You may already aware of this, but RVA’s Mexican food presence is rather slim compared to what one finds in Charlottesville. There is some good Mexican food here, but it’s limited to La Milpa and Cerro Azul and by the fact that Hondureños, Salavadoreños, y Guatemaltecos are quite numerous. Pupusas & gallo pinto may be tasty, but they damn sure ain’t Mexican food. And Cielito Lindo is on the yuppified side, fer sure. Too Cancun-y. One gets tired of aging frats & sorority types swilling down margaritas and hollering nasally.
The taco truck and the food stands in Charlottesville are head and shoulders above what we have here.. some even make their own tortillas on the spot. Like in the real world. Oona & I were pleasantly surprised to find this out at the Charlottesville Farmers Market near the downtown mall last September. I hear this can happen even in North Carolina. (Questions: why are the local restaurants so chintzy with the tortillas? And why is there no praline or sherbet?)
Yesterday, we hit La Michoacana Taqueria in Charlottesville and were quite pleased with what we got there.
I got three tacos de barbacoa de borrego (lamb barbecue) and I knew that even back in San Antonio or Austin, I was going to have to hunt to find something like this. Lamb or mutton is a Central Mexican dish, not something from area across from South Texas.
But, oh, they were good. Oona had a huge tamale which was ok, but I make better ones with less masa at Christmas. Be careful with their salsas & their marinated onions & carrots. The onions & carrots have some habanera chile in the mix. Son muy picantes.
Today, I went by La Milpa, because I wanted some decent corn tortillas. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had their outdoor carnita cooking setup going.
I picked up a half pound of carnitas (pork cooked in a kettle or cazuela) and took them home for a pleasant lunch, using the El Milagro tortillas and the red and green salsas supplied with the carnitas.