Taqueria Pico de Gallo sits squarely in the epicenter of South Tucson, on South 6th Avenue, a mile south of 22nd Avenue. South Tucson is an anomoly; it’s an enclave that covers roughly a square mile, and it’s surrounded entirely by the city of Tucson proper. South Tucson has its own municipal services and zoning regulations, and its own mayor and city council. Why they would want to do this is anybody’s guess. All I can say is that — despite having a crime rate higher than Camden, New Jersey (aka America’s most dangerous city and all-around fun zone) — the citizens of South Tucson obviously choose to live here because of the proximity to some good-ass tacos1.
Contrary to what some normally consider to be “pico de gallo”, namely, a salsa fresca made with chopped fresh tomatoes, the namesake in this instance refers to the deliciously fresh fruit cups served up by the taqueria (and sprinkled with chili salt).
They also serve these fruity, frozen raspados, which are coincidentally crafted…
…right next door.
Enough with food that is not tacos.
The breakfast menu.
The menu board.
The full menu luckily is available in the early AM (and from which I order breakfast when I’m in town).
This is the only table sauce they have on hand, a thick, incendiary concoction made from chile de arbol.
The taco plates are garnished with excellent pickled onions. The tortillas at Pico De Gallo are wonderful, thick, substantial discs of stoney masa goodness, freshly prepared on the premises. They are unlike any other Mexican restaurant in the Tucson area (which for the most part tilts towards flour as does Sonoran cuisine).
The tortillas here work together with a crispy, fried pillows of mild flesh to form one of the best fish tacos I’ve had, especially considering the nearest port is Puerto Penasco some 4 hours away in Mexico. The white sauce — normally a conceit I’ll even leave off my fish taco — here is a perfect foil for the fiery table salsa.
A decent asada.
Barbacoa. These shredded meat tacos are a bit juicy/saucy, and tend to saturate the tortillas to the point where they have difficulty standing up. (This does not apply to the cabeza, which is shredded beef cheek and holds up well). However, the shredded meats are well prepared and are worth ordering — I would perhaps eat these first.
Here’s the proof that I paid for my meal.
Taqueria Pico de Gallo
2618 South 6th Avenue (Google Map)
1 I lived just a mile-and-a-half north of South Tucson for a few years. I walked and biked all over the place, even late at night. It’s not that bad. I did get three bikes stolen.
In fact, I stayed just over a mile north of this place during my time in Tucson, at my wife’s godmother’s guest house.
The most dangerous thing I encountered was this cactus. This fucking evil plant ruined many an afternoon growing up, as while trying to catch an errant outlet pass you might end up in a patch, and hundreds of these miniscule, orange hair-like spines would attach to your lower calf with ferocity. Only a long soak in an oatmeal bath would temper the pain and suffering.