Review: Carniceria Coalcoman Restaurant in Boise
Every now and then I need to kick myself in the butt for ignoring my food hunting instincts. I’ve been completely ignoring a little Mexican store/taqueria called Carniceria Coalcoman in the Fairview Square Plaza directly behind Los Betos, even though I’ve told myself every time I go to Los Betos that I need to go in and check it out. So so stupid. But praise be to the taco Gods, I finally went in and gave it a try. I’m completely obsessed now, and ate there 5 times last week. If you’ve been on the lookout for some fantastically delicious authentic Mexican food, Carniceria Coalcoman is the place to be!
Best Place to Get Damn Good Authentic Tacos in Boise
Dude, seriously, Carniceria Coalcoman serves up some incredible tacos. They are authentic Mexican street style tacos, meaning they are small but delicious. They reminded me of the street tacos in Puerto Vallarta. Chicken, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Tongue, and several other meats all make their appearance on Carniceria Coalcoman’s menu. Each taco gave me about 3 or so bites, and each was $1.25. They came out with nothing more than your choice of meat slapped on top of some of the best house-made corn tortillas around. The tortillas were light and fluffy, soft and chewy, and had a fantastic corn masa flavor. Each of the meats we had were very good, especially the tongue, which was perfectly seasoned and exceptionally soft and tender! The beauty of Carniceria Coalcoman’s “no frills” serving style is that you then are free to walk over to their salsa bar to load up your tacos with whatever suites your fancy.
At the taco bar, you will find radishes, cilantro, fresh limes, pico de gallo, onions, and several molcajetes filled with awesome in-house salsa creations! A medium spicy salsa verde (fantastic on the carnitas!), a chunky tomatillo (good on everything, especially the chicken!), a fire roasted red chili and tomatillo (very nice on the carne asada), a chunky roasted tomato, and a runny red chili salsa, all make their appearance at the bar. Each was different from the rest, and all were delicious. None of the salsas were very spicy, which may be good for some of us gringos. But if you want some heat, they have some dried chilies you can sprinkle on your tacos. They have it all, and it is all wonderful!
Unique but Traditional Mexican Food Offerings at Carniceria Coalcoman
Everyone loves tacos, but what about real gorditas (not the Taco Bell disgrace), or memelitas, or sopes, or pan dulce, or giant pork rinds, or even an over-sized corn tortilla quesadilla unlike anything you’ve ever seen before? This little gold mine of an eatery has them all and more. Let me tell you about the stuff we’ve tried….
These, my friends, are authentic memelitas. Have you ever heard of them before? If not, you should probably order some. They’re pretty stinkin’ good, despite the fact that there’s not much to them. Memelitas are essentially just a really thick corn tortilla (as in a stack of 10 or so) that are fried in some fat (typically lard) until crispy brown. The inside of Carniceria Coalcoman’s memelitas was soft and doughy, which made for a really fun contrast to the crispy outside. They were topped simply with some refried beans, your choice of red or green sauce, and some cotija cheese. Like I said, not much to them, but what a treat. Mmmm….
Oh man, I get excited when I see this thing! This is Carniceria Coalcoman’s fabulous Quesadilla. It is enormous and it is utterly mouthwatering! It was made from an amazing house-made giant corn masa tortilla that was fried in fat (again, assuming lard) until crispy all over. That tortilla was just amazing, and I could eat it alone and be happy. But it was jammed full of your choice of meat, lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, sour cream, and queso fresco. AMAZING!
The one in these pictures was filled with carnitas, which was wonderful, but I’ve since ordered it with carne asada, which I can not recommend highly enough! Order the quesadilla and order it with carne asada, and you’ll explode with delight upon your very first bite. Was that a poem? Anyway, I am in love this thing, especially loaded up with some salsas from the salsa bar!
Please Sir, May I Have Another Gordita?
Due to the over-the-top deliciousness of the quesadilla, I figured there wasn’t anything else on the menu that could possibly top it. But then I ordered the gordita. I’ve ordered it twice now, and both times I was so anxious to dive in that I missed taking a picture of it to show you. But trust me, it is possibly the single best Mexican Food item available in all of Boise. It is made with the same amazing corn tortilla as the quesadilla, except there are two of them, one on the bottom and one on the top! It is filled with the same fillings as the quesadilla, but also includes some refried beans on the bottom tortilla! Damn dilly damn damn, thank you mam! Truly wonderful, very filling, and just $6. Order one and you too will be dancing and shouting profanities of delight!
What About More Common Mexican Food Items?
As already stated, Carniceria Coalcoman’s tacos are fantastic. But their enchiladas and tamales are equally wonderful.
This is the $5 enchilada plate. You get to choose your meat and your sauce (red or green). They may not look like much, but these are some seriously flavor packed taste bombs! The red enchilada sauce is made and slow simmered in-house, and is filled with all the good stuff. It has a much richer flavor and body than store-bought canned sauce, and is probably unlike anything you’ve had at other Mexican restaurants. Very good indeed. My first order was a bit salty, but the sour cream on the side helped tame that quite nicely. But my second order a few days later was perfect. That’s a sign of real in-house cooking I suppose.
Tamale anyone? I can’t seem to go into a taqueria for the first time without ordering a tamale. Who can? Carniceria Coalcoman’s tamales are true to form with all their other menu items…… delicious! Just look at this little green gem! The masa was perfectly seasoned, which seems to be a rarity in the tamale world. The pork filling was EXTREMELY moist and tender, as in fall apart in your mouth tender. And the verde sauce was tangy and savory with just the right amount of sweetness. The flavor combo of everything was just what a perfect tamale should be. And oddly enough, when all combined, there seemed to be a hint of a sweet spice flavor like cinnamon or allspice. But when tasting each individual component, the sweet spice flavor wasn’t to be found. I asked one of the kitchen chefs (the sweetest little Hispanic older woman) what the spice was, but she said that they don’t use sweet spices in any of the components. Must just be one of those rare magical combinations then. Whatever it was, this tamale was quite worth having and highly recommended.
Carniceria Coalcoman’s Seating and Decor
The seating arrangements in the restaurant are humble, and the place is often very cold in the winter months. But none of it really maters as soon as you sink your teeth into their food. And if the food alone doesn’t secure the deal for you, when you’re done eating, you can peek your head into the little store to buy some Mexican pantry staples, dried hominy, fresh butchered meats, or a pinata. Great place all around.
The Bald Gourmet strongly recommends giving Carniceria Coalcoman’s food a try. It’s the most authentic Mexican food we’ve yet to find in Boise.
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