Tag Archives: homemade

REVIEW — Nick James and his homemade tacos

Chef : Nick James

Address : He lives in the Avenues of SLC, but there is no restaurant 😉

Phone : Shall not be listed

4 stars out of 5

A week or so ago I received an email from my good friend Nick that he wanted to make tacos for a group of friends so that they could be reviewed by a proper taco taco journalist such as myself :

I was stewing up some chicken thigh for tacos this morning, and it reminded me that I want to make you tacos sometime.

Included in the email was the incredible photo above that Nick had taken of his tacos.  Could I say no?  Of course I couldn’t.  We planned it out and on a magical Taco Tuesday Nick went to work and improvised on his latest taco recipes to create us some incredible chicken and pork tacos.

All week long I was anxious to try Nick’s tacos.  Nick is an extremely creative person and having mentioned to me that he had been continually changing and improving on his improvised taco recipes I was very curious to see what he would share with us.  Nick is a great artist (you can see his work at http://nickjam.es/) but until that night I had not had the opportunity to taste any of his cooking.

Nick has told me that his enjoyment and approach in cooking is very much like that in his artwork.  Once he is comfortable with a medium whether it be pencils or chipotle sauce he feel comfortable to experiment and lose himself in his creation and in cooking for example he feels no need to follow a recipe or make precise measurements.

I stalked around the kitchen behind Nick as he worked and explained to taco enthusiasts Dave, Ryan and myself about what he was doing and how much longer we would have to wait.  We circled him like hungry sharks until he told us to grab our plates and started throwing freshly warmed tortillas onto them.

Now that we were finally ready, I filmed Nick presenting them to us :

These tacos were amazing.  All 3 of our judges were impressed.  Here are their responses  :

My personal favorite was the pork taco recipe.  The flavor was complex and constantly changing from initial bite to its after taste.  The orange juice certainly helped to bring out the tenderness and develop a unique flavor.  The chicken tacos were delicious as well.  When I say that the pork was my favorite, it was like choosing between two children.  The chicken had just the right amount of picante-ness so that it was spicy but at the same time it was sweet like candy.

The morale of this story is that when Nick asks you if you’d like to try his tacos, you say YESSSSS!  If you don’t have this luxury, stay tunes because I will post the recipes later this week.

4 stars out of 5.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once and a while, you could miss it.”

I have a confession to make. It has been over six months since I’ve partaken of our sacrament; the street taco. The economy swept away my job, and with it the desire or monetary means of supporting our scene. I feel bad about it. I haven’t been able to go out and sample the wonderful food on our streets. I haven’t had a chance to check out the Chowtruck. I’ve been self consumed and wrought with doubt, fear, depression, financial problems, and all the things that can happen in a deep and long recession. I know that is has affected many, many, many others in the community too. They probably feel the same way i do. Just looking for a glimmer of hope, and a good feeling.

So, being a “basement” chef myself, i pulled up my sleeves and decided i wanted to cook. I love cooking. There’s nothing better than creating something amazing out of otherwise normal things. So with that in mind, over the weekend i scrapped up some change from the empty growler jug, and went out and bought some of Rico’s homemade tortillas. The tiny ones that are made fresh that you can pick up at the local markets. I picked some onions from the garden. I dug some old hamburger meat from the bottom of the freezer, and i started to assemble bowls of condiments and toppings. I fried up the tortillas quickly on each side in a skillet and spooned on some crumbly burger meat. I also threw some frozen corn into a cast iron skillet and made a bit of a roasted corn salsa type creation. I topped it all off simply with the green onions and some cheese. I wasn’t going for authentic, or trying to replicate what i might find at a taco stand, but just going over my food influences growing up, and how my mother made her version of tacos. I found a quiet place by myself and ate a few. It felt wrong to be doing this alone. I had cooked up all the tortillas and there was plenty of stuffing for more, so i called my mother up to share them with me. We both felt better after. It clicked in me that life can me simple. Life can be a taco. Love can be like a taco. Uncomplicated, enjoyable in it’s simplicity, and can give you the feeling of a warm hug that lingers around long after.

While I still am lowered to that of a 2nd class citizen who has had to move back home and swallow his pride, i still get a real sense of peace when eating a good taco. I hope some luck and opportunities come my way soon, so that i can get back out on the streets and enjoy the tacos and the love all of these hard working people provide. Innovation is happening in the foodie community. People are coming up with new ideas, and new presentations and different twists on street food in our community. It makes me proud to see such changes and to see how that people are starting to come around, and be less afraid, less intimidated by these little palaces of what i like to call “the other soul food”. So to all those out there working hard and cooking up all of this love, I salute you. Our friends from the south have brought us so much and are very much a part of what America is about, and i for one welcome our taco overlords.

So if you can’t go out and buy a taco from one of the dozens if not hundreds of mexican and south american influenced restaurants, markets, and food carts, scrape up some change and make some for you and your friends. It’ll make you and everyone else feel better. If at least, for a little while.


noyen / nairb