La Taqueria: Just What Greenwich Needs

By Lena Thakor, GHS Class of 2021

I love everything about La Taqueria Greenwich.

I love the fast casual nature of it, the blue corn tortillas embracing the tacos,  the abundance of salsas and wedges of limes accompanying every order.

My family and I have been subsisting on deliveries of these tacos as months in quarantine fly by.

Some of our favorites include the Cochinita Pibil, the Chicken Tinga and the Veggie Taco.

I would like to start with the Cochinita Pibil taco. The pork in Cochinita Pibil tacos is generally marinated in an orange achiote paste, which is made from pulverized annato seeds and citrus juice (traditionally from bitter Seville oranges), and lends the pork a peppery flavor. Achiote paste was utilized by the Mayans in Mexico thousands of years ago, and today it is a staple in many countries within Central and South America. The pork steeps in the peppery marinade for hours on low heat, and comes out tender and succulent.

The achiote pork is then sprinkled with pickled onions and fresh cilantro, and wrapped in a warm blue corn tortilla. I like to laden my taco with lime juice and hot salsa, but to each her own.

Now onto the Chicken Tinga Taco

The formula for any type of tinga sauce consists of tomatoes and chile chipotles in adobo sauce. A “tinga” sauce requires plump tomatoes, which are generally stewed in water and then blended with seasonings. The “chile chipotles in adobo” are traditionally made from chiles left out to bask in the sun, and then revived through pickling in a rich, spicy adobo sauce. The chile chipotles are combined with the tomatoes and onions in a pan to simmer on low for a while. Then, shredded chicken is thrown into the pan to steep in the sauce. La Taqueria tops its Chicken Tinga taco off with slices of avocado and a drizzle of “crema,” which imparts just the right amount of creaminess to the taco.

Of course, my taco is smothered in none other than hot salsa and lime juice. I’ve found that generous spoonfuls of rice and beans help curb the spiciness of the taco.

Lastly, I would like to introduce the Veggie Taco.

My family and I especially like the Veggie Taco with nopales, rajas and corn. Nopales are the star of this taco. Nopales are the “pads of the prickly pear cactus” which resides in the Southwest of the US and Mexico. Nopales are sometimes compared to okra and green beans, and possess a hint of bitterness and a viscous texture. Bright green rajas accompany nopales. Rajas are slices of poblano peppers, and in Mexican cuisine they are typically charred and then paired with a cream sauce or cheese. Next, the blue-corn Veggie Taco is laden with yellow corn, cojita cheese and cilantro.

I love La Taqueria’s adherence to traditional Mexican cuisine. You can see it in the ingredients they incorporate into their dishes–the charred “rajas,” the bitter nopales, the orange achiote paste.  You can see it in the colorful “calaveras,” or skulls, etched on the walls of the restaurant, the tamarind and bitter cactus water they offer on the menu, the prices that align with those of Mexican street fare. La Taqueria asks us to slip outside our comfort zones instead of completely catering to our tastes for “Americanized Mexican food” like quesadillas, burritos, and hard-shell tacos, and I am loving it.

La Taquera is located at 10 Greenwich Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830