I wandered past the newish taco place in Crestline many times, trying not to be noticed as usual. A couple of things I noticed myself in my passing observations, though, that the place was hopping in the style of Crestline these days—busy and bustling with a mix of families with kids, but with a good bit of brew sloshing around, too, like I have seen before at LaPaz and Mafiaoza’s. And the place was busy, as though the crowds had adapted well, and quickly, to the change of scenery. I felt a little sorry for the now-forgotten previous occupant, but life goes on in Crestline Village.
The other thing that struck me from when I was a kid growing up around there with all the Crestline Elementary kids at the age when we thought it was cool to be juvenile delinquents is how many eating options there are in Crestline now. It is an actual food destination, if you can find your way there from Hoover -- when there used to just be a Pasquale’s Pizza. And Taco Mama is typical of the place insofar as there is not a chain eatery in the whole village. Not once will you enter a prize giveaway promotion by emailing corporate headquarters in Chicago.
And speaking of changes over time (Scarlet says that once I get on a subject I won’t get off it), I don’t know where the name came from because the tacos at Taco Mama are not like my mother used to make. I will confess, my mother is not Mexican, so we had papery taco shells from the grocery store, shredded iceberg non-nutritional lettuce, ground beef with some sort of Latino spice packet thrown in (not freshly ground, as I recollect).
My mother never made burritos filled with shrimp and fresh avocado, or gave us a choice of grilled or fried flounder, as they do at Taco Mama. Bunny gets the same thing every time. I have given up trying because she loves it.
I did a build your own burrito, and I made them bring me about five of the sauces on the side, with unusual combinations. I love it that you can get the fresh avocado on your burrito and still get guacamole on the side. Scarlet and the Country Girl both complained incessantly that I can never get too much of a good thing. Well how about a lime cilantro pesto that is more the consistency of wasabi but much smoother on your palate. And the tomatillo, nice and green with the seeds floating in it, was hot hot hot hot as it should be, but not a five alarm fire. Still, hot enough to keep the kids out of it with their double-dipping tendencies and send them running for water.
Well we could not keep the kids out of our little bowl of guacamole that they make fresh four times a day, with the fresh domestic ingredients. I’m pretty sure I tasted Vidalia onion in it.
And you thought Mexican food was supposed to come out of a wrapper fresh from the microwave!
At Taco Mama, Slow Food has come to Mexico, on Church Street in Crestline.
And you can sit outside and enjoy the spring-summer evenings. We even got rained on and thought that was fun while we were sitting under an awning as it was misting, but just when we were so proud of ourselves for being so brave and adventurous while everyone else packed it in and went inside, it started to pour.
I don’t mind so much getting soaked myself, though Bunny hates to lose her natural curl, much less get splattered from the street, but the deciding factor is I did not want my dark and tangy Pomegranate Margarita diluted with rainwater.
So we went inside to finish eating our shrimp burritos that are hard to beat even though Taco Mama has every filling from ground beef to grilled chicken to barbacoa. I just can’t get enough of that guacamole. You know it was invented by the Aztecs and existed when the Spanish first arrived there in the 1500s. But it has made the transition to Crestline pretty well, too, just like Taco Mama.