January 19, 2012

Tacos and Sushi Meet in Malibu - Howdy's Taqueria

This past holiday weekend we were in southern California for the Bar and Bat Mitzvah of my twin cousins.  Since it was the girlfriend's first time seeing the Pacific Ocean, we decided to rent a convertible (Ford Mustang - go America!) and head straight for the beach.  We explored the Santa Monica Pier and then rented A SINGLE bike - no misprint there, we rented one tandem bike due to her inexcusable fear of riding a bike by herself - and rode down to Venice Beach to wander amongst the colorful locals.  The beach - scratch one of the two essential items on our SoCal bucket list.  Item numero dos - tacos.  For authentic Mexican, I would commit treacherous acts, against even my own family, but LA county has plenty to offer, so there was no need to harm anyone.  Fast forward through a windy scenic drive up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu and we happened upon Howdy's Taqueria.  Check out the food and pics after the jump.



Howdy's lies just off the PCH and has a great taco shop feel but the modern touch on the decor and menu keep it from reaching dive status.  Not only does this place dish up tacos so authentic you would think a passport is necessary cross the threshold, but the menu also features a variety of sushi options as well.  Oh, and it's all organic so the corn tortillas feel a little less guilty.  Plus, they have a salsa bar, which is almost always reason enough for me to check a place out.

One of the more elaborate sushi options
I opted for two tacos - one carnitas and one chicken mole ("mol-ayy" for those of you that studied French for some reason instead of Spanish).  They run about $4 a piece, which is definitely more expensive than you would expect for tacos in LA, but hey, we were in Malibu.  Both tacos came on my favorite Mexican vehicle, two corn tortillas.  The carnitas, marinated and braised pork, came topped with cilantro and white onions...a drizzle of orange habanero salsa and a squeeze of lime later and I had a super juicy, generously portioned taco...IT.WAS.AWESOME.  Next up was the chicken mole.  Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce that has countless variations, but it usually contains some kind of chiles and a bit of chocolate, and is cooked for several hours to develop deep flavors.  Howdy's version stayed close to its roots and had a savory start with almost a fruity finish, but it was a great compliment to the surprisingly moist pulled chicken.

Pork Carnitas on the left and Chicken Mole on the right - they also came with some housemade corn tortilla chips to scoop up anything that may have fallen off.
  The girlfriend decided to go a more eastern route and ordered a shrimp and avocado roll.  The shrimp were lightly tempura battered and the avocado was fresh from California.  Not too greasy, the roll disappeared pretty quickly, especially with the spicy mayo served on the side. 

Japanese at a taqueria - I think so!

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