Head’s up. It’s taco time.
“One Shot” is an occasional series reviewing non-taquerías’ tacos.
The last time I saw my maternal grandfather, a hulk of a man, I was 5 years old. He had walked through the house carrying a lechon—a spit-roasted whole pork—across his shoulders into the backyard and on to the table where the rest of the food for the family feast was arrayed. He gently set down the pig in the center of the table while I stood at the end barely tall enough to look over the top. And in what seemed a continuous motion from the crispy brown animal to his placing his leathered hands under my arms, lifting me onto the table and sitting me crossed-legged face-to-face with our meal. No sooner had he said, “You’re first, Joseito,” than I had clasped the face of the pig behind the cheeks and yanked the whole thing off. In one piece. It was glorious. I gnawed on the ears and tried to pull the snout, a few singed bristles sprouting from it off the rest of the rough, salty skin. The cloudy white pad of fat on the backside of the face brushed my lips and chin. I loved that day.
When dinner plans were recently thrown for a loop and a friend mentioned the crispy pig’s head at John Tesar’s Knife steakhouse, I relived that day in an instant and said, “Yes.” Continue reading
Avocado, cream, salsa, dried corn, little bits of breading. These were on my fingers moments after I took a bite of the Ipswich clam taco on special last night at Spoon Bar & Kitchen. And it was pretty delicious. The heat from the jalapeño cream salsa and the pillowy but hefty clams laced the elements of John Tesar’s taco creation nestled in a flour tortilla that seconds earlier been removed from the grill. The result was a warm, papery tortilla. It was only then that I looked at my dining companion and driver for the excursion. He wasn’t nearly as messy but he was as thankful as I was for the opportunity that Tesar and his staff afforded us. I’m excited to try it again when the taco is added to the forthcoming lunch menu, which I was told would be rolled out sometime after Valentine’s Day. Until then, check out some of the photos I took.
Spoon Bar & Kitchen
8220 Westchester Dr.
If you’ve been watching Top Chef Seattle, you know of the three Dallas chefs competing on the reality TV cooking show. Week before last, John Tesar, one of those toques, was voted off the show, but was given a chance at redemption through a text messaging and a social media campaign. The latter counted the number of times the #SaveChefJohn hashtag was mentioned on Twitter versus that of his opponent. During the popularity contest’s run, I tweeted to Tesar that he’d have my #SaveChefJohn vote if he agreed to offer a one-night-only seafood taco special at his Preston Center restaurant, Spoon Bar & Kitchen. He did agree, and will have the taco available tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Before I share the type of taco, I’d like to tell you. Tesar knows his way around a taco. The chef John helped develop the Wild Salsa menu and concept before handing it over to Kelly Hightower. I’m expecting a solid taco born of his familiarity with the food and his expertise with seafood. The man knows his stuff. Continue reading