MexiCali Ice Cream. (Horchata Ice Cream with Dulce de Leche Swirl)
Blame this resurgence of Ice Cream Week on a taco truck. A taco truck after 1:00 a.m. in an exceptionally interesting part of Los Angeles that would most definitely be impossible to find again during the day in a normal state of mind. Parked next to an electrical box in a v-shaped parking lot at the corner of an intersection that boasted many neon signs for cars, different sorts of random items, and a lot of Spanish, the truck was surrounded by various people in different states of being. Most stood around with plates eating little three inch tacos.
And while I backed down from the tongue—lengua— taco in a cowardly and sober way, I did try a bit of the head taco and the grilled onions, both of which were delicious, greasy, spicy and appreciably salty without being over powering. The meat was mounted on a vertical spit and the tacos were assembled by a surprisingly large number of people crammed into a standard sized truck. One would pull the tortilla out of the steamer, another would hold it under the spit and slice of sheets of meat which then fell a foot or two to the tortilla. The taco then got a sprinkling of herbs and spices, finished off by a pile of grilled onions. But the last man, the man who hand the dollar tacos out the window, also distributed Styrofoam cups of horchata, which, on a hot LA night, is quite literally perfect.
Having never tried horchata—again a major fail in the adventurous palette department—mostly due to an overwhelming but still highly irrational fear of fruit and even the slightest possibility that horchata may taste like bananas, I was shocked. The first sip was slow, and surprising. Horchata is everything I love, except sucked through the narrow vein of straw for maximum ease. It’s cool, sweet, refreshing, and slightly spicy. It’s light. And while I still have a great dislike of fruit, I’ve been kicking myself ever since for not giving horchata a try sooner.
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