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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Location: Los Angeles, California, United States

The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Journey Behind The Best Fish Taco

When growing up in Italy, it's safe to assume that the daily food you eat isn't shabby at all. Residing along a narrow yet vast lake, the town of Como offered a number of traditional and unique cuisines. Though it is a hidden gem, it was a destination for many tourists around the globe. Our town also bordered Switzerland, a country renowned for their utmost precision in all fields, including food. After my mother suspended her fashion career, we spent many days traveling to Switzerland in search for organic vegetables and fruits, variety of cheeses and other dairy products, and my personal favorite, meats. Within the narrow alleys of Lugano lay all the stores you would ever need in your life. Each of the small stores emitted such intense odors from their products that you could almost taste the individual flavors they held. As weird or sad as it may seem, I truly loved grocery shopping there because you had an infinite amount of ingredients to choose from.
Though we left Italy for New York, and then eventually moved Los Angeles, my delight in finding new recipes has not ceased in any way whatsoever. In fact, with my experiences in all these places I've lived or visited, I've begun to judge similar recipes from different locations. When we moved to Los Angeles, I was finally introduced to the notorious Mexican cuisine. It's the simplicity and imprecision, not to mention its abundance in LA, that attracted my attention. If I had to choose one recipe from their amazing variety of dishes, it would definitely be the fish taco. Coming from a region were food is heavily criticized and growing up with a mother who knows almost everything there is to know about cooking, I can't just settle for any ordinary fish taco. For the past six years I have tasted the fish taco in at least seventy different locations in Los Angeles. I've used the internet to help guide me with choices, but I also encountered restaurants alone or with friends that served fish tacos in many occasions.
In its most traditional form, the fish taco consists of: a corn or flour tortilla with pieces of grilled or fried fish (types vary but the difference is miniscule if its fried), shaved cabbage to add a cool crisp flavor, tomatillo sauce and/or tartar sauce, and lastly, lime juice. Simple right? Well, heres the problem, even food in it's most simple form, so much could go wrong if preparation isn't taken seriously. Fresh ingredients obviously matter, but its the way you use it that makes the true difference. Anyone could make a tomato sauce if they tried but not everyone could make it the same way twice, or they fail by adding or using rubbish ingredients.
When I scouted all the restaurants in Los Angeles, I have come across many fish tacos that tasted similar, but never once was it the same. Each place tweaks it in some way and it's usually either in how they prepare the fish, or the sauce that covers it. Though all ingredients have a crucial role into creating that mouthwatering masterpiece, the sauce holds dominion to all. If you have a good sauce, and more specifically, if you have a good fish taco sauce, you can lure anyone. LA holds a plentiful batch of locales with great fish tacos but if you are looking for the best, and only the best, Tacos Baja Ensenada takes the cake hands down. It is quite the drive to get there, but if your goal is to find the best damn thing in the city, boundaries are meaningless. Whenever you plan your next trip to Vegas or Palm Springs, or just happen to be in East LA, make sure you remember this name and go there. The lightly battered fish laying beneath zesty pico de gallo and crisp cabbage followed by the oozing sauce that defies pleasure, is a thing of beauty. For those of you who would never stand a chance to make that drive in that direction, and believe me, I understand, try Neptune's Net fish tacos. The ocean breeze and epic journey alongside the crashing waves makes their tacos ever so savory.



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