At the end of our trip to Yosemite, we asked one of the park rangers if he had any suggestions for one last hike on our way out. He suggested an out of the way wildflower walk that was stunning, a path along a steep hill dotted with wildflowers that ended in a rushing river.
He also recommended a taco truck. Recommended is too soft a word. He raved about a taco truck, saying that he was a taco aficionado and that he had traveled all through California and Mexico looking for the best taco. And he found it, just outside Yosemite.
We couldn't resist. So after our wildflower hike, we found the truck parked in the parking lot of a convenience store: Ramon's Tacos. I was afraid that the vegetarian options might not be as good as the hype, but both the tacos and burritos were excellent. Truly the best I have ever had, although I am definitely not an expert. For me, one of the highlights was the tortilla, which was fresh and tasty, so unlike the gummy version that we often get here. Ramon also served the tacos with a slice of lemon which we squeezed over top of the tacos to make them even better.
I have heard that around here, there are some authentic Mexican restaurants in Riverdale, Maryland, including La Placita, which I'm eager to try. I'd also love to find a good source of tortillas; otherwise, I may have to figure out how to make my own.
In the meantime, the experience motivated me to step up taco night at home. This filling idea came from tacos at Loteria in the Farmers' Market in Los Angeles. Oscar and I had them when we visited there last year. They're hearty and the peppers are not spicy, but are loaded with flavor. They make an excellent alternative to our usual refried bean filling.
If you go to Yosemite, leave through the southwest side of the park on Route 140 and stop by Ramon's. It's at the corner of Highway 140 and Plainsburg Road in Planada. And bring one back for me.
Makes enough filling for 8-10 tacos
10 minutes preparation time
20 minutes cooking time
2 poblano peppers
splash of olive oil
4 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped finely
1 tablespoon finely chopped oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 lemon, cut into wedges
Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Heat the oven to broil. Broil the peppers until they are blackened, turning them so that they are broiled on all sides. Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool. When they are cool enough to touch, peel off the skins and remove the seeds and stem. Coarsely chop them.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the potato cubes and cook for a few minutes, just until they begin to brown. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and enough water just to cover the potatoes. Bring them to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes are tender but retain their shape, about 15 minutes. Add the chopped poblano and heat just for a minute until the mixture has warmed through. Add the oregano and stir.
Serve straight up in a warm tortilla with a squeeze of lemon or add any other toppings that make you happy.