There's no denying Orlando is still in the grip of taco madness; we've always had authentic taquerías hidden away if you knew where to look, but now it seems like yet another trendy new taco joint has popped up every time you log onto social media. As for the actual tacos, some are testaments to real taculinary skill. Some are what you might call "stunt tacos" (more about "can we?" than "should we?"). But all are part of the taco fabric of Orlando. Wave that flag!
- Black Rooster
Black Rooster Taqueria
Hear us out: You gotta try the off-menu pork fat taco at Black Rooster. No, no, if you're picturing a big lump of jiggly fat in a tortilla, you've got it all wrong; the cubes of fat filling this taco are crunchy and soft at the same time, savory, almost bacon-like. Wash it down with a Jarritos for a true Mexico City experience. 1323 N. Mills Ave., 407-601-0994; blackroostertaqueria.com
Chela Tequila & Tacos
The new kid on the block serves a bevy of noteworthy tacos, but it's the plush skirt steak taco with pineapple pico de gallo and salsa verde that we pick clean off the serving tray. Pro tips: Flour tacos are used by default, corn by request; and the sweet habañero salsa will lace every beefy bite with a fitting fuego. 183 S. Orange Ave., 407-985-5272, chelatacos.com
Cilantro's al pastor is somewhat untraditional, thanks to our state Department of Health's restrictive regulations on pork, which outlaw the trompo – or vertical spit – that is customary in Mexico City. For the same reason, chef Eduardo Hinojosa skips the pineapple that is also a traditional part of al pastor; it doesn't taste the same cooked on the griddle, he says. So, it may not be the tipico al pastor, but this combo of braised pork, onion and cilantro on a corn tortilla is good eating, particularly slathered with the house-made salsa verde. 1427 S. Bumby Ave., 321-247-5665, facebook.com/cilantrostaqueriaorlando
It's not what you'd call an authentic street taco experience, but Gringos' Double Ds are their most popular item – a double-decker treat consisting of queso spread on a soft tortilla and wrapped around a crunchy shell. What's inside doesn't matter, but it's your choice of meat, more cheese, lettuce, pico and sour cream. Multiple locations, gringoslocos.net