I once read an online article about the last meals chosen by inmates on death row. It detailed how murderers, terrorists and other equally wretched, and more relievingly, imprisoned members of society were permitted to choose their final meal before being put to death and committed solely to history. The majority opted for “treat foods” such as lobster tail, steak, fried chicken and desserts such as pecan pie, apple pie, and ice cream. Some forfeited that privilege and died on an empty stomach.
That particular article inspired me to think about what I would like my final meal on Earth to be. After dining at Taquerías Tamarindo yesterday with my husband, I concluded that should one of the gargoyles from the building across the street have come loose and plummeted down towards me, smashing me to smithereens, after demolishing a plate of vegetarian tacos that tasted like they’d been prepared to perfection on a plancha in Heaven, I’d have certainly met my maker both satisfied and full.
Words simply cannot convey the lengths to which I adore Mexican food. I eat it at least weekly. I even married a Mexican, that’s how committed I am to the cause. Burritos, tacos, quesadillas, chimichangas, empanadas…I definitely don’t discriminate and welcome all dishes with
an open mouth open arms. After many fruitless attempts at finding affordable and more importantly, authentic Mexican food here in Barcelona, we were left increasingly bitter and disappointed. Bullet-like beans and flavourless rice in a flaccid, cold tortilla does not a burrito make.
We had been working all morning in a local coffee shop that we know has reliable wifi but eye-wateringly overpriced food, so, with aggressively rumbling tummies, we quickly chugged the dregs of our coffees and packed up our belongings before heading out in search of something to fuel us for another half a day’s solid graft. Taquerías Tamarindo is located in Barrio Eixample on the arterial street of Calle Aragó (236), which makes it not only easily accessible, but also conveniently central.
After taking a quick look at the menu and seeing that not only did they have vegetarian options, but vegetarian meat substitute options, I dove through the doors like Tom Daley off the 10m board.
We seated ourselves next to the doors because the place was heaving with throngs of giddy customers, gleefully squeezing wedges of lime over their food and toasting with viscous micheladas.
The atmosphere in Taquerías Tamarindo is warm and energetic and full of Mexican vibrancy. Our waitress approached us quickly and told us the special of the day – tacos de cochinita pibil which had Eric’s eyes widen as if he’d just concocted a brilliant but devilish plan. Instead of placing your order with the waitress in the traditional sense, you are given a paper version of the menu with little checkboxes next to the name of each item and the quantity. Is 10 of each excessive?
After checking off nigh on half the menu, we handed the paper and pencil in and waited patiently for our food to arrive. Drinks-wise we opted for 2 Mexican classics – Agua de Jamaica and Tamarindo. Both were full of crushed shards of ice, which made them irresistibly refreshing and moreish. I’d downed almost three quarters of mine before the starter even came.
Our starter arrived and I audibly gasped – dinky little triangles of Quesadillita de frijoles y aguacate (pinto bean and avocado quesadilla) arranged around a dollop of refried beans with grated cheese on top. Dios santo it looked like a Picasso masterpiece. Before Eric had chance to even so much as reach for his fork, I had swiped a piece and bitten in to it. Picture Jaws coming up to eat that unassuming tourist treading water and you’re just about on the money.
Between stretching strings of cheese from our mouths and mumbling with joy, we were both extremely happy campers.
After clearing away every last crumb of quesadilla, and resisting squeezing some lime on the plate and eating that too, we waited eagerly for our tacos. There was a girl sitting alone at the table next to us just playing on her phone. I concluded that as she was just swigging gingerly from a bottle of Corona and not eating anything, she either had cast-iron willpower, an unfortunate illness or no sense of taste. Either way it wasn’t a winning situation for her, poor thing.
Soon enough, a plate of tacos landed in front of me. I gazed down at them like a mother looks down at her cooing newborn – in sheer disbelief at the example of exquisite perfection in front of her.
Eating each taco was like sliding a piece of paradise into my mouth and letting the elixir of life run down my arm. I opted for seitan tacos, which I had hoped were going to be, at the very least, palatable, given that most vegetarian options taste like damp cardboard. But instead I was gifted the most succulent and flavourful meat substitute I’d ever had in my life.
The arrachera taco was delectably chewy, robust in flavour, and, Eric says, not too dissimilar to its bovine counterpart. Meat-free never tasted so good.
Once we had finished our tacos, and we sat there panting like a pair of bulldogs in the summer sun, we deliberated whether or not we could handle ordering dessert. I mean, I knew in my heart that there was no way I was leaving that place without face-planting the tarta de tres leches, but I do like to humour my dear husband at times. And just like that, a slice somehow made its way from the kitchen to my plate – the part in-between was a bit of a blur, if I’m honest.
(If salivating while writing a restaurant review is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right.)
The moist sponge cake. The cinnamon. The frosting.
Ladies and gents of Barcelona, listen up. Do yourselves a favour and get to Taquerías Tamarindo at your earliest convenience. You’ll probably see me there. But don’t be alarmed, I’m not under the power of hypnosis, I’m probably just wholly entranced by the tacos al pastor and temporarily unavailable. But do say hi.
Have you ever been to Tamarindo? If so, what were your thoughts? Feel free to leave me any review requests!