Friday, May 31, 2013

Michigan Tacos

Eating like a local:
Regional food specialties

-The Tacos of Michigan's Fruit Country

Tacos are today what burgers were in the 1950's and these days theres quite a few Mexican Carnicerias that serve them while supplying groceries to the local Mexican population whom work for the farmers in the fruit fields of Michigan's Wine Country region. I've been going up around the Sister Lakes area for over a decade now and have always noticed them. We end Mexican Fiesta month with a road trip there to try three.

El Supermercado in Sister Lakes Michigan (Keeler Township)

This place is located right on US 152 and along with the other grocery store nearby and the gas station, it makes up for most of whats around as far as food and groceries go within a five minute drive from Big Crooked Lake. They have some good things as far as groceries go when cooking a fiesta. Foodwise their tacos are just ok. I've tried the steak and chicken ones and they're just not that good when your as spoiled as we are in Chicago. But they do make made to order pico de gallo and guacamole in an old Abuelo bowl and both of those are superb and perfect for the summer season. Not to mention they're a great deal pricewise. They make it so good for so cheap you don't feel the need to make your own. Its vacation.

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The Tacos (top) -- Lady behind the counter making the pico to order (bottom)

I found Arellano's Fresh Fruit Market and Restaurant while cruising down M-140 thru Covert which is a small little town which served as a stop on the underground that I have posted about before. The sign mentioned the making of their own tamales got me wanting to stop in and try some.

Along M-140 in Covert, MI

It wasn't the weekend so they had no tamales but they do have a taqueria so I decided to try a couple tacos while I was in there. I got a steak and tripas and they too were just ok. The tripe wasn't fried crispy like I like it to be. I hate it when its soft. Although I think this place was just getting started when I stopped in so I may check them out again this summer if I get the chance to do so.

Tacos from Arellano's Fruit Stand and Restaurant

So far my go to taco place in the area has been La Perla which is in Benton Harbor but more inland towards the farms. Its located on Napier avenue which is the exit you get off at on the highway and take into the area of Sister Lakes after about a 15 minute ride. En route sits La Perla at a bustling, for these parts anyway, intersection with a gas station opposite corner of it.

Benton Harbor, MI

This place has a very steady flow of customers of all races. They have meats and produce and other Mexican grocery needs like bottled pop and assorted chile peppers, fresh tortillas and the rest of the good stuff. Tacos are served in back and on weekends they sell carnitas and set up an al pastor spit outside.

The setup outside under a tent on weekends at La Perla

Their al pastor tacos are very good and as is the case with the greats, even better when you get those freshly cut charred pieces which come after the lunch rush. But for me its their carnita tacos that I just cant get enough of. I haven't found any as juicy and tasty in Chicagoland. They sell the fried bits of pork by the pound but I like to get a handful of tacos with the usual toppings of onion and cilantro along with fresh sliced avocado. I don't know if its the fact that I'm in Michigan away from the hustle and bustle for my annual August trip with good friends that makes these so magical but I do know that it's the expertly fried carnitas and fresh tortillas and toppings that make them taste great.

Carnita tacos from La Perla

El Supermercado
68010 Michigan 152
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(269) 944-4140

Arellano's Fruit Market and Restaurant
36197 M-140 HWY
Covert, Michigan 49043
(269) 764-0615

La Perla
8080 E Napier Ave
Benton Harbor, MI 49022
(269) 944-4096

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