Sunday, December 7, 2008

Soccer Taco... Goooooooool!

Being from the Southwest originally I grew up with fantastic access to both New Mexican and Mexican cuisines (very different things and two of my favorites), thus I was fairly suspicious of Soccer Taco. I am also a life-long soccer player and all around fan of 'the futbol' and so rarely do you find a football-centric restaurant or bar that actually means it that I've come to expect a major letdown. A good friend from home assured me that it was a real find so I've been forced to investigate... often.

To be honest I've personally only explored a fairly small section of their menu because it calls to me. Luckily I've gone with numerous friends and sampled from their plates as well, and thus far every dish has been extremely tasty. So what part of the menu is it whose siren song demands my full and undivided attention? Among the strangely sports-themed menu titles there is one in particular that I can't avoid: "The Real Mexican Team" wherein lies a short list of dishes including Tortas, Huaraches, Sopes, Quesadillas, and (most alluringly) Tacos, and a list of meats to put inside said dishes. The list of meats is what keeps me coming back. Thus far I have had tacos with lengua (beef tongue), cachete (beef cheek), buche (beef stomach), pastor de verdad (steak and pork marinated in red chiles), and each is amazing. There are other exciting meats that I haven't tried (yet) including chicharron (pork skin), cabeza (cow head), chorizo (sausage), along with the standard carnitas and and azada. The tacos come individually wrapped in foil to keep the heat in and the delicious corn tortillas soft, with sides of onions, limes, and a wonderful (and wicked hot, and I'm no heat wuss) red chile sauce that is mandatory.

Others in my various parties have explored the menu further and I can adamantly say that the enchiladas are not disappointing, nor any combination from the "Power Play Combinations" section of the menu. Every time I've been there a number of tables have ordered the fajitas which, from their restaurant-filling smoke, smell delicious. That they are ordered by many parties at the same table every time I'm there, I am willing to bet they are a good choice as well.

Appetizers include the standard chips and salsa, which I suspect are made in house as they are particularly tasty, and shrimp diabla (which I cannot find on the online menu), which is a spicy shrimp ceviche that I have on good authority can be so hot that it is almost inedible. When I ordered it there was nearly no heat and I was disappointed.

The beer menu is perfect for the food; many draughts to select from including Yeungling, Tecate, and some standard domestics. The beer comes in two sizes, small and large, and I point this out as a disclaimer: large is essentially a pitcher. It's great if you're not driving but if you are, a small is a wise choice. The same is true of the margaritas, which I have on good authority are pretty amazing, but a large is essentially a gallon of tequila and driving afterward is almost certainly felonious.

Desert is delicious in the form of either a sopapilla (dough fried hard with sugar and cinnamon) or fried cheesecake (which alone will account for four days of caloric intake).

The service is always prompt, polite, and they are more than willing to refill your chips or beer before you're done with what's in front of you.

My only complaint is that rarely when I've been there has soccer been the main attraction. There is certainly soccer on one or two of the smaller TVs around the booths but generally a big American football game happens to correspond with my visit and that's the main attraction.

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