You could totally go for a taco right now. But not the ordinary kind. You crave tacos campechanos -- rich pork shoulder tacos, sprinkled with crisp bits of chicharrón. Want salsita? Pick between green (tomatillos, cilantro, onions, and garlic) or red (chile de árbol, guajillo peppers, tomatoes, and garlic). Feeling adventurous? Forget shoulder. Get tacos surtidos, filled with pork tongue, stomach, ears, and rind instead.
In fact, order one of each. They're $1.75 and you're at Con Sabor a México Carnitas Estilo Michoacán, a place where the motto is "las únicas y las mejores" (the best and the only ones). You can also get Tovar's carnitas at Wood Tavern, served from the back of a station wagon at Pancho Tacos. No one else makes carnitas quite like this.
Andres Tovar slow-cooks pig parts in lard. This makes for a fantastic taco, perhaps the best one around.
The most influential person in my career has been:
The recession! I used to work in construction, but when the industry collapsed, I decided to open the taquería. I was also inspired by Maria and Lolita, the owners of Mi Rinconcito Mexicano. I made carnitas for a party at their house one day. They thought it was great. They really encouraged me to open my own business.
When you're alone and in need of comfort (and no one is there to watch or judge) the one food or drink you turn to is:
Mole verde. It's difficult to make, but it's my favorite food.
What does Miami need more of?
Miami needs more delicious and authentic food. This city is full of imitators. Drive through any neighborhood and find avenues packed with Nicaraguan restaurants or Cuban cafeterias. But these restaurants focus too much on competition and too little on quality. It's all about beating the restaurant next door. Miami is rich in culture, but it's missing more authentic, delicious food.
You get to vote one food or beverage trend off the island forever -- what is it?
I would eliminate restaurants that claim to be authentic when they aren't. If you have a Tex-Mex place, that's great. Be real, good Tex-Mex. But if a restaurant's sign says "authentic Mexican" and you walk inside and it's actually not, then that's deceitful.
You have unlimited funds to open a restaurant or bar -- what's the name and what do you serve?
I would open a Mexican restaurant, one that sells every dish from my country. Each city in Mexico has a signature plate and I'd like to serve them all under one roof. It's almost impossible to do, but it would be wonderful.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
My dream is to own more taquerías, or maybe open one or two restaurants with excellent atmosphere -- a place with nice food and nice ambience. Some place comfortable and cosy.
Dream dinner party for six: Who (living or dead) are you inviting?
I've got five. Obviously, my mother, my father, my son -- who never met my mother -- Mother Teresa, and my grandmother (my father's mother). She's the spirit protecting me always.
New Times' Best of Miami 2013 issue arrives June 13. To celebrate, Short Order is serving up the top 30 tastemakers in the 305. These people have helped shape the Miami food scene into what it is today. We began with number 30 and will lead up to the county's number one. A Q&A session is included in each post.
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