My absolute favorite Mexican restaurant is in Newport Beach, California, called Sol Mexican Cocina. I remember the first time I went, with my parents, when they were visiting me in California. We had VIP service and were in awe of their fresh flavors and fantastic service. After that, I went often, and always took visitors there as well. Now even when I visit California, I make an effort to visit Sol, and I bring my coworkers along with me. In the nearly 10 years I’ve been going to Sol, the food (and drinks) have always been nothing short of amazing. And while I’ve tried many things on their menu, I always come back to the same taco, the Taco Vampiro. Last year was the first time I tried a copycat recipe from Buzzfeed, and again this year for #mexicanmay. What’s not clear is why I haven’t put it on my regular taco menu?! This taco is so good it deserves its’ own blog post!
Ok. This taco. What makes it unique? It has quite a bit of kick, which I’ll get to, but first, the “Vampiro”. A skirt steak marinated in a simple mixture of soy sauce, tons of garlic (hence, vampire), olive oil, and a few seasonings. I let the meat marinade for 24 hours, grill to medium rare, and slice thinly after resting.
The “kick” I was feeling comes from two other important co-stars of the show. First, a grilled cheese of corn tortillas. Normally I’m not the biggest fan of corn tortillas, but this method makes me crave them for every taco meal going forward. Spray a pan with nonstick spray, use on corn tortilla, and sprinkle with shredded cheese. Then add thin slices of sliced fresh Serrano pepper (KICK!), and add another corn tortilla. Heat until the cheese is melted, then flip your corn tortillas like grilled cheese sandwich, and brown the other side. Use immediately. Although, I guess I’ve never tried to make these in advance *scrambles to kitchen and makes more grilled cheese corn tortillas to test for meal prep*. My husband doesn’t love the Serrano peppers so I leave them out. His loss.
The next kick is from the chipotle sauce, which takes the place of sour cream on this taco. Mayo, chopped chipotles from a can, lime juice, garlic and a little salt. *KICK*.
To assemble, use the corn tortillas, steak, some fresh avocado or guacamole (my guacamole recipe collection deserves its own post before the end of the month), Pico de Gallo, cotija cheese, and the chipotle sauce. Maybe more Serrano peppers?
The end result: an absolute fiesta of flavor. I served this with some leftover rice and black beans I had stashed in the freezer, plus Sol’s signature guacamole (recipe coming soon!) and Trader Joe’s Elotes corn chips.
Leftover steak is great on the Southwestern Salad I posted earlier this month, or in a quesadilla, or as a burrito bowl with rice, beans, and toppings.
If you can’t get to Sol Cocina in Newport Beach, just make this taco already! Oh and if you can get there, please, please order this taco and the Guacamole Sol and let me know how much you love it!