As mentioned on other entries of this blog, I was born and raised in Mexico; more specific in Mexico City. I lived there for 29 years; so please, trust me when I say I really know about authentic Mexican Food. I don’t want to break anybody hearts or hurt somebody feelings, but let me give you a good awakening to reality. Neither Chimichangas, nor Taco Bell, nor Jose Pepper’s are Mexican food (ad to the list: On the Border, chili’s, Chipotle, etc). When friends at work ask where I go to eat Mexican food, I always answer “Mi mother’s home.” She cooks amazingly, but I also wish my mom would cook the same way my “abuelita” (grandmother) used to do it, which was even better than my mom’s. But since I’m not going to have my mom cooking for anybody, I will recommend you the best place in KC metro area I have found to eat tacos. I have visited several places in the area looking for that authentic taste, but was never satisfied until my brother told me about “El Camino Real.”
Definitely the most typical food in Mexico City are “tacos al pastor” (Shepherd style tacos), also called “tacos de trompo” due to the resemblance of the “spinning top” toy. You will find places selling this type of tacos on every subway or movie theater exits, tacos al pastor are selling pretty much EVERYWHERE in Mexico City. These tacos are made of marinated pork slowly cooked over a vertical rotisserie. A pineapple is set on top of the marinated meat; with the heat, this fruit releases its juice showering all the meat, giving it a sweat and exotic taste. Meat is sliced in small portions out of the “top” and served in small tortillas; cilantro and chopped onions are put on top of them. Sometimes, little pieces of pineapple are also throw on them. Oh, don’t forget lemon juice drops, salt, and the HOT red salsa.
What is special about this place that makes a difference? Taste, friendly environment, and price. I have the opportunity to talk to the owner; he lived in Mexico City for twenty years. Therefore he was able to duplicate the authentic flavor of these tacos. He personally bought the vertical rotisseries in Mexico City and drove all the way to Kansas with these on the back of his truck. As soon as you walk in, you can see a giant hunk of meat spinning; their open kitchen has nothing to hide to their customers eyes. El Camino Real is a humble small restaurant offering excellent food for cheap prices. But if you really want to enjoy the whole flavor and have an even cheaper bill to pay, I recommend you go Wednesdays, as all tacos are only $1.00 each these days, compared to $1.50 regular price.
Two locations in Kansas City, KS give more opportunities to enjoy these tacos. Taqueria #1 is located at 903 N. 7th Street, Kansas City, KS 66101 (913-342-4333). And Taqueria #2 is located at 1147 Argentine Blvd. Kansas City, KS 66105 (913-342-4334). The owner told me he is thinking about opening a Taqueira #3 in Overland Park (that would be very convenient for me) either on the corner of 135th and Quivira, or inside the Oak Park Mall, right in the food court.
If you’re tired of Tex-Mex cuisine and really want to taste REAL Mexican flavors, this is the place. Tortilla chips are given as entry (typical on every Mexican restaurant) with pico de gallo salsa. Or if you prefer, you can get your tacos To-Go and enjoy them in the comfort of your house, they would give you lemon or lime wedges, diced white onion, and chopped cilantro for garnishing. Oh, they also include salsa and napkins.