Not much brings me out to La Mirada, but when Kenny, the owner of Cabo Taco Baja Grill, invited me to a taco and beer pairing event, I was all for it. Although the variety of beers sounded interesting, I was really there for the tacos. Aside from the usual Ensenada fish and Baja shrimp tacos, there were also gorgonzola steak, Asian pulled pork, roast chipotle duck, chile colorado, Jamaican jerk chicken, and crispy ceviche tacos.
I invited Gourmet Pigs to be my +1 and we ran into L.A. and O.C. Foodventures at the event. Who knew La Mirada was such a happening place? The restaurant was packed.
There were already chips and salsa waiting for us at the table. The menu had suggested beer pairings for each kind of taco, but since I wasn't much of a beer drinker, I just chose a few that sounded good based upon the descriptions.
I started off with Trade Winds Triple 8% from The Bruery in Placentia, "Belgian-style Golden Ale with a Southeast Asian twist. Instead of using candi (sic) sugar (typical for such a beer), we use rice in the mash to lighten the body and increase the gravity, and spice with Thai basil. The result is an aromatic, digestible and complex beer made for a lazy summer evening."
Sounds great, right? It was light, which was just right for me.
The suggested pairing was with Asian pulled pork taco, with which I started off. The pork, which was marinated with ginger and sesame, was just so-so. The pulled pork taco was topped with fried wonton strips and napa cabbage, which were the only things that made it "Asian" to me.
Much better was the roast chipotle duck taco. The duck was coated with a chipotle dry rub, then roasted until the meat fell off the bone. Then the duck meat was tossed with a dressing made from the juices and a citrus slaw. It was incredibly moist and flavorful. Definitely a winner for me. I even went back for seconds.
The chile colorado taco was beef in guajio chile sauce topped with fresh cilantro and lime.
The Jamaican jerk chicken taco, marinated with Jamaican-style herbs and spices, grilled over an open flame, and topped with mango salsa.
Time for round two of beers. Gourmet Pigs tried the Summer Ale 5% from the Alaskan in Juneau, Alaska, "Based on the traditional style of Kolsch beer brewed in Cologne, Germany. This beer has a softly malted palate with the clean freshness of Hallertauer hops."
I had the Frog in the Rye 7.84% from Blue Frog in Fairfield, California, "Slight sweet on the tongue, with hints of floral hops, toasted rye bread and a warm alcohol finish."
Round two of drinks also necessitated round two of tacos.
I got the gorgonzola steak taco, marinated steak drizzled with garlic butter and topped with gorgonzola cheese and crispy fried onion strings. This one was a winner with me. So much flavor.
I also tried some regular tacos such as the Baja shrimp taco, tender grilled shrimp, sweet peppers, and bacon tossed with a sweet chile glaze and cheese. While the tacos for this event were palm-sized, a regular order of the Baja shrimp tacos would be served fajita-style with the ingredients on a sizzling plate. The fajita-style shrimp had lots of flavor as well. Another winner.
I love ceviche so of course I had to try the crispy ceviche tacos, lump crab meat, shrimp, and tilapia marinated in fresh lime juice with tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro, and red onions, and finished off with a splash of guava juice. Oh yum! The crab elevated the simple fish ceviche taco into something definitely more.
The Ensenada fish taco was a beer battered-tilapia filet topped with mixed green and red cabbage, pico de gallo, and chipotle cream sauce. Since I liked the Baja shrimp and ceviche so much, no surprise that I liked the Ensenada-style fish taco as well. A normal order would come with a full filet, but this was sized small for the event.
It's a good thing the tacos were small because I was wayyy too stuffed, since I just had to try all eight kinds. The standard tacos were all winners, and half of the more inventive flavors were excellent. I was lightly buzzed and quite satisfied. No wonder the beer pairing events sell out. Great opportunity to sample from a variety of beers (There were 19 different beers from breweries in Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon.), and I only managed to try two. If you're in the neighborhood, or interested in such beer and taco pairings, do check out Cabo Taco Baja Grill.
Thanks again to Kenny for the invitation.
Other Mexican restaurants:
Carnitas Michoacan - Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights)
Chichen Itza Restaurant - Los Angeles
Cook's Tortas - Monterey Park
Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Orange
King Taco Restaurants #11 - El Monte (Garvey Ave.)
Los Cinco Puntos - Los Angeles
Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina - San Diego
Senor Fish - Alhambra
Tacos Baja Ensenada - (East) Los Angeles
Taqueria Chihuahua - Los Angeles (Mar Vista)
Cabo Taco Baja Grill
15294 Rosecrans Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90638
Sunday and Monday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Taco Tuesdays: $2 tacos.
Thirsty Thursdays: Happy Hour prices on beers all day.
Beer Dinner Events: Third Thursday of every month.
1 year ago today, Banh Mi Xiu Mai (Vietnamese Meatball Sandwich).
2 years ago today, ramen with panda and puppy faces.