There is a fabulous new “taco stand” in town. La Calaca Tacos y Cerveza opened a few months ago and offers some of the tastiest tacos in San Carlos. This cute little place is not only pleasing to the palate but is an aesthetic beauty. Proprietors, Frank and Lisa, are owner of two lovely restaurants located on the beach so they truly know how to build successful businesses.
La Calaca offers a delicious variety of tacos and bowls along with steaks that are to die for. El Pastor tacos filled with slow roasted pork, cilantro, pineapple and onions melt in your mouth. While the Carne Asada wrapped in homemade corn tortillas shows off the famous Sonoran beef and delicious guacamole.
Not a meat lover? Go for the Baja Fish or my personal favorite, Seared Shrimp rolled in flour tortillas topped with spicy coleslaw and pico. Vegetarians do not fear, the Cawliflower (yes, it is spelled that way on the menu) or Portobello options will squelch your hunger. Not interested in tortillas at all? Then order a bowl. The mouthwatering bowls have the same insides as the La Calaca tacos but are served over a combined bed of beans, rice, quinoa, guacamole, pico and/or coleslaw depending on the order. Beef lovers can select from three Sonoran steak cuts. All are tender as well as scrumptious and accompanied by grilled onions and tortillas giving them a fajita like vibe. Quesadillas, chorizo queso, black beans, rice or Mexican corn cocktail on the side offer a tasty bonus. The salsas range from mild to super hot and add just the right flavor to everything.
Feeling like something sweet? Top off the meal with caramel stuffed churros with ice cream. These Mexican desserts are NOTHING like the long, doughy, cinnamon covered donut sticks we’ve all purchased from amusement park vendors. These pasteles (pastries) are so delicious they are almost sinful. Honestly, all of the items on La Calaca’s menu provide an explosion of flavor to your mouth.
As the name of the restaurant states, cold cerveza adds to the experience. A variety of Mexican beers are offered including Tecate, Bohemia and more. A lengthy tequila list gives agave experts many options from which to choose. Mocktails, lemonade and agua fresca are a favorite among the young children and those wanting a lighter refreshment. A unique selection of special cocteles fills a portion of the menu but is not outdone by the extensive margarita list.
During our last visit, the drink special of the day was a Dragonrita. Afterall, when Dragon Fruit is in season one must figure out a way to include the delicious fruit into as many meals as possible. Drinks are served on top of wood burned coasters matching the La Calca logo. On our first visit to the restaurant Lisa admitted she did not expect the coasters to hang around for long expecting they would “walk away” with customers. Indeed by our second trip they were a thing of the past. The lack of a coaster however does not change the way the drinks can quench your thirst in early October.
While the food is excellent, the decor of La Calaca steals the show. Customers are greeted by quirky, brightly painted La Calaca (Spanish for skeleton) murals gracing the side of the building. These were painted by one of the local artists in San Carlos. Above the high top tables in the outdoor seating area festive papel picado (cut paper banners) wave overhead in the breeze.
The floor has been painted with a Mexican pattern in a deep terracotta color. On top of the tables customers find small succulents and cacti sprouting from the head of brightly painted, white Don Juilo skulls.
The interior of La Calaca displays comical spooflike versions of famous works of art in which the original subjects have been replaced by, what else, La Calacas. These paintings were completed by an artist from neighboring Guaymas. Brightly painted, welded metal skeletons dressed in finery watch over one corner of the interior. They came all the way from the Guadalajara arts district and seem to be waiting to take their seats among the guests.
Other metal hangings adorn the wall near the el banos. Perhaps the most unique pieces of art are two wall hangings. At first glance they look like paintings but taking a closer look you realize that these beautiful pieces are made using colored screws. Over 4,000 screws were used to create just one of the hangings.
Overhead blown glass Guadalajaran chandeliers take your breath away as they beautifully illuminate the inside dining area. Everywhere you look you find attention to detail in the way the owners captured Mexican culture and art.
La Calaca Tacos y Cerveza offers delicious food and a unique atmosphere as well as a place to gather with friends and family to enjoy time together. However, it is one of the only taco stands that does not offer the “American Taco Tuesday” experience. La Calaca intentionally set their restaurant schedule to allow their employees to have two days off during the traditional work week. So, Thursday through Monday feel free to drop in for La Calaca’s delicious Mexican fare. However, there will never be a Taco Tuesday special at this little gem of a restaurant.
October 19, 2020
“If you had to choose between eating tacos everyday or being skinny for life would you choose hard or soft tacos?”– Anyone who has every eaten a really great taco. 🙂