Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Season Tacos

Cascabel Taqueria
1538 2nd Ave (at 80th St)
New York, NY
Columbus Circle Holiday Market!

The Holiday Season in New York is characterized by the multitude of holiday markets around Manhattan -- Union Square, Grand Central Station, and Columbus Circle are a few of my favorites. Whether you're shopping for yourself or for your friends and loved ones, there always are a multitude of gift options available at these markets.

Today, despite the 28 degree weather, my friend Molly and I ventured out to the Columbus Circle market ready to browse. I've walked past the market hundreds of times since returning to NY for the Holidays and knew that a Taqueria had set up shop within the market.

The time had come to indulge. I am back in my taco homeland.

I approached the small Cascabel Taqueria booth and my mouth began watering. Although the actual Taqueria has an more in-depth menu (including brunch and tequila), the booth was offering chicken and carnitas tacos. Fine by me. I chose the carnitas taco and could not be happier with my decision.

Cascabel uses soft corn tortillas; clearly they know tacos. And this corn tortilla held up extremely well on the walk from the market to the warmth of the Time Warner building. The simultaneously soft and crisp bite of the tortilla nicely contrasted the soft texture of the slow roasted berkshire pork butt. A perfect combination! The pork was well-flavored -- neither overwhelming nor masked by the other taco ingredients.

In my opinion, this taco was a winner because of the pickled red onions on top. With a squeeze of the small lime wedge, the zesty tartness paired with the vinegary onion taste was unbelievable. I didn't want that flavor to end!

The ingredients were fresh, my hunger was satiated, and Cascabel mastered the simplicity of Mexican street food with the sophistication of gourmet cuisine.

At the Holiday market they also sell Mexican Hot Chocolate -- una bomba! The $1 shot-glass sized cup of luscious hot chocolate with a spicy kick was the perfect way to warm up and end the meal with a sweet finish. Wow. I'll be going back for seconds. After all, there's a chicken taco I have yet to try.

Good food, great service, and the NY holiday season. It's good to be home.