|The Tricolore - blue, white and red tacos. © Ryan Schierling|
When I asked a friend – one who happens to be an awesomely talented creative-type currently living in Paris, France – to write me a story about her fair city in exchange for a story from Austin about tacos, I suppose I shouldn't have been so floored to receive a tale so lovely…
Ok, you wanted a Paris story in exchange for a scintillating tale of tacos. Ahem…
Emerging from the Metro, bright orange lipstick matching my new napalm red/orange heels, I hold the hand of my lover – his cap askew at a roguish angle. Within steps from the gaping Metro's mouth, we feel on our light t-shirts a few drop of rain. Our mission will not be thwarted by a few small pips of precipitation! Ha! We laugh at the Parisians unfurling their umbrellas; no self-respecting Seattleite would bother with such a hindrance!
Now we start for our destination, down a cobblestone road in the direction of our hearts desire. With rare rapidity the drops gain size and number. Soon a true deluge is upon us, and by upon us I mean down the backs of our shirts, dampening our pants till each leg weighs ten pounds. My hair, which started off in luminous bouncing curls has flashed back in time and is actually wetter than when I stepped forth from the shower earlier that same day.
We will not be stopped.
Jay, with a heroic gait, whisks me into an alcove while he runs hither and yon to find the correct boulevard we must traverse. In moments he comes back, soaked from hat to high-tops but with a grin that says, "I am a MAN! I will rescue this situation!"
Now he leads me, in a slippery stride – no, more a puddle-leaping gallop down streets hell-bent on finding what it is we set out for. We know that once we locate this Paris gem, rain, cold, and wrecked heels will no longer matter.
Finally we come to the street, the block. It should be there...where is it? And then, like a brave beacon, a signal flare of rescue, a glimmer of good fortune we see her. Ah yes. The Taqueria.
No sign, save the small writing on the door, tells us despite all the worst the weather had to throw at us, true taco lovers will always prevail. As we stand dripping on the welcome mat, the sparse few patrons turn and gaze at what must look like the two most miserable souls on this earth.
Except for our hope-filled gaze.
Is that a Dos Equis we see someone drinking? Truly can that be Valentina sauce on the small wooden table? And does that chalkboard daily menu really say they are serving al pastor and rajas con queso?
Paris - the city of light, romance and mystery. A city where if you can sweep your ruined curls up in a braid and reapply your lipstick, just to wink and smile at the man who brought you here, will reward you with one of Paris's most treasured landmarks only 10 days after it has opened... the Candelaria Taqueria.
Leaving us speechless... there was only one thing we could do. Cook. Blue corn tacos with roasted garlic refried white beans, chicken carnitas in a lime beurre blanc, white asparagus two ways and topped with red jalapeño slices.
Le taco Parisien
|White asparagus, lime, asparagus, butter. © Ryan Schierling|
12 blue corn tortillas
2 chicken breasts, brined
1 can white kidney beans
1/2 head of roasted garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
1 bunch white asparagus
1 red jalapeño pepper
dry white wine
fresh squeezed lime juice
Kosher salt & white pepper, to taste
The beans: Open the can of cannellini beans, but do not drain. Empty the can, with liquid, into a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 teaspoon cumin, a bit of fat (bacon grease/lard/olive oil) and a pinch of salt. Squeeze out the half-head of roasted garlic into the beans. Let simmer until the liquid has reduced, turn to low heat and use a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon to mash the beans and garlic.
The earthy heartiness of the blue corn tortillas, the sweet creaminess of the white refritos, the tangy richness of the tender chicken drenched in beurre blanc, and the textures and flavors of the white asparagus two ways... over the top? Absolument.