Uno Taqueria

Uno Taqueria

A conversation between Humberto Chavolla and Marlon Chevez, friends with culinary backgrounds who were reminiscing about genuine Mexican tacos – which are quite different from the “crunchy” Americanized version piled with chopped iceberg lettuce – sparked the idea of partnering to create an authentic taco eatery in the western Allentown suburb of Lower Macungie Township. The tantalizing result is Uno Taqueria, which offers a wide selection of regional tacos, as well as quesadillas, empanadas, burritos, bowls, and vampiros – open-face tortillas with melted cheese and a choice of meat topping. 

The restaurant’s hugely popular signature The restaurant’s hugely popular signature specialty, Tacos Al Pastor – which appears on their logo – is prepared with pork roasted on a vertical rotisserie called a trompo, which basically translates to “spinning top.” After a large pork shoulder, marinated in orange juice, pineapple juice, mild ancho and guajillo peppers, and subtly flavored annatto – a vibrant red seasoning made from achiote tree seeds – is placed on the roasting spit, a fresh peeled pineapple is speared onto the top, allowing warmed juices from the fruit to drip onto the meat as it cooks. As the slowly rotating pork becomes succulently browned, thin slices of tender meat are cut from the sides – ready for tacos or other dishes – and the newly exposed surface continues to roast to perfection.

Hand-pressed corn torillas, made in-house from gluten-free masa (corn flour) dough, serve as the base for all tacos, which are served 3-to-an-order – making them great for mix-and-match sharing. Simple toppings on Tacos Al Pastor include chopped white onions, chopped cilantro, and fresh pineapple slices. Add salsa for another dimension of flavor, though don’t expect to find the kind of chunky tomato salsa found on grocery store shelves. Eight types of diverse salsas with a pourable consistency, ranging from peanut to tamarind, are prepared from scratch each day. Heat levels range from mild to scorching. Chavallo explains that in Mexico the repute of a taco eatery is judged as much by quality of the salsas as the foods they adorn – and these eye-opening options will definitely awaken and stimulate the palate.   

For an ultra-refreshing accompaniment to a meal, order a Mexican-style shaved ice slushie, offered in mango and other rotating flavors. Rather than being mixed in a blender, these south-of-the-border treats are crafted the traditional way, with tiny bits of ice hand-shaved from a large block. And the slushie just keeps getting better as it melts in the cup, going from dessert to drink – an unbeatable two-in-one delight. 

SPECIAL DIET MENU ITEM

Vegetarians in search of new and delicious flavor options can order Tacos Cauliflower & Nopales. The latter item, chopped prickly pear cactus paddles, are chopped and made into a salad with white onions, tomatoes, and cilantro. The grilled cauliflower and cactus salad get scooped into a trio of fresh corn tortillas, and are finished with cotija cheese, thinly sliced radish, and avocado mousse – a smooth puree of avocados lightly flavored with cilantro. For a different take on nopales, try the well-packed Vegetarian Burrito, boasting a satisfying array of tastes and textures.

THE AMBIANCE

Warm wood paneling that stretches across a long wall above banguette seating, fronted by tables and chairs, sets a soothing mood for casual repast. The open kitchen opposite provides alluring aromas and allows guests to view food being prepped in a spotless environment. Bring your favorite beer, wine, or tequila to this friendly BYOB. Take-out is easy and efficient by ordering from the website. Catering services are also available. Those inspired to delve deeper into Mexican cuisine (and spirits) can visit Chavolla’s full-service restaurant, Casa Catrina, in nearby Macungie. 

Birra Tacos

INGREDIENTS

For the meat:
3 lbs. beef loin
1 1/2 T salt
1 T pepper
1 tsp. ground cumin

For the consomé (broth):
4 dried ancho chiles
4 dried guajillo chiles
1 dried chipotle chile
1 T + 1 T cooking oil of choice
1/2 large white onion, chopped
4 red tomatoes, rough chopped
2 cloves
8 cloves garlic
8 peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. marjoram
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 1/2 T salt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
2 cups water

Optional for serving:
Tortillas
Chopped white onion
Chopped cilantro
Salsa of choice
Fresh lime wedges

DIRECTIONS
Season the meat with salt, pepper and cumin, cover and set aside. Remove stems from dried chiles, cut open, and remove the seeds. Place 1 tablespoon of oil and chiles in a sauté pan and gently fry over low heat for several minutes, being careful not to burn. Transfer the chiles to a small pot of boiling water sufficient to cover the peppers and simmer for about 10 minutes until softened. Remove from heat and cool until tepid.

In the same pan used to heat the chiles, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil over medium heat and cook the onions and tomatoes until onions are soft. Add the chiles (including the cooking water), tomatoes, onions, cloves, garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, apple cider vinegar, marjoram, oregano, salt, cumin, and 2 cups water to a blender and process until smooth. (The mixture will be thick). Strain, discard solids, and set aside.

Pour the sauce over the meat in a large bowl and cover. Marinate in the fridge for at least 2 hours. Transfer the meat and the marinade to a large stockpot, cover, and cook over medium heat for three hours until the meat is tender and easily shredded. (There’s no need to turn the meat over during cooking.)

How to serve: Remove the meat from the pot and shred. You can then 1) serve it over a bowl of broth from the pot, or 2) serve it in tortillas as tacos, embellished with cilantro, onions, salsa and lime juice. The broth may be served on the side for dipping.

Serves 10

 

UNO TAQUERIA
1042 MILL CREEK ROAD
ALLENTOWN
UNOTAQUERIA.COM
484-221-8639

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