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Gio Dos Santos Has Opened a Taqueria… in Barcelona

Gio Dos Santos, one of the better-known Mexican football internationals recently joined the L.A. Galaxy, after a career in Europe including three seasons at Spanish club Villarreal. He originally came up through F.C. Barcelona, so perhaps it's not entirely surprising that he has ties to that city. Still, we were astonished when Pablo Enrigue, a Mexican blogger living in Barcelona and living the taco lifestyle to the max, emailed us with the news of "Cantina 10," a new taco spot in Barcelona opened by the Dos Santos brothers. We asked Pablo if he could do a quick review for us, and here's his amazing response... -Ed.

I found out about Taco Madness one week ago and I totally identified. Since last summer my girlfriend and I started hunting the best taco in Barcelona according to the highest Mexican standards, reporting our findings in a blog called El Tac (a Catalan adaptation of “taco”). I thought about contacting L.A. Taco back then, but I wasn’t sure about what to say, so I just dropped the idea.

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A few days later, I wrote a review on “Cantina La 10” a Taquería that the Dos Santos brothers just opened in the upper part of the city. It was at midnight, while watching an awful German movie about a fake marriage, when it hit me: Gio Dos Santos led to L.A. Galaxy, and L.A. Galaxy led to Taco Madness. A sign of destiny. So, without losing time I wrote to L.A. Taco knowing that, despite the space between us (5,998 miles, the equivalent to 64,346,898 tortillas), we could start building a promising long distance relationship based on the love we both feel for tacos and their context.

L.A. Taco answered me quickly, and they asked me to sum up why I think “La 10” pays tribute to real Mexican tacos, so here is my answer:

“La 10” is relatively new and looks like a pro soccer player’s living room: white leather sofas, glittering furniture, low lights and a bar full of bottles of all sizes and colors. The salsas are homemade: a radioactive roja that, according to the waiter, is made out of “all the chiles you can imagine”, which is a huge achievement taking into account we are in Europe, and an electric verde. While listening to the careful selection of cumbias and tunflas that cheer up the place, I asked for pastores and my girlfriend for asada campechanos.

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The campechanos consist of meat and chorizo mountains gently placed on top of tortillas, crowned with guacamole, purple onion and coriander summits, decorated with three shining pearls of paprika oil. Of course you don’t find these cute details on street tacos, but surprisingly, these tacos have been the closest I have tried in Barcelona to the amazing tacos you can run into under bridges or dark alleys in Mexico City.

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The meat and the chorizo are served in solid cubes, which makes it necessary to take huge bites until there’s no air space left in the mouth. Anyhow, the ingredients flow nice and slowly, making it impossible to get choked. Each bite is a glorious parade where all the different flavors fight to stand out, giving place to a noisy party where salty meat, guacamole, lemon, red sauce, green sauce, crunchy onion and tortilla break all the furniture and turn the music up until the speakers collapse, all fueled by the “taco juice”, that mysterious liquid that brings everything together, and is a central element of a five star taco. To say it quickly: these tacos are rude and impolite in the best possible way.

On the other hand, the pastores are presented in nice, thin slices that fold one on top of the other forming delicate waves, as international taco law states. The meat is soft and smooth, cartilage free, and has a great citric taste. After one bite I inhale and exhale letting myself enjoy the moment. It was a soundless, multisensory, explosive experience. And yes, that makes sense. Then I came back to reality and I realized I was in Barcelona, very far away from the land where people abandon this state of being so often, that they believe tacos are a normal thing, and not a gift from heaven.

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Photos by @bartenbo

Special thanks to Zade Haobsh for the technical support

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