Mondays are almost always a drag. It is the start of another week, and it seems like your coffee takes so much longer to kick in than normal. Which is why (I can only assume) that some brilliant individual coined the term, “Taco Tuesday”. Mondays are that much less dreadful knowing the next day is filled with soft corn tortillas stuffed with yummy meats and tequila to wash it all down. Monday? Ha! Bring it on.
So the question is, where exactly is the best place to celebrate on a Tuesday? Yes, there are taco shops popping up here and there, but if you are looking for the classics like carne asada and a mix up like fried oyster tacos, you are looking for Xaco Taco. Newly opened in Providence, Xaco made sure to leave a strong impression on the city. Almost as strong as the tequila being poured in the ice cold margs. Cheers!
To get us warmed up, we of course had some chips and salsa. House made tortillas, deep fried to a crisped gold. Dipped into the mild salsa verde for a refreshing and tangy bite. I don’t know about you, but when I have chips and salsa, I always want to upgrade to everyone's favorite smooth operator, guacamole. If vegetables were to have a soiree, avocados would definitely be the life of the party! Loved by all, guacamole is the ultimate dip. Xaco does it up with fresh lime juice, cilantro, jalapenos, and charred salsa verde. Smokey, spicy and creamy.
Our next app is made for the cheese lovers. The Queso Fundido is a traditional Mexican style thick and creamy cheese, served with house made ground chorizo and a side of toasted tortillas. Basically what we have here is the ultimate Build Your Own mini cheese quesadilla (or at least that's what I did with it!). This cheese was rich and smooth, with a kick from the chorizo. Stick a spoon in her, and get a nice heavy cheese pull, it will really warm your heart.
Xaco put Taco in their name, so you know they had to bring their A game. Let's start out with one for our vegetarian friends. Having a smoker in house made the smoked cauliflower so tasty that even meat lovers would add it to their order. Topped with toasted pepitas, salsa escabeche for some tangy flavor, and cress. Vegetarians will do more than alright here, at Xaco.
Next we move to the sea. The fried oyster taco is something I have never even thought of, and I am honestly disappointed in myself because these two are so amazing as individuals, that when you put them together they make a power couple stronger than Jay-Z and Beyonce. Oysters become soft little pillows of the sea when they are fried; salty sweet golden nuggets. Topped with pickled carrots, salsa verde and chipotle mayo. The flavors here were so complimentary to the oysters, chipotle mayo acting like a Mexican upgrade to a cajun remoulade. Move over fish taco, oysters are the new girls in town and they just stepped into the popular spotlight.
Finally, we finished off with a classic, Carne Asada. A traditionally seasoned and marinated grilled steak, that creamy crumbly cotija cheese and salsa verde. No need for any fancy sauces of toppings, this signature taco speaks volumes for itself. The marinade on the steak shines through with juicy tender flavors, as soon as your teeth rip through that tortilla. Xaco nails this classic taco, with flavor and texture.
Personally, I am all about texture. The method of how food is prepared influences the tastes, and adds to the overall palate. For me, I often find that food would benefit from a crunchy aspect. Here at Xaco Taco, that crunch is Chapulines, or grasshoppers. Now before you get all up in arms and walk away from reading this, keep in mind that this is a tradition in a culture that may be very different from your own, and although it may be so very obscure in your eyes, it very well may be delicious AF. In this instance, its exactly that. The grasshoppers are cooked and well seasoned, and end up a crunchy crispy bite to add to literally anything. We sprinkled them on top of our fried oyster taco for some real textural contrast and it was pretty damn good! So before you knock it, maybe give it a try.
To wash all of this down, there is no better liquid than tequila. Xaco's bar shelves are lined with an array of tequilas, so whatever your preference may be, they have you covered. We had the classic margarita; one prickly pear, one mango. These margs were the perfect in between of puckered sour and smoothly sweet. Sea salt on the rim and a fresh squeeze of lime, gosh it is heavenly.
We liked these so much because they're flavors we dont see often (or ever!), and we love trying new things.
For our beer lovers (or non-beer lovers, we thoroughly enjoyed this and beer isn't exactly our go-to) try the Mexican ashtray. I will forewarn you though, be prepared to be licking a beer can in public, you will see why. A can of Tecate, with reposado tequila, a squeeze of lime, finished with a dash of a salty rub and a splash of spicy Cholula. The hot sauce and salt rub drip down the side of the can, licking the aluminum is worth getting all those yummy flavors in one sip.
Finally, our favorite drink, the Ranch Water. 1800 Coconut Tequila. Before I go any further, let me just say that this is by far, one of my favorite liquors in existence. It is so smooth, with bold flavors of toasted coconut with out any unwanted sweetness. Xaco Taco is actually the only bar I have ever seen it in, so I know where my new cocktail spot will be. They pour it over ice with pineapple mint agua fresca, and coconut water. This is what I imagine drinking water after being parched in the desert feels like. Light, with slight undertones of cool minty sweetness. Careful though, this is one of those silent killers. Taste so good that they sneak up on you!
After all of the food and the drinks, our sweet tooth started giving us the elbow nudge. We went with some adorable little churro donut holes. Think munchkins, but with a sweeter fluffier dough, rolled in cinnamon sugar and then served with a side of warm melted chocolate. My oh my, this was certainly a way to end a meal.
Thank you to the staff at Xaco Taco, for having us in and taking wonderful care of us. The food was outstanding, the cocktails were incredible. Forget what I said about Tuesdays, we will be back any of the seven days a week!