Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Thursday, August 15, 2013

East Bay Bite of the Week: Flacos' Vegan "Taco Especial"

Posted By on Thu, Aug 15, 2013 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge Flaco's magically meatless "Taco Especial" - MOLLY GORE
  • Molly Gore
  • Flaco's magically meatless "Taco Especial"

This week marks the beginning of our new weekly series, East Bay Bites, focused on bringing you our favorite edible discoveries from just over the bridge.

Flacos is a quaint spot, a tiny brick joint with mismatched tablecloths and outdoor seats, serving old family recipes from Mexico. Think taquitos, pozole, and banana leaf tamals. But here's the catch: everything is vegan (this is Berkeley, after all). The idea of making and selling his own vegan Mexican food came out of owner and chef Antonio Magana's boredom with standard vegetarian burritos, sparking a decision to retrofit his grandmother's recipes as vegan dishes. Unless you were told, you probably wouldn't know the difference. It helps that Flacos had 10 years' practice as a farmer's market stand to hone its textural mastery and meatless recipes before opening a brick-and-mortar in 2011.

See also: Oakland's New Marrow Does the Locavore Thing Right

Best Practices for Getting Out of Berkeley Bowl Alive

Cooperative Cafe Serves Best Coffee in South Berkeley

And let's not forget to mention, Flacos is cheap. Adjacent to the Ashby BART station, there a few better places to stop for post-workday taquitos. Eat them outside while the sun sinks down the sky.

The "Taco Especial" distills everything that's good about Flacos. It's thoughtful, balanced, and spicy, wrapping a bevy of textures into a dish the size of your palm. The meat is a textured soy protein, shredded and slathered with almond- and chile-based homemade mole, resting on a bed of crisp cabbage, radish, and cilantro. The handmade tortilla might be the best part: thick, soft, and discernibly fresh. Dosed with the creamy kick of avocado salsa, it's as perfect a marriage as they come. Other highlights include the pozole -- hominy in a fiery chili soup -- and the huarache, a tortilla laden with all the classic additions: avocado, pinto beans, rice, cilantro, and more. The effect is like something ripped from a garden, not the deep fryer. And on a sunny Berkeley day, there's little else we'd rather have.

Flacos, 3031 Adeline St., Berkeley

Hours: Tue-Sat 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun-Mon 12-6 p.m.

Follow @mollywaddle


  • Pin It

About The Author

Molly Gore

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"