I’m not being entirely tongue in cheek—or should I say, lengua en cachet—when I half-heartedly recommend tacos made with cabeza de vaca. As tasty as these traditional beef head tacos can be, I can’t help getting a bit of the heebie-jeebies with each bite. It can be enough to make a meat-loving American grasp the inherent beauty of rice and beans.
Now pork belly (the foundation for bacon) is another thing entirely, even if it’s not exactly an authentic or popular taco meat in Mexico. Cosecha’s chef-owner, Dominica Rice-Cisneros, credits Long Island chef Alex Lee for kickstarting the braised-and-crisped pork belly craze. But Dominica deserves plenty of kudos herself for tucking it into a tortilla and topping it with a halo of jalapeño and wisps of pickled red onion: The chile and vinegar cut right through the delicious pork fat. Dominica’s Oakland restaurant rejoices in home-style Mexican cuisine, using house-made tortillas and top-shelf ingredients. So I think it’s fair for her to stray from tradition a bit with the pork belly.
In fact, at the risk of being cheeky or biting my tongue, I say Cosecha’s modern tacos are head and shoulders above cabeza de vaca.
907 Washington St., Oakland, (510) 452-5900, cosechacafe.com. Lunch Mon.–Fri., dinner Mon.–Sat., brunch Sat.