After a suffocating visit to the SFMOMA today (Frida Kahlo Exhibit+Weekend=Tourist Disaster), my European friends visiting from Southern California were hungry for some cheap Mexican eats. Rather than taking them to get the usual super quesadilla suiza from Farolito's on Mission and 24th, which they had already tried from a previous visit (if you really want to impress someone with something out-of-this-world and cheap, try the super quesadilla pollo asada from El Farolito's--insane), they were willing to try something new--which was perfect since I could do a review. We thus went to Taqueria El Taco Loco (http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-taco-loco-2-san-francisco). I had been here once before perhaps maybe a month ago, and from what I remembered, the taco was pretty good; however, I pushed my former experiences out of my mind; I want to eliminate bias in my reviews as much as possible--it's all about the taco.
So, at first bite, this taco was quite tasty. First thing I notice when I grip the taco: the corn tortillas are perfect. The temperature was not too hot to the point where I couldn't hold the taco without burning my hand, and the consistency was firm--you could tell they took the time to grill this to perfection on the burner. But most importantly, the double-layered morsels of goodness had a taste that was neither too strong nor too weak--just perfect, subtle hints of corn that hit the roof the mouth with the first bite.
The red sauce was quite tasty as well. Great consistency. Maybe it could have been a bit spicier, but all-in-all quite good.
Now, when taking the second bite, I really tried to hone in on the flavor of the meat. I was trying to isolate the flavor, and I got some, but it wasn't much. I then tried the meat by itself, and it just wasn't screaming as loud as I would have liked it to. It wasn't flavorless, and it wasn't flavorful--it simply had some flavor, and that's it. It was then when I realized why the first bite was so good, but the second bite was just merely okay: the meat was decent, but really the taco's flavor was coming from the double-layered corn tortillas and salsa roja that was holding it together.
For the reasons above, I thus rate these tacos as Asi, asi :| -- these tacos are okay, and I could come here again, but there are certainly betters.
Now, earlier I mentioned that I had been to this taqueria once before and remember it as being good, but that I would attempt to erase this memory from my mind when eating and reviewing the taco today. The mere fact that I know this taco has potential because of my prior experience shows that a taco's taste may vary at different visits depending on different factors: did they cook the meat beforehand and simply re-grill it? or are they grilling the meat fresh? is it a good or bad batch of meat?
The only way to truly know a taco's quality is to go to the taqueria at different times and at different days to test for consistency. This is of course the ideal way to review a taqueria, but it is dangerous as it may make one grow tired of tacos--and this is something I'm not willing to do. But what I will do is try my best to see how they are cooking the meat, and mention what time I went to the taqueria. With that said, they re-grilled the meat at approximately 3:50pm today. This may account for why the meat was not as flavorful as it could have been.
-The Taco Guru