Last weekend I was in Watsonville for my monthly shopping trip to Target (we really need one in SC!). I've been there countless times and have always wondered about this unassuming place called La Zamorana. It was getting late into the afternoon and I hadn't really eaten, so decided to pop in to check the place out.
It's a casual but fairly spacious and clean room. In typical taqueria style, the menu is displayed on huge boards behind the counter. You order and pay there and items are brought to your table. I was pleasantly surprised by the menu, as it had meat choices listed that taquerias in SC don't have...lengua (tongue), cabeza (cheek), lomo (loin?), picadillo (minced beef?), birria (goat?), cueritos (pig's ears), queso de puerco (head cheese?). The familiar asada, al pastor, pollo, carnitas, chorizo, jamon, and camaron were also present.
It probably would have been best to order a sampling of tacos (a cheap $1.69 each) to try some of the interesting meats, but I was stuck on having a torta since I've never had one before. That limited my meat choices though, and feeling undecided, I hurriedly went w/ one of my known favorites...carnitas. I wanted to compare the carnitas w/ my favorite at Tacos Moreno.
Tortas are $3.75 and consist of a smallish oblong roll (not sure if it was an authentic bolillo) w/ meat, avocado, pickled jalapeno, tomato, iceberg lettuce, mayo. I had to take it to go. It was nicely wrapped and came w/ some house-fried chips and salsa verde. Service was slow given that the place only had a few late-lunch stragglers.
When I got home, the torta was still a little toasty, and the roll had nice griddle marks on top and bottom. The roll wasn't very plush and tasted very similar to a drier hamburger bun. I was neutral about it. The fillings were pretty modest, but the flavor of the meat was pretty good. Nice big chunks, moist, savory porkiness w/ a modest amount of grease. Not as good as Tacos Moreno carnitas, but adequate. I really liked the tart and spicy pickled jalapenos and mayo w/ the meat. It was like a Mexican-American burger of sorts. The chips were woefully stale; however, the flavor was really good, like they were fried in something w/ good flavor...I'm not familiar enough w/ lard to distinguish. The flavor was so good that I ate the whole stale lot. Salsa verde was unremarkable.
I'm glad I finally tried a torta, but that's not what will bring me back. Next time, I'll come prepared to sample a few tacos and see what they can do w/ these unusual meats. I may have to wait on the pig's ears, but I'm game for anything else. I'm fixated on trying birria for the first time. To note, they also have items like huevos rancheros ($4.99), chilaquiles ($4.99), pescado dorado or empanizado ($10.99), and several preps of camarones ($9.99). The super burrito that I saw them bring to another table was ENORMOUS!
PS. Anyone know what pambazos are?
1441 Main St.
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