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South of the Border, Down East Naples Way: Part 2 - Tacolandia

New trainees chilling on the Tacomobile prior to our next stop

With our first stop complete, our bellies full of sopes and the conversation starting to percolate (because you know, deliciousness unites!) , noted blogger The Pocket Gourmet, her husband the Unpretentious Handyman, also noted blogger Lady Listicle, our host Liz Valdez, Her Real Name and I, Mr. Bites made our way in the Tacomobile to our next destination.

There should be a 7 in there but we're terrible photographers

We pulled up to a non-descript concrete building at 2332 Santa Barbara Blvd in East Naples occupied by 7 Food Mart & Tortilleria or as its more commonly known 7 Mart. Inside was like Hispanic food heaven. They had all the traditional foods you would expect of a market like this, but when you walked to the back on the left they had oodles of different meat (an oodle is more than a bunch but less than a f***ton) in their butcher area and to the right of that even more (closer to a f***ton) of prepared foods.

Oodles of Meat

It reminded me of a lot of the fantastic carnicerias of Los Angeles/Southern California. If you ever find yourself in Los Angeles, specifically East Hollywood, I HIGHLY recommend you go check out Villalobos which had the best carne asada in Los Angeles. Also, incredible pollo asada, which is the secret weapon of Mexican barbeque. Considering the sheer volume of them in LA, this is very high praise.

After strolling around and taking it all in, Liz Valdez, Her Real Name brought us to the prepared hot foods section which was humming with activity and incredible smells of joy. She selected one of my most favorite Mexican meats, barbacoa.

F***ton of hot foods.

We needed a drink but since I knew we'd be drinking the hard stuff a little later, I selected my most favorite Mexican beverage in the entire world. More than any cerveza, more than tequila, I am pleased to report that 7 Mart carries the amazing, the stupendous, TOPO glass bottles! If you haven't had it, please go run, do not walk and get their Twist of Lime. It's incredible. Best seltzer by like..a lot. Due to some sort of glass shortage, it's pretty hard to find these days, and it's just not the same in a plastic bottle.

Anyway, back to the taco main event; the fizzy water blog is for another time (Smaller Sips?). We made our way to an iron table underneath a tree and Liz Valdez, Her Real Name showed us the bounty of barbacoa she had procured for us.

These were the tacos I was looking for (To Sue Loeser, Grammar police, I know you never end a sentence with a preposition, but it's a movie reference paraphrased so deal with it, I'm pretty sure had Obi Wan Kenobi said "These are not the droids for which you are looking" George Lucas would be a lot poorer). Normally when traditional tacos like these come with that second tortilla I save my carbs and remove it, but these were so heavy and piled on with deliciousness that it was necessary to not make a mess of yourself and to hold together all this savory goodness. And savory goodness it was. It tasted like it had been marinated for at least 2-3 days. You know when you make a delicious sauce and put it in the fridge for a day or two, all the flavors condense and its even richer and more lusciously flavorful than when you made it? This was like that, but was definitely cooked fresh and possibly one of the richest barbacoas I have ever had (didn't Rich Barbacoa play second base for the A's back in the 70s?).

The rest of our group must have seen the food lust in my eyes because I was chosen to be the recipient of the bonus taco. Other than me being selected to receive said bonus taco this was one of the few bits of conversation for a few minutes as we were enthusiastically shoving tacos into our faceholes. Deliciousness may unite, but it's still rude to talk with your mouth full. be continued...

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