Taqueria La Michoacana

If your definition of a taco goes something like, “served in a curved, crunchy shell, comes from a drive-through or a box,” then this review is not for you. Why are you even reading this blog, anyway? Go hang out at Buffalo Wild Wings with your bros.

Okay, serious eaters. I’ve had tortas and roasted corn from taco trucks in Albuquerque. I’ve had tacos and horchata from beach huts in south Florida. I’ve stumbled through my limited (but usable) Spanish vocabulary in search of great food. Taqueria La Michoacana is the real deal.

When my companion alerted me to a taco truck located only about a mile or so from our house, I was delighted. Sure, Tex-Mex has its place, but I’ll be damned if all that food isn’t exactly the same. Cheese, meat, lettuce, guac, served in a deep fried tortilla/deep fried chile/deep fried styrofoam dish, then covered in some kind of mysterious sauce. Come on. How far can you really go with that?

Taqueria La Michoacana consists of a truck outside, store inside. Hard to find but worth the quest, the establishment is located on the “other side” of Youree Drive in what apparently used to be a sub-par pizza restaurant. I say this because the sign for the pizza restaurant is still up.

Go inside and talk to the lady at the counter. If you say “hola,” she’ll respond with an entire paragraph of words you don’t understand. Smile and nod, gringo. Menu? There is no menu. Order yourself three el pastor tacos. Order your companion a carne asada torta. Ask for a Pepsi if you want it (many of their sodas are imported from Central America, which means they’re sweetened with sugar instead of corn syrup). It’ll be a little while, so watch some Latin American soap operas. Poke around the adjoining store, where you can find a cornucopia of prepared foods, beverages, and candy. This is a fun place, but if I may be frank, Mexican candy really isn’t that good, unless you like dried fruit rolled in chili powder and possibly salt. But don’t judge a culture on its candy! Have a seat in the taqueria instead. I think your food is coming.

Depending on how much you’ve ordered, one or two attractive young girls will come in from the truck outside wielding styrofoam take-out boxes. The beauty of the el pastor tacos rivals that of a newborn baby or the first flowers of spring. Crack its steaming box (yes, I am aware of just how filthy that sounded, but I’m leaving it) and find three corn (not flour! This is essential!) tortillas piled high with marinated pork (el pastor), cilantro, queso fresco, and crushed pineapple. Yes, pineapple! They also provide a lime wedge for your squeezing pleasure.

One word that I hear constantly being used to describe Mexican food is “bright.” We’re talking sparkly, light flavors: citrus, herbs, fruit. This is perhaps the best illustration of the disparity between authentic Mexican food and Tex-Mex. The latter can seldom be called “bright”; instead, it’s defined by heavy, warm cream and cheese sauces, thick, rich beans, and “darker” spices like cumin. Again, let me remind you: I am in no way bashing Tex-Mex. But it’s a special peeve of mine to hear people refer to things like taco salads and taquitos as “Mexican.”

Now, onto the torta. If you followed my suggestion, you ordered a carne asada torta. Now, for whatever reason, carne asada is billed in the U.S. as some kind of premium beef. It’s not. Carne asada is just marinated or rubbed grilled steak (usually thin slices of flank or skirt). I’m aware that using the word “just” makes it sound like it’s routine and boring…and it definitely isn’t. I just wanted to make sure we’re all clear on this. Clear?

A torta is basically a big Mexican sandwich. Do not let my vanilla description deter you. Usually served on soft, round white bread (called telera or bolillo), Taqueria La Michoacana’s tortas are garnished with sliced avocado, mayonnaise, jalapenos, the ubiquitous lettuce and tomato, and maybe a few crumbles of queso fresco for good measure. I have two gripes with Taqueria’s tortas: very often, I am disappointed at the ratio of meat to the rest of the sandwich. I like meat. Taqueria’s meat is delicious. I want more. I am also not thrilled with the amount of mayonnaise they use. Fortunately, I think that’s more of a personal preference than a hard-and-fast rule, but I have a pretty high tolerance for mayonnaise.

Meat and mayonnaise issues aside, the tortas fill you up and ensure that you have fun getting there. These are ideal hangover foods, by the way: lots of absorbent bread, a moderate amount of heat, and just a touch of grease soothes an unhappy stomach and a clogged head. Taqueria La Michoacana offers several meats, including barbacoa and lengua (slow-cooked beef and beef tongue, respectively), but the el pastor and carne asada are my favorites.

Even if you’ve had your fill, order a slice of their homemade tres leches cake to go; light, creamy, and cold, the cake is the perfect way to punctuate your spicy, porky dinner.

An open mind and a couple bucks are all that’s really necessary to have a good experience at Taqueria La Michoacana. You’d be surprised how well good intentions and an empty stomach can translate.

Taqueria La Michoacana

2905 Youree Drive

(318) 869-4249

Check out my friend Chicken Fried Gourmet’s enticing taco pictures here.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Taqueria La Michoacana

  1. So glad you found that place, it has been a favorite of mine for awhile,the thing I like most is the double shell. For pics of how they look see my post on it from last year – http://www.chickenfriedgourmet.com/chickenfriedgourmet/2009/08/authentic-tacos-in-shreveport.html

  2. This place sounds delightful and I’m already planning on dragging my husband there tomorrow.

    However, a minor quibble – I don’t think you are going to find “authentic” Mexican food anywhere in the U.S. or Mexico because of the regional varieties in both countries.

    I grew up on northern New Mexico Mexican food which is different from Tex-Mex and also different from Cali-Mex which are all different from what I’ve eaten in northern Mexico. The “authentic” Mexican was different depending on where I crossed the border.

    There is no “authentic” Mexican food or “authentic” food of any other country or region. There are merely staples, specialties, and favorites of different regions. If not, southerners could agree on one cornbread type and no one would ever put sugar and cinnamon on a sopapilla and serve it for desert.

    • Thanks for the insight, Donna. I think see your point, and I tend to agree. When I use the term “authentic,” of course, I more wanted to differentiate between “Mexican” (as a blanket statement) and Tex-Mex (and other “Americanized” versions of Mexican), because Tex-Mex is the most popular branch of Mexican here in Shreveport. Unfortunately, I don’t usually have the resources or the time to talk more in-depth about regional differences, although I wish I could. I trust my readers to understand that, while this food may be “just like ma makes it” in one region, it could be completely alien in another. One could say the same thing about Chinese food; fortune cookies aren’t “authentic,” but what about the food? Is it Szechuan, Cantonese, Mandarin?

      • I did understand what you meant and I didn’t mean to imply you were wrong. I should learn to keep my pet peeves about word usage to myself, no doubt.

        My biggest problem (pun intended) is that I too rarely find any regional cuisine from any country that I don’t like.

  3. Noma

    I love the taqueria, too, but my faves are the cabeza and the lengua. Al pastor runs a distant third. I wrote about it for a local magazine and almost hated sharing it!

    I just found your blog. Thanks a bunch!

  4. Chaile

    WOW!! I feel forever indebted to you. I would never have known about this place (much less had the nerve to go in there on my own) if I had not read your blog. We had their tacos about a week ago and today I had an el pastor burrito for lunch. I have gone around my whole office and told everyone about this burrito. My secretary said it sounds like it is some kind of magical burrito and I really can’t disagree. The cheese and meat are amazing and for only $7.50 I had lunch and I still have enough left over for me AND my husband for supper. AMAZING

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