cabeza, and it did not disappoint. VERY tender meat, and super delicious … VERY GOOD!
The third truck we visited Faces East (Toward State Street) on 900 South. They were just OK. By far, the worst of the four trucks we visited.
The final truck we visited faced South on 900 South. We have a winner. These were some of the tastiest tacos I have ever tasted. Hands down the winner of the Taco Trucks. The name of the truck is El Rey Del Taco. Give them a try.
All of the trucks were consistent on price. They all charged $ 1.00 per taco, served them on small soft tortillas, and had a similar array of condiments. The El Rey Del Taco also had the best salsa of the four trucks we visited.
If you are hankering for a taco, and do not want to deal with the hassle of going to a restaurant, check out the Taco Trucks downtown. Try the different trucks for yourself. At a buck a taco, you can not go wrong.
As I mentioned before, we made our Taco Adventure on Sunday, so many of the places that were recommended to us were not open. As far as I'm concerned, you do not deserve a mention if you do not serve on Sunday anyway.
The first restaurant we visited was Taqueria 27. They have two locations, but we visited the downtown location. It was very clean and upscale. Had a very professional wait staff, and a good selection of tacos and drinks.
I had Bloody Maria, which was super good, and the Duck Confit Taco, which was recommended by our waiter. It was a very tasty taco, and I fully understand what all the fuss is about. I really liked this place, and would recommend you give it a try.
The second restaurant we visited did not serve alcohol, and was more of a traditional Mexican restaurant. It was named Taqueria El Rey De Oros. There were a lot of families there, and none of them were speaking English. The tacos were, in my opinion the second best tacos we ate at restaurants … very good! I enjoyed a Crema Churro there as well, that was out of this world.
Next we went right up the street to Red Iguana 2. We tried to make a reservation at these restaurants as we had 13 people in our group, and did not want to be too much of an impossition on the wait staff. We were told they did not take reservations when we called on the phone.
Upon arriving at Red Iguana 2, we saw a lot of people waiting to get in. When we approached the hostess, we were told it would be a 20-25 minute wait.
We decided it would be worth the wait, so we went to the back of the restaurant to the bar and ordered some drinks. I told the manager what we were doing, and asked if it would be possible to just have 13 tacos brought out to us at the bar, and we would not make them set a table for all of us. He told us that would be impossible, we would have to wait for our table. There was a large table that was vacant, and I asked him about it. He said it had been reserved by another group. (I thought they did not take reservations ???)
An hour and a half later, we finally got separated. It took another half an hour before we got our drinks. By that time, most of our group was tired, and had lost the mojo to finish the Tacothon. Red iguana 2 was a complete BUZZ KILL, and frankly their food was average at best. It was bottom of the list as far as tacos went, but some of that might have been a result of the bad taste we all had in our mouths by the way they lied to us about a 20-25 minute wait that ended up being 2 hours, and the fact that we were unable to reserve a table, while others could.
In a complete contrast to Red Iguana 2, allow me to give you my HIGHEST recommendation for El Paisa in West Valley City. Unfortunately, most of our group did not make it to El Paisa because of the shitty service we got at Red Iguana, but those who did … LOVED IT.
El Paisa is as authentic Mexican as it gets. You'd better brush up on your Rosetta Stone Spanish classes if you want to come here, and be ready to feel like you just stepped off the plane in Puerto Vallarta.
Live Mexican Music and a real Mexican clown are the first things you will find here. (We left right before the music started, but they were setting up for a show while we were there). Sunday is their big day … unlike the other places we visited.
The wait staff is super friendly and despite the language barrier, really make you feel at home.
The specialty at El Paisa is a Molcaheta Supreme, which is a large ceramic pot filled with onions, bell peppers, beef, chicken, shrimp, and cheese. You make your own tacos out of the contents of the pot, and the table shares the pot.
These were BY FAR the most delicious tacos of the day, and that is coming from a group of people who were pretty much sick of tacos by this point. The food is amazing. The atmosphere is unlike any other Mexican restaurant you will visit in SLC, and you will be glad you paid them a visit. Everything is reasonably priced, and you will not walk out of there hungry.
All in all, the Tacothon was a smashing success. My gut is busting at the seams. I got to spend some time with some old friends, and had a great time. I; m not sure this is an optimal diet for a typical Muay Thai or Mixed Martial Arts training camp, but it was fun. Thanks to all who participated, and happy tacoing!