Some weeks are so demanding that by week's end, you don't just want to drink a cocktail, you want to eat it too. In a taco.
Thanks to Tango & Stache, you can. Serving up a rotating menu of tacos like the Rum Milk Punch Pork Taco ($4, bacon fat tortilla, milk punch-braised pork, toasted coco nib, bacon gremolata) on the menu for the next few weeks, Joshua Wilder Oakley of Tango & Stache gets his inspiration from shaken and stirred.
The tacos left us giddy, and not just because of the boozy kick. Each taco order starts with a ball of bacon fat-enriched corn masa dough that Oakley presses into a flat round. He griddles each one, and then tops it with the fillings, including an occasional vegetarian option (be sure to ask). If you're feeling especially indulgent, enhance your order with a sunny side up egg ($2) that pools into a deliciously yolky sauce at the bottom of the plate. And if you want to sober up, don't forget to add some of the homemade hot sauces and condiments that provide a defibrillator jolt of spice.
There are plenty of bartenders finding inspiration for new cocktails in the kitchen, but very few cooks have found much inspiration from the bar. Oakley started with smoked negroni pork tacos, but spirits also find their way into his condiments, like whiskey-pickled jalapeños.
Oakley has some cooking chops, which he earned in kitchens like Gary Danko, Michael Mina, and Bar Bambino, and the thought and care he clearly puts into the food makes it worth seeking out. And it's a business that wouldn't have happened if Oakley hadn't broken his foot and wasn't able to work in a kitchen until it healed. "As I was recovering, a very long and slow process, I came to realize that there was no way I wanted to go back to working for someone else," he explains. After some nomadic pop-ups at bars in San Francisco, Tango & Stache has found a regular weekly stop at Rye every Thursday night, and also Wednesdays starting Feb. 27.
The taco may not replace the cocktail, but a cocktail-inspired freshly made taco will make you just as happy. Order up another round.