Photo by Stu Helm; on Instagram @stuhelmfoodfan
Last week I went with my girlfriend, Dawn, to visit Chef John Atwater’s Taco Temple up on North Charlotte Street recently where I enjoyed my tacos very much! For 8 years I used to live in that part of town, and I only wish that Taco Temple had been there the whole time. What a boon to the neighborhood!
Asheville has already been having a love affair with Chef Atwater’s Mamacita’s Taqueria on Biltmore Avenue for a decade and a half, so when he decided to open Taco Temple, there was much excitement. I think it’s fair to say that we have not been let down!
I ordered and ate two tacos on this visit: a “Santa Barbara” taco and a “Panela” taco. The flavor on both was outstanding! The Panela taco was particularly interesting to me because it is a taco that I had never tried before. Panela is a kind of fresh, white, Mexican cow’s milk cheese. For this taco it is sliced thick and cooked on the griddle until it’s a little crispy around the edges, and has that certain type of umami that only “burnt” cheese can produce! YUM! It was so perfectly salty and savory, and the texture of the cheese was nice and melty, but not all goopy and messy. Roasted Poblano peppers, black beans, and pickled onions rounded out the contents of this really great taco.
The Santa Barbara taco was very tasty as well, with the main ingredient being ancho chili and brown sugar rubbed steak. Yeo. Kinda can’t go wrong there, especially because it was cooked perfectly with the steak being nice and tender, seared on the outside, and pink and warm on the inside.
As for Dawn, she was in the mood for a margarita with her meal. She gave it the thumbs up!
I think it’s really nice for a neighborhood to have a wonderful venue with great food, a full bar, and in this case even a drive-through window! I’m kinda jelz that this Taco Temple wasn’t there when I lived up that way, but of course I’m psyched for my former hood, and I’ll try to get there as often as I can to grab a taco or two!
All props and cred to John Atwater and his team for scouting out this fun location (in an old PURE gas station, once occupied by Two Guys Hoagies), and bringing more excellent dining options to North Charlotte Street!
Find all the food specials, new menu additions, events and more from Mamacita’s Taco Temple by checking out their Dig Local Profile.