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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Weighing Taco v. Taco, Does Ingredient Pedigree Trump Affordability?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 3:45 PM

click to enlarge Tacolicious: Crossover at its blondest. - CARLOS A./YELP
  • carlos a./Yelp
  • Tacolicious: Crossover at its blondest.
A super taco with carnitas, onions, refried beans, tomato, cheese, sour cream, and avocado costs $3 at Taqueria Cancun. It comes with freshly made salsas, rojo and verde, and ― if you're frequenting the new location at Sixth and Market ― an atmosphere thick with city grit. In stark contrast, a carnitas taco with cilantro and onion costs $3.50 at Tacolicious in the Marina, in an atmosphere thick with impeccably clad blondes and expensive tequila bottles. The taco comes with three smooth-textured sauces (yellow, green, and red), confined neatly in plastic squirt bottles.

click to enlarge Taqueria Cancun on Market: Urban ambience. - C. ALBURGER
  • C. Alburger
  • Taqueria Cancun on Market: Urban ambience.
The Cancun taco is a gut-buster ― one super taco could suffice for a meal. Tacolicious' offerings reside in small-platesville: to get full, you'll probably need to order four, and spend $12.

Of course, ingredient quality is far from equivalent. We called Cancun to ask about the sourcing of its pig and tortillas, but the owner wasn't there. Tacolicious chef Antelmo Faria told us by phone that his carnitas comes from Duroc pork, marinated overnight with a mixture containing citrus juices and Mexican oregano, then doused with rendered pork fat and baked six hours. But after forking up $4 to round out our small meal with drunken beans and another $2.50 for Healthy San Francisco, we left Tacolicious feeling ambivalent about taco pedigree.

We know full well you can never be too rich or too thin, but in this taco debate, we're weighing if we'd rather be rich and fat in the Sixth Street corridor or broke and thin in the Marina. De gustibus.

Taqueria Cancun 1003 Market (at Sixth St.), 864-6773

Tacolicious 2031 Chestnut (at Fillmore), 346-1966

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Carolyn Alburger

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