The Best Taco in Town: Ramirez

Over this semester in Taco Literacy I have been introduced to a lot of different food and restaurants in Lexington, KY that I have never tried before (i.e. goat and paletas). One thing that I have tried to do at every restaurant was try the restaurant’s al pastor tacos. After trying three different restaurant’s al pastor tacos, I have come to the conclusion that there is no better place to get an al pastor taco in Lexington, KY than at Taquiera y Tortilleria Ramirez.

Not only is this the best restaurant in Lexington, KY to get al pastor tacos, but I honestly think that this is the best Mexican restaurant in town. Although the appearance of the restaurant may be a little off putting, the atmosphere on the inside will warm your heart. The owner of the restaurant, Sr. Patty, is one of the sweetest and most hard-working people you will ever meet. The passion she has for her restaurant is inspiring, and she really cares about her customers.

If you are ever in Lexington, KY, please make your way to Taqueria y Tortilleria Ramirez. Your minds will be blown away by how incredible the food is, and how great the service is.

You Put The Lime In The Coconut and Drink It All Up

I suppose lime flavored coconut milk is one way that you can use a lime, but there are many other ways in which you can use limes. One of my Dad’s favorite ways to use limes is to flavor his salad; it is a much healthier option than ranch (even if it’s fat free). Another way in which you can use limes is to top your tacos with the juice from a lime. Before going to Ramirez, I thought the only thing that you could top your taco with to give it some extra flavor (besides hot sauce) was sour cream and cheese; therefore, I am very glad that I have discovered lime juice. Another way in which I personally use limes is when I make guacamole; you use the lime juice to not only add acidity to the guacamole, but it also helps with preventing the guacamole from turning a dark green color. The final way in which I know you can use lime is for cleaning things. I’ve seen that if you cut a lime in half, you can scrub a wooden cutting board clean. Limes are useful little fruits.

Food Writing and All Of Its Deliciousness

I have always loved to write, but I had never tried to do any type of food writing until I took my Taco class, and as easy as it sounded, it is actually extremely hard to do (in my opinion). It sounds like all you do is eat some food and write about it, and it is, but there is so much more that goes into it. To be a food writer you really have to be in touch with your senses, because when you write about the food you ate you have to include something for each of the senses. You would need to describe the “crispness” of a bite of lettuce and the sound of your plate sizzling in front of you. I have found that I should never consider being a food writer, because I’m (apparently) not so aware with what is going on with my senses while I eat.

For the Love of Tacos

One day in class we were asked to check out an article written by a senior from New York. Her article was about her love of tacos and she stated where all of her favorite taco places were in New York. One of the tacos that she described contained lobster in it, and from the way she described it, it sounds like every bite is almost like biting into a cloud.I was honestly a little sad after reading her article, because the type of tacos that she described in her article were tacos that I know I would not be able to find in Kentucky.  Now don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly content with my al pastor tacos that I get from Ramirez, but it would be really cool to have a lobster taco.

Are Sombreros Racist?

One of America’s favorite places to go out to eat on your birthday is a Mexican restaurant, because the waiters and waitresses come out and sing to you, they bring you some fried ice cream or an elephant ear, and they place a sombrero on your head. I have never put much thought into what wearing the sombrero means until after my class and I read an article stating that this “crowning” of the sombrero could be considered racist. The reasoning behind why the author thought that it was racist was the actual history of the sombrero. Sombreros were originally created to block the sun and heat from workers’ heads, so they aren’t necessarily what you would consider a party hat. However, I think it is crazy for someone to think that people who get the sombrero placed on their head for their birthday are being racist. When the person gets the sombrero placed on their head, it is almost like an honor, because you are the only one with it on, and that means that people know it is your special day. In this way, wearing a sombrero is not racist. A way that is racist in wearing a sombrero, is if you plan on dressing up as a “Mexican” and you think that wearing a sombrero would be the perfect accessory.

One Step Inside, and You Can See The World

The only place that you can step inside and seriously feel like you have been around the world in less than an hour (depending on how long your stay is) is a lovely store called Jungle Jim’s. It is considered a grocery store, but I can guarantee you that this store is unlike any other grocery store you have been into. This 200,000 square foot store is jam packed full of food from any, and I mean any, continent. When you look up at the ceiling you will see that the owners of Jungle Jim’s have conveniently labeled each section of the store, not only by what is typically labeled like bread or dairy, but the labels have different countries names on them. For example they have an entire section of the store dedicated to Italy, and you can find pretty much any type of pasta you could ever want to find as well as any type of olive oil, and any type of olive.

They also have a large section that is dedicated to Mexican food. Throughout the 5(ish) isles you can find a variety of Mexican spices, frozen dinner entrees, and cans of various dinner items. One of these canned dinner items was canned tamales; I have been told numerous times from my professor not to try them.



At the end of every isle in the Mexican food section of Jungle Jim’s was a large pinata hanging in your face. They also had some interesting (and possibly racist) salt shakers of Mexican men in sombreros.


Jungle Jim’s seriously has something for everybody, so if you have never been there I would highly suggest you take a trip there, and make sure to pick up a stick of ostrich beef jerky!



Can Food Really Be Authentic?

This question has come up a lot in our class discussions, and it seems like everyone has their own answer. For people who believe that there is no authentic food, they believe that a culture can take another culture’s recipe and put their own spin on it, and that could be considered authentic. This is something that Gustavo Arellano said he believed when he spoke to our class; he used Taco Bell as an example, where Glen Bell had taken the taco recipe from the Mitla Cafe. Even though Glen Bell took the Cafe’s recipe, he put his own spin on it which made that authentic to him. This same idea is shared with Jeffery Pilcher in Planet Taco where he says “The quest for authentic food aquired new meaning in the mid-twentieth century as industrial foods began replacing home-cooked meals” (Page 11). Pilcher is saying that now, frozen TV dinners can be considered authentic.

In my opinion, I think that there is authentic food. When I think of authentic food, I think about the difference between restaurants like Cinco De Mayo and restaurants like Taqueria Ramirez. There a blatantly obvious differences between the environments of each restaurant, as well as the items on the menu. As for American food, I would consider a “mom and pop” diner to be authentic, rather than Frisch’s Big Boy.


Made In Mexico, Or Was It?

When you go to a chain Mexican restaurant such as El Rio Grande or Cinco De Mayo, you really do think that you are eating something that people from Mexico eat, but that is not quite the truth. Some of the things on the menu are things that you can actually get in Mexico, such as tamales, whereas there are other things that might not even be heard of in Mexico.

One of these “unheard of” food items is the burrito. If you are anything like me, then you are very shocked right now. Those Jose Ole steak and cheese burritos in your freezer are not a product of Mexico. Burritos are almost like puzzles, where each ingredient is a culture and they some how all work really well together. According to Pilcher in Planet Taco, “the combination of beans and rice is more characteristic of the Caribbean than of northern Mexico”(page 46), he also states that “When deep-fried (a burrito), a technique more often found in U.S. fast food than in Mexican cooking…”(page 46). As you can see, a lot of the food we eat is inspired from a mixture of cultures; one culture is inspired from another’s cooking, and decides to put their own twist on it.

The Best Kind Of Popsicle: Paletas

I have never really been that big of a fan of Popsicles, so when my professor said that we were going to make a trip on our field trip to get them I was not very thrilled. However, the “popsicles” that we actually ate should not be called popsicles because they are a million times better than what most people know popsicles as being. These delicious beings are called paletas.


The biggest difference between the popsicles that we are used to and paletas is that fact that they are made fresh. If you order a strawberry paleta, expect to bite into actual chunks of fresh strawberry. Whereas if you were to buy a strawberry popsicle from Kroger, the strawberry flavor you taste probably isn’t even coming from real strawberry. Another cool thing about paletas is that you can also get ones that aren’t fruity. For example, I ordered the butter pecan paleta, and it was creamy and smooth like ice cream. I am still not able to say that I like popsicles, but I can say that I LOVE paletas.

Goat Got Your Tongue?

This weekend my class and I went on a journey to find a restaurant that served birria in Lexington. Luckily, my professor knew exactly where one was. When ordering the birria, you had the option of getting (boring) beef, but they also had a type of meat that a lot of people have not had the chance to try: goat. You also had the option to get the “soupy” version of birria where you would get the meat and broth in a bowl, or you could get the meat from the birria on a plate served with rice and beans.


I decided to go with the “soupy” version of the goat birria. My bowl of birria had more bone than meat in it, but the meat was fantastic. I was expecting the broth of the birria to have a kick to it, but it really was not spicy at all. I think I was expecting more of a posole broth that leaves your lips a little “tingly”. One thing that is nice about the restaurant is that they give you a pack of freshly made (DELICIOUS) corn tortillas that you can scoop your goat onto. Another cool thing about the restaurant is that they have a toppings bar where you grab some little bowls and fill them with however many limes, onion, and cilantro that your heart could desire. They also had some other toppings that I had never seen before.

Overall, my experience with the restaurant was quite lovely. The staff was very kind and had our entire class’ food out in a very timely manner. The only thing I was not really a fan of was the birria.  The goat was really good, but the broth disappointed me a bit; it just needed a spicy component for me.