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Happy National Taco Day! As a friend whose husband is from Mexico City once told us in describing authentic Mexican tacos, they are heavy on salt and garlic seasonings (think 10 garlic bulbs when they are prepping the meat). They usually use beef (a whole cow’s head) that is steamed in a tamalera, which is also used for making tamales. Forget about cheese, lettuce or diced tomatoes; a traditional taco is lime, onion and cilantro.

Since you’re probably not going to steam an entire cow’s head, the next best thing is to simply find a good taqueria or two in a city near you. We know there’s a lot out there. Here’s a few to love:

RELATED: What’s your city’s regional taco style? Find out here.

Huahua’s Taqueria: Miami, FL

We know this city can drop it like it’s hot, but this South Beach spot takes it to a new level with a hot sauce bar, elotes, fried chicken and crispy pescado (fish) tacos. Other local faves include SoCal Taco Company’s fish tacos and craft cocktails; and El Taquito in Coconut Grove for its simple taco stand serving hungry lunch goers and late-night steak and carnitas seekers.

Taqueria El Rey: Detroit, MI

This tiny cash-only joint inMotor City is known for its grilled and barbecue chicken, but it also has everything else from al pastor (marinated pork) and carne asada (grilled steak) to barbacoa (beef), chorizo (pork sausage), buche (fried pork stomach) and lengua (steamed beef tongue).

Antique Taco

Photo courtesy of Antique Taco

Antique Taco: Chicago, IL

Hit Chicago‘s Wicker Park neighborhood for this hot spot located around thecorner from Big Star—another favorite taco haunt. Try the crispy fish taco made of tempura cod, scallions, smoked cabbage and sriracha tartar sauce. For authenticity, head to Little Village to La Chaparrita Grocery which serves tripe among other delicacies, or try Birrieria Zaragoza’s famous goat tacos.

Los Tacos No.1

Photo courtesy of Los Tacos No.1

Los Tacos No. 1: New York, NY

We know picking one or even a few great places in New York is nearly impossible. This Chelsea spot offers up a taco counter and delicious adobada pork served with pineapple and lime. Other spots include Amaranto with its fish tacos with roasted cauliflower, and for tripe head to Tacos El Brono Restaurant in Brooklyn.

Tire Shop Taqueria: Los Angeles, CA

Eating tacos inside an L.A. tire shop—need we say more? This namesake gives homage to its no frills location. Eat thin cuts of smoked and grilled meat including al pastor, asada and chorizo on homemade corn tortillas slathered in guacamole.

Dos Santos Taqueria de Mexico: Denver, CO

Go Mile High for the OMFG taco that piles high raw tuna, lime cilantro aioli, pickled onion and avocado on a lettuce tortilla. They also serve up breakfast-style chorizo-camote hash tacos and other varieties. For a side, order the “In Guak We Trust,” which includes pumpkin seeds and cactus in the guacamole.

Taceaux Loceaux

Taceaux Loceaux | Flickr CC:
Infrogmation of New Orleans

Taceaux Loceaux: New Orleans, LA

There’s a reason why Anthony Bourdain came here. This long-time food truck hot spot that will soon open a brick-and-mortar location has a cult following in NOLA, especially for its carnitas and slow roasted brisket-style tacos. Vegans can even get their fix with “All Hat, No Cattle” beans-and-rice tacos.

Gerardo’s Drive In: Houston, TX

If you want to see what a cleaned cow head really looks like, this is the place to come on Thursday morning according to Texas Monthly. Then stand at the counter to order barbacoa and a Jarritos soda on the weekends. Another Houston favorite is food truck Tierra Caliente, which is known for its steak fajita tacos and is located near the West Alabama Icehouse.

Tacos Mariachi: Dallas, TX

Head to the “Big D” for Tijuana-style street tacos, including grilled octopus, roasted portobello mushroom, smoked salmon, mahi mahi, sautéed shrimp or the traditional meat varieties. Sides include mole fries, roasted poblano chile con queso, cinnamon-and-sugar fried plantains and elotes-style street corn that can be washed down with a margarita or a Mexican Coke in a glass bottle.

Rreal Tacos

Photo courtesy of Rreal Tacos

Rreal Tacos: Atlanta, GA

Located in Midtown, guests order at the counter and get their food brought to them. Purchases a la carte or get a two-taco, one side and a soda combo. Tacos include adobe grilled chicken, carnitas, barbacoa and grilled fish. Get an empanada, roasted sweet potato or a breaded and fried avocado here.

Taqueria El Asadero: Seattle, WA

Board this cash-only Seattle taco bus that serves up carne asada, beef cheek and tongue tacos, and quesadilla-esque mulitas. Order at the window or the side door and walk inside the bus to order and eat. Also, head over to Taco Chukis known for its al pastor topped with a slice of grilled pineapple or the nopales (cactus) taco.

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Tagged: California, Midwest, New York

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Dawn Reiss

Dawn Reiss

Dawn’s work has appeared in USA Today, The Atlantic, U.S. News & World Report, and more than 30+ other outlets. She got her first molcajete while living in Texas. You can follow her @dawnreiss.
Dawn Reiss

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