Santa Cruz Good Times

Thursday
Jul 24th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Sizzling Hot

dining_TampicosAt Mexican restaurants it is common to hear, and then smell, the fajitas passing by, sputtering and smoking in their cast iron pan. Who invented these meaty morsels may be in dispute, but from humble beginnings the dish has evolved into numerous delicious entrées.

It is said that vaqueros conceived the recipe in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. These Mexican cowboys would be partially paid with less desirable cuts of meat, including skirt steak, or faja which translates as "belt". These tough little belts were tenderized at length in acids such as lime juice, and cooked over a camp fire. In northern Mexico, a similar dish is called arracheras.

Fajitas became a Tex-Mex original in the 1970s. A decade later a German chef introduced "Sizzling Fajitas" at the Hyatt Regency in Austin, and the recipe spread throughout the chain. With such widespread popularity, and just eight pounds of skirt steak per animal, other marinated meats were added to the skillet.

Last week I enjoyed lunch at Tampico Kitchen and Lounge. My grandparents introduced me to Tampico as a teenager, and I would later bring college friends to what was then a tiny, dark room. Today, colorful murals grace the walls in both the restaurant and lounge.

Scanning the menu, I hoped the Chicken Fajita Tostada ($10.95) would make a light, nutritious lunch. Served on a large oval platter, the tender, steaming, grill-marked chicken strips were arranged on the slopes of a large hill of romaine lettuce, topped with chunky guacamole made with tomatoes, and pico de gallo with crunchy white onions. Freshly sliced mushrooms, red bells, strips of crisp jicama, and diced oranges were lightly dressed with vinaigrette. As I dug farther down, black beans, cheese and a blue corn tortilla added even more tasty substance.


Tampico Kitchen and Lounge, 822 Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz, 458-0234. Full bar. Open weekdays at 11 a.m., weekends at 9 a.m. Serving dinner until 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Visit tampicokitchen.net/

 

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Mars Enters Scorpio: The Nine Tests

Over the years I’ve mentioned the nine tests of Mars and Scorpio. The tests are given to everyone—unawakened, beginning to awaken, and the awakened. The purpose is to test our strength, courage, ability to adapt, discriminate and have discernment. To see if we are deceived by illusion or are “warriors triumphant, emerging from the battle.”

 

Final Cut

Cedar Street Video to close after 10 years at downtown location

 

Roger That

The late film critic Robert Ebert profiled in lively doc, ‘Life Itself’

 

The Maestra Returns

Cabrillo Festival’s Marin Alsop is back to ‘rock the boat of tradition’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Time is Ripe

Local fruit harvests hit markets, Storrs Winery celebrates ‘Best White’, and a salt fix from heaven

 

I remember Santa Cruz when…

Santa Cruz | Librarian

 

Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX

 

Hunter Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Smooth with soft tannins, this velvety crimson Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 is delicious and very drinkable.