Fall brings a whole new lineup of interesting dishes to try, but as usual, it's tacos you really want. Who can blame you? The Mexican staple makes some of the most satisfying meals.
This season, continue feeling the taco love. Local chefs are taking their creations to another level with unusual ingredient combinations, so step out of your comfort zone and try something unexpectedly wonderful.
From Asian fusion to ant caviar, here are the five most interesting, flavor-packed tacos to satisfy your cravings this autumn.
Bartaco2906 NE 207th St., Aventura
At the taqueria chain's Aventura outpost, tortilla-wrapped creations are rooted in Mexican tradition but pull flavors from around the globe. Bartaco's $3.50 tuna tatako is a healthful, flavorful option made with ahi tuna crusted with ancho — a dried ripe poblano pepper — which adds a touch of sweetness and heat to the seared fish. To bump up the flavors, the colorful mix is topped with a sweet soy glaze, Asian slaw, sesame seeds, and cilantro and served cold in a Bibb lettuce wrap.
Bakan Wynwood2801 NW Second Ave., Miami
At Bakan, indulge in the Mexican desert version of caviar tacos, made with escamoles — the edible eggs of velvety tree ants. In Wynwood, Bakan offers the sustainably harvested delicacy in the "Los Exóticos" section of the menu for $25. A fresh handmade blue corn tortilla holds the delicate corn-yellow escamoles, which have been sautéed in butter with shallots, Serrano chilies, and epazote leaves to bring out their poppy texture and rich, nutty flavor. Top the taco with a spoonful of guacamole and pickled vegetables.
Bodega1220 16th St., Miami Beach
For five years straight, culinary director Bernie Matz's barbacoa taco ($4.50) has been the star attraction at the welcoming Bodega. The soft-tortilla muse offers a feast of textures: short rib marinated in guajillo, dry chili peppers, and spice dry rub for a day and then slowly braised with aromatic vegetables for five hours before its shredded and finished on the flattop with chili and a crunch of potato sticks. Signature salsa rosada — house-made pink aioli infused with arbol, guajillo, pasilla chiles, and spices — is drizzled on top for creamy sweetness. The vegan, gluten-free tortilla plays no supporting role here; a Florida artisan delicately grinds the corn and hand-forms it without any preservatives.
Coyo Taco120 Giralda Ave., Coral Gables
Brunch tacos are the thing at Coyo Taco's Coral Gables location. Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., order the house specialty huevos alambres, served taco-style. Two flour tortillas hold fluffy omelets embracing a lush mix of carne asada cooked with bacon and chiles torreados. A generous layer of salsa fresca, pico de gallo, and crumbled cotija cheese top off the $13 dish.
Lona Cocina & Tequileria321 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Lona Cocina is known for its lineup of good tacos, but the pinnacle of chef Jorge Gutierrez's craft is the Gobernador ($17) — his take on the traditional Baja California option. A comforting mix of shrimp, mushrooms, Mediterranean herbs, and melted Oaxaca cheese fills a soft corn tortilla, and the whole thing s grilled to a bronze in the wood oven for a hint of smoky flavor and crunch in every bite. A slightly spiced Central Mexican salsa made with tomatillo and pepper flakes is served on the side so you can create your ideal balance of savory and spicy.
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Try mucho tacos in one place at Tacolandia this Saturday, November 16, at Magic City Studios.
General admission includes entry to the event at 3 p.m., unlimited taco samples, and access to a cash bar. Tickets cost $30 in advance and $40 at the door if they're still available.
VIP tickets include early admission at 2 p.m., unlimited taco samples, and access to the VIP area, offering an open bar (with spirits by Riboli Wine Estates, Zignum Mezcal, and Tito's Vodka) and food from exclusive restaurants not available in the general-admission area. Tickets cost $60 in advance and $70 at the door if they're still available. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit newtimestacolandia.com.
Tacolandia. 2 to 6 p.m. Saturday, November 16, at Magic City Studios, 6301 NE Fourth Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $30 to $70 via newtimestacolandia.com.