Map 201 is extremely serious. It shows the location of the top ten restaurant tacos in Minnesota. Yes, tacos are serious business and don’t you ever forget it! I found these super scientific rankings (read: one writer’s opinion) here. That writer, Trent Jonas, presumably sampled many delicious tacos before creating this list but he doesn’t provide any background information on his research in the article. I have to hope, then, that he did his due diligence and his list is legitimate enough to be somewhat accurate.
Three of the top ten restaurant tacos in Minnesota are outside of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area (the large clump of taco icons). Read about them here in the immortal words of Trent Jonas:
3) Duluth Grill, Duluth, MN: With fish tacos that seem to make everybody’s “best of” lists, it would be a crime to omit Duluth Grill from this list. The crispy whitefish, with cilantro lime tartar sauce, pico de gallo, pickled onion, and pickled jalapeño strikes just the right balance between the Scandinavian and Latino (I know, right?!) flavor palettes.
5) El Carambas, Rochester, MN: It’s safe to say that when it comes to Mexican food, El Carambas is a beloved Rochester institution. Other entrants have come on the scene, and are well-liked, but El Carambas has a longevity and a consistent quality that means you go back time and again and get the same, delicious food. Try the shrimp tacos, which are made in a simple, Mexican style with nothing but cilantro and onions. You know if they’re served like that, the shrimp has got to be good.
7) Vero’s Tacos, Mankato, MN: A simple taqueria with a simple menu, Vero’s relies on quality rather than quantity when it comes to their menu—and it’s served them well. Even though they don’t have a lot of non-fast food chain competition in the area, Vero’s takes such pride in the quality of their food that it’s comparable to pretty much any other taqueria in the state.
A closer view of the Twin Cities gives us our other seven entries on the list. Here they are in order of their position in the top ten (because why should you have to wait any longer for the best?). Trent Jonas writes:
1) Pineda Tacos, Plymouth, MN: There are a few Pineda locations in the Twin Cities, but the Plymouth location stands out because, with this this suburban outpost, they are the best tacos in the West Metro. Try the chipotle pork, or if you’re not feeling like a taco, their tortas are also some of the best in the state.
2) El Taco Riendo, Minneapolis, MN: Another fast-food spot with serious Mexican cred, El Taco Riendo is an unassuming joint in Northeast Minneapolis. With locally-sourced tortillas and house-made ingredients, their tacos are winners. Try the chicken tinga or chorizo for a little kick. For real, down-home flavors, they also offer lengua (tongue), chicharron, and tripe tacos.
4) Smalley’s Caribbean Barbeque, Stillwater, MN: Featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” and winner of many local contests and awards, the jerk pork tacos at Smalley’s are the stuff of legend. They make other dishes—barbecue, for instance, which is definitely worth a try as well—but these tacos are a can’t-miss.
6) Taqueria La Hacienda, Burnsville, MN: With a couple extra locations and a food truck now, Taqueria La Hacienda is moving up in the world. They are easily the best tacos South of the River. And it’s no surprise: When a Mexico City native drives you from Golden Valley to Burnsville to get tacos, you know they’re gonna be good. And they are—especially, the tacos al pastor.
8) Taqueria Los Ocampo, St. Paul, MN: Picking a taco place in St. Paul is a tall order. Home to the original Mexican community in the Twin Cities, there are a lot of good tacos to be had. But here’s the thing: Los Ocampo has a few locations and are universally beloved. So, their St. Paul restaurant wins a spot on the list to represent the capitol city. Their tacos are authentic and delicious, and they also serve up some of the state’s best elote.
9) Las Teresitas, Minneapolis, MN: Las Teresitas is all about the salsa. They have the best salsa bar in the state. What they make to carry the salsa is not too shabby either. The proprietors formerly ran Taco Moreles, so knew what their were doing from the get go. Try their chorizo, which is some of the best available in the Metro.
10) Andale Taqueria & Mercado, Richfield, MN: This is another Metro spot that takes authenticity back home. With lengua and beef head options, topped with traditional cilantro, lime, and onion, Andale has become a South Metro destination for folks seeking the real deal. They use tilapia for their tasty fish tacos and their tinga is a force to be reckoned with.
I really like tacos. They likely represent at least 31% of my existing body weight and it’s probably the happiest 31% too (at least 15% is Chinese food). There are many ways to make delicious tacos. I will often throw plain or breaded chicken in a tortilla with barbecue sauce and cheese. It’s not glamorous but it gets the job done for me. There’s a tasty tortilla-crusted tilapia that Costco sells that Beth and I throw into tacos regularly with lettuce, cheese, Mexican corn, and a good salsa (hers hotter than mine). Everyone has their preferred ingredients, of course, but I really do enjoy lots of different types of tacos. The versitle dish is trule one of the best around. What do you like in your tacos? Share your favorites in the comments below.
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UPDATE: Apparently the USS Carl Vinson and it’s accompanying vessels were not headed to the Korean Peninsula at all. They actually headed from Singapore to Australia to complete the planned training mission after all. Reports by the President and many media sources (quoting the President and his Administration) stating that an ‘armada’ had been re-routed to the East Sea were, in fact, completely false. That being said, please enjoy my rant about our moron/liar of a leader and the various maps of North Korea.
President Donald Trump (shudder) is rerouting a small fleet of naval vessels from a planned training mission in Australia to instead head north toward the Korean peninsula. This comes as a result of the North Korean dictatorship, led by Kim Jong-un, launching a series of missile tests into the East Sea over the past two weeks. I believe the dictator and his ruling class need to be forcibly removed from power to end their brutal oppression of the North Korea people. They are starving due to poor trade policies and recent trade embargoes and have little to no access to the outside world through censorship of communications and media. That being said, I don’t think Donald Trump is the right man to get the job done properly. He is far more likely to use more force than is necessary and is unwilling to care about innocent bystanders like the aforementioned oppressed people. I really do hope calmer heads prevail and a solution that limits collateral damage can be found.
Now for the maps! Here are three maps of North Korea. Map 202A is a standard map of North Korea’s political boundaries. Map 202B shows the locations of North Korean Air Forces as of 2012. Finally, Map 202C shows the locations of North Korean military forces.
Until next time,
Bonus Map Link: Earth’s Temperature
Bonus Bonus Map Link: 12 of the Most Scenic Train Routes