In my LA play the game days I found myself in Rosarito Beach, Mexico one weekend eating Rosarito beach tacos with an insanely clever West Coast oil trader who was really quite unhinged when it came to having a good time. Our wives were with us, and much to my surprise, everyone seemed to have an itch to scratch.
We drove south from LA into the San Ysidor district of San Diego, which is immediately north of the US-Mexico border. After crossing the border we drove south on the Carretera Ensenada Tijuana twenty-three miles to the city of Rosarito Beach, Mex. Here, life is as good as the lobster and the lobster is great.
We told everybody and ourselves we were going down to run a 10K, and we did, and we wore the hell out of the freebie t-shirt they gave us for crossing the finish line to prove it. But as it turned out what we really went to Mexico for was to go absolutely nuts, I didn’t know this at the time, but while there I did witness a whole new level of nuts. The kind of nuts that have built great Mexican fortunes off the entertainment dollars gringos eagerly spend for a few hours of distraction.
My wife and I were probably among a very small percentage of race participants not hung-over the morning of the race, we really did go down to run the race but, while there, we noticed most folks’ perceptions were altered to include a let it all hang out point of view. Whatever floats your boat is my motto but I know for a fact our early morning sobriety afforded us a much easier run than the guy next to us who barfed on his Nikes that morning.
During the race we dodged cars and huffed lead fumes because for some reason autos were allowed on the road at the same time as the foot racers. It made for quick reflexes and chances taken but all in all it was a fine day. Of course, we still managed to come in at the back of the pack but that was our plan all along.
After the race we discovered numerous street tacos stands – grills made out of 55-gallon drums, turned on their side, split down the middle supported with make shift legs holding a belly full of white-hot hardwood coals grilling up the best pork tacos any of us had ever eaten.
Remember the old Lay’s Potato Chip ad that bets you can’t eat just one? Well that ad campaign applies to Rosarito Beach street tacos, which are equally addictive. Grilled to perfection, served small, wrapped in fresh handmade corn tortillas cooked on the grill until chewy and hearty.
We washed these wonderful tacos down with cold beer, which was served in paper cups because the Rosarito Beach Police Department will write you a citation muy pronto for drinking beer or anything else with alcohol on public streets.
Since that race we’ve grilled flank steak, stewed pork shoulder, smoked chicken, stir-fried red snapper and baked everything from tofu to turkey in an effort to re-create just a hint of these wonderful flavors at home. Of course at no time did we ever run across ground turkey tacos in Rosarito Beach. The below recipe is our healthy version of those wonderful street tacos and will appeal to the healthy kitchen foodie.
Our Rosarito Beach Street Tacos are made with fresh ground turkey, our own homemade low-salt taco seasoning and oven-roasted corn tortillas. For this video we used 99% lean turkey breast in the recipe but feel free to substitute your favorite meatless alternative. Our favorite is Helen’s Kitchen Organic Veggie Ground. It takes to the below recipe beautifully.
Rosarito Beach Street Tacos
Prep Time: About 10:00 minutes
Cooking Time: About 20:00 minutes
Tools you’ll need:
A Sheet Pan
A Spoon for Stirring
A Knife or Cleaver
16 oz. Lean Ground Turkey (such as Jennie-O Extra Lean Ground Turkey Breast)
1 TBS Olive Oil (additional for the tortillas)
3 TBS Low-Salt Taco Seasoning (recipe below)
½ Cup Water
Corn Tortillas (Get extra so you can have leftovers for breakfast – stir in several eggs for a good scramble and you’ve got a quick and delish breakfast taco.)
Real street tacos are usually served with chopped onion, cilantro, grated cheese and lime slice but add any toppings of your choice:
Grated cheddar cheese
Taco Seasoning Recipe
2 TBS Chili Powder
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Cumin, Ground
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Pepper
Stir to combine.
Heat the olive oil and sauté the ground turkey 5 or 6 minutes until the pink of the meat is gone.
Sprinkle the turkey with the taco seasoning and continue to stir-fry until the herbs are fragrant, be careful not to burn the herbs.
Add the water, stir and cover to simmer for twenty-minutes.
We enjoy roasting our tortillas until they have an almost brittle on the outside yet chewy on the inside texture but that’s us, we know you’ll do what’s right for you.
A lot of people enjoy masa or wheat tortillas and they do have a place in every lover of southwest cooking’s larder but, for authentic street tacos you’ll want to serve yours with corn tortillas. Enjoy!