Taco Tryst: Taquitos Carlitos in Victor is a naughty taco mistress

By on October 18, 2017

As a Texan, it doesn’t take a lot to get me excited about tacos. I love tacos. It’s bred into my southern blood. It does take a lot to get me to stay excited about tacos, and I wasn’t sure that would happen in western Wyoming.

I was wrong. Thanks to Taquitos Carlitos in Victor, I’m officially excited about tacos. Carlitos, whoever he is, has renewed my faith in Wyoming-bred Mexican food. I love you, Carlitos.

If you’re not familiar with the little taco spot that sits just over the hill, it’s time to remedy that. The nondescript white building is a short jaunt from Jackson, situated right off the main drag in Victor across from Knotty Pines.

A relative restaurant newbie — Taquitos Carlitos first opened its doors in September 2016 — this little taco joint should be a big contender on your must-eats list. It will blow your taco-loving mind.

I stepped foot in the taco joint last week, lured in by the promise of taco talk via the restaurant’s catchy slogan: “Let’s TACO bout it,” which is splayed prominently across the sign.

The first thing I noticed when I pulled open the door was the delicious waft of one of my favorite scents: tortillas and taco fillings. The second was how heavy the door was.

It slammed shut – loudly – with some help from the wind right after I stepped inside.

“Ha! You mad today?” joked the guy behind the counter.

“I mean, I am now,” I said. But that was a lie. No one can be mad when there are delicious-smelling tacos only feet away. I just needed an excuse for slamming the door.

While neither the menu nor the seating options are extensive in Taquitos Carlitos. The restaurant seating area has space for about four or five tables, and there are a handful of barstools pushed up against the counter where orders are placed. Still, what Taquitos Carlitos lacks in seating, it makes up for in spades with the quality of its dishes.

I plopped down on one of the bar stools to take in my options – sweet al pastor (pork) tacos, asada – or beef steak, if you’re not familiar – and even lengua, which for you non-Spanish speakers means tongue, are all taco filling options here.

Growing up in south Texas, I’ve had my fill of lengua and tripas, and to be quite honest, I’m not a huge fan of either. (Although I’m sure if you’re adventurous enough, Taquitos Carlitos does them right.)

“What would you recommend?” I asked the server behind the counter, crossing my fingers that he didn’t recommend tongue.

“Definitely al pastor,” he said, referring to the sweet pork filling.

“If you don’t like it you can throw it back in my face,” he said.

Seemed a little harsh, but also like a good gamble. Being a journalist is stressful, and worst case if I hated the tacos, I would get to start a food fight.

I ordered an al pastor taco, an asada taco and a chicken taco with rice and beans to go. Less than ten minutes later, I was out the door, $9 poorer with tacos in hand.

Once I’d settled back in at my decrepit apartment, I unwrapped my goodies, ready to revel in my newfound treasures.

This is going to sound odd, but it’s worth mentioning: Aside from the banging job Taquitos Carlitos does with it’s food, those guys also really know how to wrap up some tacos. I was genuinely surprised at just how neat the packaging was.

To-go Mexican food is always a gamble. The containers can sweat, causing the fragile taco shells or tortillas to crumble under the weight. That didn’t happen with these tacos, though, thanks to the expert wrap-up.

A row of tinfoil had been carefully placed on top of the tacos, rice and beans to separate the lime wedges for safekeeping, and despite my commute down an unpaved road (thanks, Driggs!) not a single grain of rice had spilled into the other designated to-go areas of the container.

As I unwrapped my prized taco possessions, I was even more impressed. Homemade corn tortillas? Check. A small bag of homemade chips? Check. Two salsas, lettuce and tomato neatly stacked alongside my tacos and an extra container of beans? Check, check and check. I said this earlier, but it bears repeating: love you, Taquito Carlitos, whoever you are.

Things only continued to go well post-taco unveiling.

One bite of the al pastor taco and it became clear why the guy behind the counter would make such a bold taco gamble. He knew – KNEW – there was no way I’d throw such a delicious taco back in his face.

While technically categorized as a “sweet” pork taco, that label is a bit of a misnomer. The meat, which is cooked to a tenderness that allows it to fall apart in your mouth, does have a hint of sweetness to it, but there’s also the perfect hint of spice, and neither are overwhelming. The two flavors play together so nicely, especially when wrapped up in the homemade corn tortillas that come out of Carlitos’ kitchen.

The asada taco — mirrored after the savory meat, cilantro and onion street tacos available on nearly every corner in Mexico — was equally solid. It can be surprisingly easy to overwhelm an asada taco with too much onion or cilantro, but the ratio used by Carlitos’ cooks is just right. I didn’t even bother to slather it in salsa, something I’ve found necessary with any asada taco purchased outside of Texas’ border towns.

Nice work, Carlitos.

The chicken taco was pretty darn good too, although the shredded white meat chicken is slightly too Americanized for my taste. (I know, I know…I’m a taco snob.) I’d probably swap it out for more al pastor next time, although there wasn’t anything really wrong with it. I’m just officially on the al pastor wagon, and I ain’t goin’ back.

This little taco spot is definitely worth the drive over the hill, and certainly worth the $9 or so it’ll set you back to load up on tacos. Between the epic wrapping, the carefully crafted tortillas and that unbelievable al pastor, Taquitos Carlitos gets it just right, which is why they get every bit of my taco lovin’ heart. PJH

Taquitos Carlitos is located at 57 S Main St in Victor.

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