Taco Loco is inside Plaza de los Mariachis, right in front of the Cabo Wabo Cantina. I'm not sure how Sammy Hagar keeps his place in business, because the aromas coming from Taco Loco cannot be ignored.If the aromas don't draw you in, then the charming outdoor ambiance surely will. There are little wooden tables and festive music as you dine outside, right in the middle of the marketplace.
Taco Loco's food is fresh and delicious. We sampled so many delicious dishes (fish tacos, shrimp tacos, grilled shrimp, chicken burritos, bean and cheese nachos, and some of the most delicious margaritas). However, my very favorite thing was the salsa bar. When the waiter delivered your plate he would give you a bowl for salsa and toppings. Or, you could simply take your plate over to the salsa bar and load up. There was a rainbow of salsas and toppings to chose from!
Lucky for me, I happened to try their Pico de Gallo on our first day there because it was CRAZY good! I'd never been much of a salsa/pico fan before, but this stuff was life-changing! It was screaming with fresh flavor and just the right amount of heat. I found myself craving it enough that I had to go to Taco Loco for a daily fix. Each visit I would fill my salsa bowl to capacity and put that pico on everything I possibly could.
I vowed to make Pico when I came home from vacation, but I wanted to wait until I could get my hands on some fresh summer tomatoes. This recipe comes from the king of Mexican cooking, Rick Bayless, and it is pretty spot on. It takes some time to chop all the ingredients, but it is so worthwhile. This seems like a simple, already done-that kind of recipe, but a bowl of salsa like this is very inspiring. You will find yourself wanting to put this salsa on everything.
I turned a rather boring meal of grilled chicken, white rice, and smashed black beans into a real fiesta by adding a scoop of this salsa. Later that night, I made a plate of nachos with chicken, beans, cheese and salsa on top, which the kids went crazy for. Then in the morning I topped my scrambled eggs with the salsa. My bowl of salsa was empty in no time. Now I'm back to stalking my tomato plants and dreaming of Cabo!
Salsa Mexicana Classica
(Essential Tomato-Serrano Salsa)
by Rick Bayless
found on Epicurious
Makes 2 cups
12 ounces (2 medium-small round or 4 or 5 plum) ripe tomatoes
Fresh serrano chiles to taste (roughly 3 to 5, 1/2 to 1 ounce total, or even more if you like it really picante), stemmed
A dozen or so large sprigs of cilantro
1 large garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped (optional)
1 small (4-ounce) white onion
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
Salt, about 3/4 teaspoon
Core the tomatoes, then cut in half widthwise and squeeze out the seeds if you wish (it will give the sauce a less rustic appearance). Finely dice the flesh by slicing it into roughly 1/4-inch thick pieces, then cutting each slice into small dice. Scoop into a bowl.
Cut the chiles in half lengthwise (wear rubber gloves if your hands are sensitive to the piquancy of the chiles) and scrape out the seeds if you wish (not only will this make the salsa seem less rustic, but it will make it a little less picante). Chop the chiles as finely as you can, then add them to the tomatoes. Carefully bunch up the cilantro sprigs, and, with a sharp knife, slice them 1/16-inch thick, stems and all, working your way down from the leafy end until you run out of leaves. Scoop the chopped cilantro into the tomato mixture along with the optional garlic. Next, finely dice the onion with a knife (a food processor will turn it into a sour mess), scoop it into a small strainer, then rinse it under cold water. Shake to remove the excess water and add to the tomato mixture. Taste and season with lime juice and salt, and let stand if you have a little time, for the flavors to meld before using or scooping into a salsa dish and serving.