Monday, January 21, 2013

Taqueria El Coral (San Jose, CA): Nachos with Carnitas

It's amazing to me that I can still go to, type in 'Mexican' and still get a bunch of places I haven't been to or heard about, let alone ones that are really good.  Mexican really must be the most popular type of food in the Bay area.  Can anyone think of a more popular style of cuisine? (if you can, please post a comment below!)

A random search of Mexican food within 5 miles of my office on Yelp led me to "Taqueria el Coral" on Capitol Expressway in San Jose.  I headed to this "strip mall hole-in-the-wall" by myself much later in the afternoon than usual due to a bunch of meetings I had throughout the morning and early afternoon.  I hate it when work interferes with the noble pursuit of finding the greatest nachos.  There should be a law!

What luck!  Just look at that beautiful plate of nachos!  No one I asked had ever heard of this place, yet the  nachos with carnitas were some of the best I've had anywhere.  Just the right amount of cheese, tender and flavorful carnitas, not too many beans, and plenty of sour cream and guacamole to add richness.  Nothing I've never seen before, but done well with excellent presentation quality.  What made them good enough to get a 4½ out of 5 then?  Hiding underneath all that visually appetizing layer of sour cream and guacamole were freshly diced tomatoes, onions, scallions and cilantro that took the flavor to a level that you don't often find at a run-of-the-mill taqueria.  This was a huge plate of food (probably 1000 calories, and despite my best self controll efforts, the perfect flavor combination made it impossible to stop eating.  I almost polished off the whole plate, leaving just a few chips and a smattering of cheese in an attempt to make myself think I was still looking out for my health.

Rating: 4½ out of 5

Rating notes:  Would have been my first 5 out of 5 if not for theslightly stale chips, which were not of the requisite deep-fried tortilla variety.
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