Taqueria Review: Plomo

Usually, I would go on Taco Tour Adventure around the concrete jungle of New York City but for this one, we are traveling South. So I returned home for the weekend to visit family which happens to be in the city of Miami, Florida. The home of beaches, party, Wynwood Walls, and the overwhelming supply of Caribbean food but specifically Cuban food. However, I was on the search for Mexican food explicitly tacos and stumbled upon Plomo Tequila and Taco Barwhich happens to have only one location so far. Some of my friends and the internet seem to really enjoy and recommend this spot.

Plomo Tequilla and Taco Bar opened up in July 2017 and are located at 230 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, Florida. The location of the restaurant is important because it is the “first tequila and taco bar” (Buch) on the infamous street known as The Mile. Also when most people in Miami think of getting authentic Mexican food they say Homestead or Broward County. It is one of the few places that serves authentic Mexican food in the Coral Gables area, where the food isn’t changed to fit the demographic in the area or part of a fast food chain. Especially since nowadays its hard not to see or have a Taco Bell or Chipotle close by. In addition, they seem to be inspired by “traditional Mexican Cuisine and [was] created out of a deep understanding and passion for Tequila and Mezcal” (Plomo) as well as “to satisfy [peoples] craving for tacos and [to] gather around a table with friends to enjoy Mexico’s best selection of spirits and handcrafted Margaritas” (Plomo).

Fun fact #1: Plomo means  lead (metal) or where “plomo” is like English plumb, means ‘vertically’, figuratively ‘just right.'”  (Huang)

When my friend Camyl and I first walked to the restaurant, we almost walked past it since it was a bit hidden. The name of the restaurant was hard to see; we only knew we had arrived because of an eagle mural with the name of the restaurant was outside. In front of the mural, there are a bunch of colorful chairs, wooden tables, and cacti. Usually, there is a host outside, where they will ask if one wants to sit outside or inside. We chose inside since it was extremely hot and humid as it commonly is in Florida.

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Outdoor Sitting Area

Once we were taken inside, it was dimly lit with a plant-covered ceiling, colorful skulls painted on the walls, cacti set on wooden tables, and an overall intimate yet relaxing atmosphere. Once we were given the menu, we noticed that they seem to have different specials every day such as half-off mescals on Mondays, $3 tacos on Tuesday, half off all bottles of wine on Wednesdays,  $4 margaritas on Ladies’ Night Thursdays, and happy hour every day from 4–7pm. On weekends they have brunch with bottomless mimosas and sangria. They have 12 different kinds of tacos, an assortment of burritos, large Mexican plates to share with friends, and 65 mezcals and tequilas.

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The Menu

 

I wanted to see if the hype of this new restaurant was worth it so I ordered a little bit of everything. I got two El Muro Taco (The Wall Taco), two El Taco Volador (The Flying Taco), and one Las Chivas (The Female Goats) with a Horchata to drinkWhile my friend got one Don Barriga (Mr. Belly), one El Plomo (The Lead), and one El Muro Taco (The Wall Taco) with a margarita to drink. Between the both of us we split an infamous yet simple desert named Arroz con Leche (Rice pudding).

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El Muro TacoEl Taco Volador, and Las Chivas

El Muro Taco is pork braised in pastor sauce, topped with pineapples, onions, and cilantro. The taco was cooked in the sauce and style of Al Pastor which means in “the style of the shepherd” (Spiegel) and was actually adopted by “the Lebanese style of spit-roasting lamb [but] using pork instead.” (Spiegel) When I first bit into the taco, the first thing that I tasted was the sweetness of the pineapples. Following that was the savory tender pork mixed in well with the pastor tangy flavor. The pineapple was so fresh and sweet that it contrasted yet complemented with the pork real nicely. Hats off to the Chefs of Plomo, for they were was able to get the sauce right since some places tend to make it where it is overpowering to the palate. The taco had the right amount of pineapples where it didn’t seem to overpower the meat and seem like a sweet pastry. It was so pleasant that I was delighted that I had ordered two!

El Taco Volado has the option of choosing between tuna or salmon tartare in a hard taco shell, topped with habanero salsa and chipotle aioli. I chose one of salmon and tuna but the flavor seemed to be hidden behind the powerful sauces. Both of the fish cuts were fresh and was easy to bite into without it being so chewy. The crunchy shell taco was warm and had a nice texture when I bit into it. But the tacos could have been better if combined with other sauces or just putting the original sauces on the side.

Las Chivas is braised lamb, Guajillo sauce, and Onions & Cilantro as garnish. The lamb was so tender and thinly sliced that I didn’t have any problems munching on it.  The lamb was peppery and balanced out well with the sauce. Fourtionatley for me, the Guajillo sauce wasn’t so spicy that it would make me cry my eyes out or seem overbearing on the meat. But they did have the option of adding habanero sauce on the side for the extra kick of heat. The corn tortilla was as if they freshly came off the Comal and didn’t have that instant masa flavor.

Fun fact #2: Tortilla originated from the word Torta and Torte  late Latin which meant a  “flat cake” and “round loaf of bread.” (Torte (n.))

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Don Barriga, El Plomo, and  El Muro Taco

El Plomo Taco is filled with sliced skirt steak, caramelized onions, roasted cherry tomatoes, and cilantro, with a corn tortilla to hold it all together. The steak was very juicy with an amazing seasoning that complimented well with the sweet onions. The cherry tomatoes and cilantro added a freshness to the tacos that had me begging for more.

Don Barriga is a simple taco made out of Pork Confit and Pico de GalloPico de Gallo (beak of a rooster) has two ways it got its name such as people would eat it by “pinching pieces between the thumb and forefinger” (Herbst) or that “the name might allude to the bird feed-like texture and appearance of the mince.” (Bayless) The pico de gallo did have a balance flavored of lime and cilantro which made the taco refreshing. The pork was nicely seasoned but it did remind more of a Cuban seasoning then Mexican. The taco was a nice light, small, and refreshing taco that I could see myself gravitate towards when I want something to eat but that isn’t so heavy.

 

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Arroz con Leche

 

So one of my favorite Dulces (sweets) or homecooked desserts is Arroz Con Leche (Rice Pudding). The rice pudding at this establishment wasn’t the best one I have ever had yet as Abuelita (grandma) would say “No habla mal de nadie.” The pudding was a bit runny, it could’ve been shimmered a bit more so it could have been dense. To be fair who can ever compete with homemade ones made by Mom or Abuelita especially when its fresh out the pot (or I prefer it that way anyway).  Plomo‘s Arroz con Leche was cold with vanilla undertones and a dash of cinnamon. Nothing significant but also not bland it’s just adequate.

Although some of these ingredients have been modernized in its combination, we still use the same traditional methods of cooking the food. It is very interesting how Mexican food has been part of the United States, which keeps expanding from its roots and taking on a new creation and form. Mexican food became an integral part of some regions of America like Texas and California yet it seems to have spread all over the nation and the world. At a first glance, Mexican food may seem like a typical or staple standard of a Hispanic dish but if that were the case then technically speaking I and many other Hispanics have been eating Mexican food and only Mexican food our whole life. Latino food is very diverse, however, Mexico is a big name and country when it is mentioned in relation to Latin America that it would make sense to make such assumptions. In spite of that some dishes, even within Mexico, may vary significantly depending on the region.

This leads to not only the change of Mexican food in the United States but globally it has been diversified and open to interpretation by the world. This has lead to the multiple creations of different fusions like Chinese-Mexican, Korean- Mexican, French-Mexican, and the list goes on. The fusions mentioned above have been brought and presented in Miami, New York, and a majority of the Nation at this point because of migration and social media. Tacos may have been changed with the seasoning of the meat and even the execution of its presentation but one thing usually stays the same and that is the Tortilla. Some tortillas might be more ingeniousness or classical, like in Plomo they have various degrees of tortillas like of Maiz (Corn), Harina (Flour), and Dorado (Fried).
Fun Fact #3: Maiz came from the “language native to Hispaniola, the island of Haiti and the Dominican Republic word for the plant, mahiz.”(Dean)
Eating at Plomo Tequilla and Taco Bar, reminded me a bit of when I have visited Mexico City a couple of times during my life and eaten at various taco stands on the street. Except for the food not being as greasy, the restaurant in a more gentrified area, and with a hipster vibe. The atmosphere is very chill, welcoming, and family oriented so everyone is gladly received. Whether you would like to sit outside, at the bar, or a nice table under the plant-cover ceiling with lights intertwined you will be accommodated. The food does well in keeping the root authentic flavors of Mexico while adding its own little twist of Miami. So I recommend it to anyone in the Miami or Coral Gables area especially those visiting. You won’t regret it!

 

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Inside of the Restaurant

 

Work Cited

Bayless, Rick, et al. Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico. W. Morrow, 1987.

Buch, Clarissa.”Plomo Tequila & Taco Bar Launches Weekend Mexican Brunch.” Miami New Times, Miami New Times, 25 Aug. 2017.

Dean, Sam. “The Etymology of the Word ‘Corn’.” Bon Appétit, Bon Appétit, 11 July 2013. 

Herbst, Sharon Tyler, and Ron Herbst. The Deluxe Food Lover’s Companion. 2nd ed., Barrons Educational Series Inc., 2009.

 Huang, Yong. Learning Spanish Words through Etymology and Mnemonics. Xlibris, 2016.

Plomo. “Plomo – Tequila y Taco Bar.” Plomo, plomotacobar.com/#menu.

Spiegel, Alison. “Think You Know Where Tacos Al Pastor Come From? Think Again.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017.

Torte (n.).” Online Etymology Dictionary, Online Etymology Dictionary.