So, Rob and I have been on this peculiar "taco kick" lately. Not just any tacos, mind you, but the kind that most self respecting gringos turn up their nose at. Over the past few months, our tastes have moved from the well known and always delicious pastor, carnitas and kastacan to the more "adventuresome" offerings. The guts, the nasty bits, offal to you brave foodies out there. Send us your stomach, your intestines, your thymus, your tongue and we will gladly have them fried in lard, heaped on a warm corn tortilla and sprinkled with onion and cilantro. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! I was certain I had found tripa heaven at Senor Taco on 45th by Chedraui until I wandered into Taqueria Gomez.

 Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen

Tacos Gomez has popped up on my radar screen several times in the past year. It has been mentioned in the forums on Chowhound, Trip Advisor and in a few trip reports on popular regional websites like In The Roo and  My curiosity had certainly been peaked but, until just last week, I had never made the effort to venture in. Truth be told, I was on my way to pick up a couple dozen tacos cabeza de res to bring home from neighboring taqueria, Billy the Kid when I had trouble finding a parking spot on Calle 4. I rounded the corner to the colectivo stand on Calle 2 and slid into a spot just in front of Gomez. Immediately, the smell of hot fried meat drew me in for a look see. The hand painted sign on the grill hood told me everything I needed to know! Let's go through the menu, item by item.

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen

Suadero - A thin, lean strip of beef that hangs from the b.reast bone of the cow. Commonly marinated in lime juice and grilled, sauted or fried. This is a user friendly taco topping. Utilizing my new highly scientific method for ranking taco fillings for the uninitiated, I call it the "Libby Scale", this would rate a 2. 1 being the most common, least offensive "meats", 10 being the most foreign and and potentially frightening.

Res Enchilada - Lean tender slices of beef, thinly cut and fried in pork fat (yes, lard) and seasoned with chili. This is a slightly spicy offfering that might challenge tender palettes thus earning a 4 on the scale.

Maciza - One of the most common and best loved taco fillings, this is soft, tender pork cooked slowly in pork fat and chopped up. This is a standard in the carnitas line-up and should be a winner with everyone (unless you're Jewish, in which case, this whole experience is pretty much a wash). Let's give Maciza a 1.

Tripa Suave - Literally translates to soft tripe which is the stomach and intestines of a cow. The tripe is looked slowly in pork fat until it is soft. The flavor of this tripa variety is not "organ-like" at all. If you are feeling brave and want to try something different, I recommend a taco topped with a mixture of maciza and tripa suave. I do not find the texture off-putting at all, but as you may run across a gummy piece, this taco treat pulls a 6.

Buche - Think Tripa Suave only with pork stomach. Same preparation and appearance. Very similar texture and flavor. Again, I would recommend you give this a try. Buche gets a 6 on the "Libby Scale". We love this one too.

Lengua - In this case, cow tongue. Boiled then slowly cooked in pork fat (as all the best things are) the tongue loses all of its tougher connective tissue becoming soft and really taking on the flavor of beef. Can you still tell it's tongue? Yes. For the squeamish who just can't past the idea of eating tongue, we'll give lengua a 7.

Seso - Cow brains. Anyone worried about mad cow disease need not venture into this culinary territory. Cow brains, boiled and, you guessed it, cooked in pork fat. Sadly, they have not had any available on my last two visits. I had the good fortune to be served lamb brains during a trip in Australia, so I will rate Seso based on this experience. I loved the lamb brains. Libby will not. I give Seso an 8.

Chorizo - The ubiquitous sausage made from ground pork (yes, all the nasty bits too) and seasoned with garlic, onion, chili and paprika. This can be a bit spicy for some but in general most people find Chorizo unobjectionable. On the "Libby Scale", Chorizo ranks about a 3, very doable.

Tripa Dorada - Literally "Gilt Tripe" named for the golden color it takes on when grilled. I think this is the most challenging of the offerings at Tacos Gomez and the only one I have not reordered. These intestines are grilled up in their entirety and then chopped up just before serving. At times crunchy, at times chewy and tasting a bit like over-cooked liver, these were not my favorite. The "Libby Scale" will peg these at a solid 9.

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen
These guys are proud of the food they put out and they should be.

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen
If you don't like your foods comingling...don't look!!

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen
Corn tortillas dipped in fat and warmed on the griddle. Yummm.

Tacos Gomez in Playa del Carmen
Heaven on a plate!

There are several tables inside Tacos Gomez so you can sit and enjoy and just order as you go, or you can take them home with you. The tacos all come liberally sprinkled with chopped white onion and cilantro and you have your choice of two housemade salsas. One is a mild green sause made with tomatillos, lime juice, onion, cilantro and avocado. The second is a picante tomato puree with chiles, onion, cilantro and lime. This one packs a whallop so, as not to obliterate the flavor of the meats (and your taste buds), use it sparingly. They serve ice cold sodas and water but there is no liquor license, so you may have to smuggle in your own cervezas. Conveniently located just two blocks off of 5th in the dead center of town, Tacos Gomez, should absolutly be on your list of places to try if you are looking for a authentic Mexican dining experience. Don't be surprized if you find us there. We are hooked!




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