America’s Taco Shop is a small local chain in the Phoenix area. In this case, “America” refers to the founder America Corrales, not the country. Still, good catchy dual-purpose name.
The menu at America’s Taco Shop is classic Mexican street fare. Street tacos, or slightly-larger-than your typical street taco, are the signature menu item. Here’s the “America’s Favorite” #1: three tacos, one Carne Asada, one Al Pastor (pork) and one Chargrilled Chicken.
You place your order and are given a number. The food arrived picture-perfect as you can see above. I mean wow – this is a food stylist’s dream. The chicken taco (at the top in the pic) was tasty but the meat was your basic white meat chicken breast. The Carne Asada (at the bottom in the pic) was also nothing to write home about. The meat was salty and tough. But the middle taco in the picture, the Al Pastor was just right. They describe it as “Slow roasted, citrus spiced marinated pork, thinly sliced and topped with fresh pineapple” but it tasted even better than that. The meat was red and looked like something that’d be at home in a curry dish. Very flavorful, with the pineapple slices providing a nice sweet contrast.
The tacos come to the fiesta dressed in a chopped pico blend and a smooth “homemade” non-confrontational guacamole. They are accompanied by a pair of salsas, both tasty with the edge going to the sweet yet spicy yellow version.
My wife tried the Chicken Quesadilla. Again, the chicken is basic and uninspired. However, she appreciated that there was lots of it, as many times you’re left asking “where’s the chicken?” The quesadilla, as with apparently all of the menu items, is also topped with the guacamole, which we should probably call a guac sauce. It had more of the consistency of mayo than guacamole. Here it is.
Chips and a drink are ordered as a side item to make your meal a combo. I really have an issue with places that don’t give you free chips, as I am programmed to automatically expect them when I eat Mexican. On top of this, the chips and the salsa both tasted store-bought. The salsa served with the sides is regular or spicy and is different from the fabulous salsas served with the menu items. But you get more of it. Not a good thing. Here’s a tip: either give the chips away or, if we must pay, give us the “good” salsa.
This is a new chain looking to expand through franchises. There was nothing offensive to the palate of Americans across the nation who might like something a bit more authentic than what they may find at other major “fresh” Mexican chains. And for those of us lucky enough to grow up in a border state, America’s Taco Shop fits right in with a local flavor that I’d welcome tasting while traveling in far flung places not known for good Mexican food.
Grow and prosper, America’s Taco Shop. Viva!