This little joint was across the street from the garage that was servicing my vehicle. The name makes it pretty clear what to expect. Of course they do offer other items but I was here for the tacos, and maybe a burrito.
The place is small but bright and clean with a rather extensive menu. All of the items are on a board and you order at the counter pay and pick up when your number is called. I got there a little past 11 and they already had customers. From the time I arrived until the time I left they had a constant stream of customers. Mostly ordering take out.
I ordered 2 tacos. One pork and one beef. I got them topped with cilantro and onion only for $2 each. You could also get them with the whole Taco Bell garden but to me cilantro and onion are enough.
The amount of meat used was amazing. Granted they use a 4 inch tort but the ratio of meat to tortilla was impressive. They offer 2 sauces. One green and one red. That is what you see on top. I found both tacos to be delicious. The pulled pork butt was a touch dry but that was rectified by the sauce. The steak had a chile presence that gave it a bit of heat. I know I have a tendency to over state when I really like something but Damn those were some great tacos.
Naturally my eyes were bigger than my appetite so I ordered a small burrito as well. I went with a ground beef. They added lettuce and tomato inside with the beef and cheese. That too was a hit. I think I would have appreciated it more had it been the first thing I ate.
I know I will be back. A taco this good for only 2 bucks cannot be ignored.
The City Market is a piece of Indianapolis history. Originally it was an open area that had stalls for merchants to sell meat, fish and produce. In 1886 a large brick building was erected to make it a one stop shopping place. Similar to a modern grocery store.
The Market is now a large two-story building that houses several vendors that sell ready to eat food, fruits and veggies and specialty snacks. The Tamale Place has its first facility out west. A place that I never have had an opportunity to go to. So when they opened the outlet at the City Market I was more than glad to check it out.
They offer more than tamales, but to me tamales are the Greatest food ever from south of the border. Well, with a taco a close second. Since I was solo I wanted to try both their red and green variety. And what is a trip to a Latin style joint without a taco? I ordered a red pork tamale and a green chicken tamale and a steak taco. Since I am forced to admit to the “aging” of my belly I got the mild salsa. I just can’t handle hot chiles any more.
Let’s talk taco. Their tacos are $2.99 and they certainly don’t mess around with the amount of meat they use.
I probably should have taken the picture before adding the salsa. This just doesn’t show the large amount of steak used. I don’t think I have ever had this much steak in one taco before. And every morsel was tender and tasty. Also the mild was too mild. In the future I think I will opt for the hot stuff.
Now, for that most noble of corn creations the Tamale.
Their regular tamales are $3.49 and you should be advised that they are 8 ounce monsters, not the 4 or 6 ounce deals that you normally get. They offer smaller versions called sliders, but they offer them in limited varieties. The first one I tried was the red chile pork.
Like the taco they were not at all stingy with the pork filling. And like the taco the pig was tender and had great flavor it just needed more intensity, more heat. Of course I realized the solution after I finished the pork and moved on to the chicken.
When you bite into the chicken tamale you really taste slow cooked chicken at its best. To me it was reminiscent of a piece of chicken out of a pot of chicken and dumplings. Once again their tomatillo sauce was missing heat. While pondering the situation I realized the answer was right there all along on the menu board. For a quarter you can get a 2 oz. portion of red or green sauce, mild or hot.
Next time I think I can see an Xmas tamale with my name on it. So should anyone from the Tamale Place read this I tip my hat to you folks for constructing a beautiful tamale.
I CAME HERE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING….
Yeah…Tacos. To me tacos are the ultimate food carrier of the New World. Every culture has a carbohydrate cab designed to transfer various proteins from Point A to Point B. Where Point B is your mouth. Be it leavened or unleavened. Call it naan, tortilla, pita, or lavash it serves the same purpose. In this part of the country it is the tortilla. Flour or corn. Different load, same purpose. The flour tortilla is generally used for a burritos. Consider that the SUV of protein transport. The corn is typically used for a taco. Consider that more like a compact car. I love tacos but I was a little hesitant trying this particular joint. From the reviews it was a hip and trendy place on the most hip and trendy street in town. Massachusetts Avenue. From experience it is usually the hip and trendy places that try too hard on their food and pretty much fail. So I had to try this place because the menu was straight forward and provocative. I also made it a solo trip because Pat doesn’t like onions; and sometime onions are essential in a dish.
One semi quick remark regarding the name. It is called Bakersfield as an homage to a certain type of country music “developed” in Bakersfield California. I think this style is best represented by the song “Streets of Bakersfield” most famously recorded by Buck Owens and Dwight Yokam. I was rather taken aback upon entering. I was led to believe that the place would be overrun by hipsters, and the din of Johnny Cash would be overwhelming. Well. The place was loud; from business types talking. The music was very subdued. Sitting at the bar I ordered a $2 PBR. Much to my chagrin it came in a typical pint glass. Again, the reviews led me to believe that it would come in a Cowboy Boot Schooner. However the bartender told me they had all been stolen. Oh well. It was only 2 bucks. The tacos are $3 & $4 each. Which sounds reasonable. I knew going in that I would only eat 3 or 4 tacos. Hell I gotta’ watch my weight. On the first course I ordered a Mole and a Pastor. The first thing you notice is the size of the tortillas. They are small, more in the sub compact category. They are made in-house and are pretty tasty, but the size brings into question the value. Also both portions of meat could have used a lot more sauce, they were a little on the dry side. Also I really had trouble differentiating between the two dishes, after digging out a taste from under the copious quantity of toppings. Although the selections were apt. Fresh cilantro, pickled onions etc. too much can detract from the main ingredient.
The Pastor is top left, the one with the chopped pineapple. I wish I had thought to add an element for scale in order to demonstrate the size.
My last pick was the chicken braised in tomatillo sauce and topped with a guajillo chile salsa as well as the usual toppings. On the website this particular dish is called Pollo Verde. For some reason it was changed to Pollo Rojo and the quajillo salsa was added. Curious. It would appear as if the chicken is roasted in a tomatillo sauce and the resultant meat is shredded and then tossed with the chile sauce not just topped. It too was a little on the dry side and it was hard to detect any distinct taste. The change in recipe begs the question. Why even use tomatillos if you are going to hide their flavor with the quajillo?
Yeah I started eating before I took the shot. Like that’s the first time I did that. So in a nut shell their tacos are not bad they just need to be bold with the sauces. In my opinion the only way you could differentiate between the dishes is by the toppings. Step up with the flavors of the chiles. Be bold. I think they did try too hard to be a true taqueria. They didn’t fail, they just didn’t totally succeed.However I can almost see this whole idea being franchised. Sort of like an “upscale” Qdoba; with alcohol. If that is the plan Good Luck. One thing is certain when you eat here you are getting the best taco on Mass. Ave.https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1980&preview=true