Thursday began our long-awaited inaugural food adventure to Cleveland, with an initial stop at one of my new favorite Mexican restaurants, Los Gauchos, in Columbus. Some of you may say, “Really? You drove over an hour for tacos?” To which I would reply, “Yes. And you should too.” Plus, Columbus is right on the way, so why not time a lunch stop involving serious Mexican deliciousness?
Los Gauchos, a taqueria, got its start as a taco truck, which it still runs and I have every intention of patronizing when temperatures become friendlier. They put up a brick and mortar location on Godown Road fairly recently. This trip was only my second to their permanent location, but after that first experience, I was hooked.
Those of you close to me know my inclination for anything wrapped in a tortilla and/or bearing Mexican flavors. I could seriously eat anything involving grilled meats, melty cheese, and fiery chiles every single day. No joke.
So, on to the eats. For Hannah, a Gringa al Pastor and a Mandarin Jarritos. For me, a Torta al Pastor (we are both big pig fans) and a Mexican coke. Everything was muy delicioso, as expected. I, being the somewhat unwise one from time to time, decided to add a liberal amount of the house habañero salsa to half of my sandwich (at least my instincts took over and I only added it to half, a subconscious decision I was grateful for not 10 minutes later). The torta was so tasty, exactly as I had remembered it from ordering it the first time. Flavorful bits of pork, lettuce and tomato, creamy mayo, and the all-important bread. I am frustrated so many times by great sandwich potential that is completely ruined by crappy bread. No such problem in this case. As the chiles kicked in and my mouth and lips began to burn, I reflected on how far I had come as far as fiery foods are concerned. No more “wimpy” meat for me. I will take the burn, and the high I get from it.
Satisfied, with full bellies and the hint of fire lingering, we headed out to finish the drive to Cleveland, looking forward to the meals yet to come.
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