Tag Archives: Tacos

Taco Seasoning

LaurenFoodE taco seasoning
This is one of those posts you should bookmark and reference any time you’re making tacos. If you’re anything like me you accumulate spices like hoarders accumulate cats. This means you can easily make your own taco seasoning whenever the mood strikes you, instead of buying those pre-packaged Ortega thingamajigs in the grocery store. Homemade over store bought? Win.

On the menu:
Taco seasoning
Makes enough seasoning for 1 pound of ground meat

1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (you can add more if you like your tacos spicy)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Whisk spices together in a small bowl. Cook ground meat (such as beef or turkey) in a skillet with a little oil over medium heat. Just before meat is completely cooked through, add spice mixture. Cook until done and serve.

About these ads

1 Comment

Filed under Recipes

Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork Tacos


I love any meal I can throw in one pot in the middle of the day and serve with pride 6 hours later after 15 minutes of prep. Some cooks might dispute this claim, but I’m gonna go ahead and say it’s hard to mess up a pork shoulder, so this is also a dish that takes zero skill to master. If you don’t have a slow cooker, just throw this in a roasting pan in your oven at 250 degrees for the same amount of time. You might want to baste it mid-cook so it doesn’t dry out, though.

On the menu:
Slow Cooker Chipotle Pork Tacos
Serves 2

3 lb pork shoulder, bone out
3 roasted chipotles*
3 large cloves of garlic, peeled and halved
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp salt
6 oz. beer (I used Miller High Life because I had a leftover in the fridge, but a dark beer will work best for this)

6 – 8 corn tortillas
6 sprigs cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, roughly chopped
1/2 lime, cut into wedges

Add pork shoulder, chipotles, garlic, spices and beer to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 2 – 3 hours or until the meat is easily pulled apart with two forks. (NOTE: If cooking in the oven, baste at 1 and 2 hours).

Heat up tortillas between 2 damp paper towels in the microwave for a minute or two. Top with pulled pork, cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime. Plate alongside another wedge of lime.

*NOTE: I like these to have just a tiny hint of spiciness so I throw the chipotle peppers into the slow cooker whole and just let the flavor seep into the pork, and then fish the whole peppers out before serving. If you like these spicier, you can dice up the peppers and throw them into the slow cooker. That way you can serve them up along with the pork for a real kick in the pants.

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Recipes

Oh, hello there. Remember me?

Hi friends. Lauren E. here. How many of you are actually reading this after my very long hiatus? I’m gonna guess 3. Hello mom, dad, and… okay, maybe 2.

In any case, I’m back! I made myself a manageable schedule to keep on posting amidst the busy day job schedule I’ve recently inherited. I love my new job but suddenly this blog felt like a chore. “Ugh, I guess I’ll post tonight…” But then I was eating at all these amazing places and missing great recipes in my life and I thought, “Okay, time to get back in it.” A good friend told me if it’s my passion, I can’t just give it up.

So I’m not. I’m not giving it up! And to welcome you back, I bring you a week of Astoria (it’ll be Wednesday to Wednesday… so sue me). Have you been to this neighborhood? It’s the one I live in. It’s the one I love. It’s affordable, it’s safe, and the restaurant scene here is blowing up. Visit us, why don’t cha?

Pachanga Patterson 33-17 31st Ave, Astoria, Queens. The idea behind this restaurant is simple and brilliant. I usually try to reserve my opinion for the “Verdict” section of my restaurant reviews but I just can’t contain myself. I LOVE THIS RESTAURANT and I love the idea that inspired it. In the restaurant world, “family meal” is the meal that the kitchen staff eats after all the patrons have gone home. The meal, built on the remnants of the night at the restaurant and enhanced by the cooks’ expertise, comes out without agenda. Pachanga Patterson’s owners claim that because the restaurants they’ve worked in have had mostly Mexican staff members, no matter the cuisine of the restaurant, all the “family meals” come out with a decidedly Mexican influence. It is these menu items that make up the menu of Pachanga Patterson. Each dish has a Mexican flair, and is made with local ingredients and by expert hands. Small plates, even smaller prices, a cozy tucked-away atmosphere, and a warm staff that takes care of you like you’re part of the family, too.

Braised pork shoulder tacos with crispy pork skin and pickled red onion

On the menu:
Guacamole and house fried tortillas
Chipotle braised short rib tacos with roasted tomatoes and scallions
Berkshire pork shoulder tacos with crispy pork skins and pickled red onion
Panna cotta with pumpkin seed brittle

Verdict: Duh. I love this place. Not only is it literally downstairs from the BF’s apartment, but it is some of the most delicious, well-thought-out, comforting food I’ve had in Astoria. Hands down. The pork shoulder was so tender and perfectly complimented by the crispy bits of skin and juicy, fat slices of pickled onion. The guacamole was DIVINE and the chips fresh. The panna cotta pushed the whole meal over the top, and had me running for the kitchen to make my own pumpkin seed brittle. The restaurant is slowly adding more meals to its hours (recently lunch, soon-to-come weekend brunch… thank God!) and come summer, they have a lovely patio out back, perfect for drinking pitcher after pitcher of sangria and pretending like you’re in Mexico. Ah bliss.

2 Comments

Filed under New York Restaurants

Puppies, Tacos, and Pie, Oh My!

Two specific things will get me out of bed and on a train to a far off land called Brooklyn on a Sunday morning: food and puppies. Not necessarily in that order. So when my lovely friend Ben invited me out to Park Slope for tacos, pie by the slice, and quality time with his golden retriever puppy, I was all about it.

Carlin! Who couldn't love that little furry face?

Reyes Deli and Grocery 4th Avenue between 14th Street and 15th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY. This tiny deli and Mexican grocery offers up an incredible array of tacos, including chicken, pork, beef, and veggie. There is one man behind a stove, whipping up amazing tacos for only $2, and they are huge. Look at these beauties, and then make your way to Reyes. They offer eat in, take out, or delivery.

Crispy pork taco with cilantro and white onion

Chicken tacos

Four and Twenty Blackbirds 3rd Avenue and 8th Street, Park Slope/Gowanus, NY. This new little pie shop offers up seasonal flavors in an adorable, high-ceilinged, multi-windowed space with faded gold paint on the walls and large wooden communal tables. The salted caramel apple pie (pictured yesterday!) was a standout, with crisp apples packed tightly together in a lightly salted crust. I can’t wait to go back to this place place in the fall when they serve up bourbon sweet potato pie and honeyed pumpkin.

Nectarine plum crumble

1 Comment

Filed under New York Restaurants

Cinco de Mayo for Just Un Dolar!

Is that Spanish? Who even knows. And that post is misleading because Cinco de Mayo is today, a Wednesday, and these deliciously cheap tacos are only available on Tuesdays. But don’t be sad: you can go eat $1 tacos next Tuesday and pretend like it’s Cinco de Mayo all over again. Don’t worry. I won’t tell anybody.

Fish tacos! Apologies for the wonky color... clearly my camera has a mind of its own.

Wharf Bar and Grill 3rd Avenue, between 38th Street and 39th Street, New York, NY. Located amidst other bars boasting specials and deals for Happy Hour, Wharf is lovely because it’s spacious, there’s an area upstairs that can accommodate big parties, and it’s an easy going vibe. There are always drink specials and the staff is incredibly friendly.

On the menu:
Shock Top beer
$1 Tacos (fish, chicken, and beef)

Verdict: Did I mention each taco costs $1? How could this possibly be anything but incredible? Each taco is served on a corn tortilla that measures about 5″ in diameter, and you have to order in groups of 3, but truth be told: I ate 6. And I drank 2 delicious summery Shock Top beers (it’s like a Blue Moon). And I was comfortably full. I’d imagine if you’re a large man, you could probably eat 12 tacos and not eat for the rest of the night, but that’s still only $12! The protein of your choice (ground beef, shredded chicken, or fried fish, of which persuasion I’m not sure) is tucked into its shell with shredded lettuce, chopped red onions, a generous helping of shredded cheese, and a spicy salsa verde.

So this month, in honor of… um… the Fifth Day of May (seriously, what IS Cinco de Mayo?), have a taco! Because it’s only a dollar! And it’s delicious! And you just don’t need any more reason than that.

1 Comment

Filed under New York Restaurants