There’s a reason I was born on a Tuesday afternoon in Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center.

Little did the world know that I’d become a die-hard taco connoisseur long before Taco Tuesday emerged as a popular hashtag on social media.

My motto?

Taco Tuesday is cute, but don’t limit yourself to a single day when you can enjoy the warmth of a corn tortilla with perfectly marinated and seasoned meat of your choice any day of the week. Tacos are one of the most innovative foods out there. Breakfast, lunch or dinner. With meat, veggies or vegan ingredients.

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The options are limitless and I’m convinced my life’s purpose is to try as many as I can. In fact, don’t be surprised if my tombstone says, “Here lies Jasmine. Likely holding a taco until the end.”

My affinity for tacos stems from growing up in Southern California — an epicenter for amazing Mexican food. It’s where I fell in love with the art of preparing carne asada, the convenience of late-night taco trucks and the magic of a taco festival instead of Disneyland.

Tacos have also been present (or in my belly) during important parts of my life: navigating the highs and lows of college, falling in love with my then-boyfriend, now-husband, and celebrating my 30th birthday.

California may have planted the seed for my taco appreciation, but my curiosity spans far and wide in search of the best. The goodbye was somber when I left the taco scene in Los Angeles, but I am very surprised and grateful for the number of options in Baltimore.

My taco adventures are just getting started and I know I’ve hardly scratched the surface. If you have other recommendations, reach out. Taco tips and story tips are much appreciated: 443-608-8983, jasmine.vaughn@thebaltimorebanner.com.

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Let’s taco-bout the places I’ve tried so far.

Taqueria El Sabor del Parque

Nothing beats walking your sassy corgi around Patterson Park and going to grab tacos across the street. The tacos are bigger than the street tacos I’m used to and I’ve enjoyed their chicken, steak and suadero tacos. Taqueria El Sabor del Parque is located at 2901 Eastern Ave.

Banditos

I was invited here for a meet-and-greet in my role as a West Baltimore neighborhood reporter. Yes, tacos are a surefire way to get me into a casual meeting. I had the blackened shrimp and their Rus & Gus taco, which is stuffed with Old Bay-battered shrimp, cheese, grilled onion and Sriracha. There are a few different locations, but I visited the joint in Federal Hill, 1118 S Charles St.

El Taquito Mexicano

This gem fell in my lap at a wine tasting event at Patterson Park where they were one of the vendors. The pork carnitas were fabulous and it was my first time having al pastor with a robust pineapple flavor. I shamelessly waited in their line — the longest at the event — to get seconds. Their restaurant is located 1744 Eastern Ave.

Taqueria El Rodeo

On a mission to get a library card at the Light Street branch, I found this place. I had their steak and chicken tacos, which were already topped with my favorites — cilantro and onions. You can find their restaurant at 1101 Light St., very close to Cross Street Market.

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El Taquito Leon

Tacos and mobility are a match made in heaven, so I was stoked to find out that this taco truck wasn’t too far from where I live. I’m usually sending my husband to pick up the food, but I haven’t been disappointed with their barbacoa or asada tacos. The truck is in the Pleasant Plains Shopping Center off of Taylor Avenue and Loch Raven Boulevard.

Happy Hour Heaven

Happy Hour Heaven lives up to its name by providing some kind of drink special every day of the week. I moseyed in here on a Tuesday to get a taste of their tacos and margaritas. I had their blackened fish and shrimp tacos. I’m not usually a fish taco kind of gal, but I’d get them again.

Cocina Luchadoras

A coworker recommended Cocina Luchadoras and I visited on a Friday. It must have been my lucky day because birria was a special. I love birria, especially when it is paired with a yummy consomé. I look forward to trying more of their options another time.

Cinco de Mayo Dos

Did I mention my coworkers are awesome? Another one of them took me to Cinco de Mayo Dos for lunch one day. Don’t be fooled. It has a grocery store in the front and little restaurant nestled in the back. So far, this is some of the best al pastor that I’ve had.

Mi Ranchito El Buen Sabor

Nothing beats finding yet another taco truck near your house. Thanks to the amazing feedback I’ve been getting about taco places, I was able to make an impromptu nighttime visit to this truck, which is right behind a gas station. I really enjoyed the chicken.

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jasmine.vaughn@thebaltimorebanner.com

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Jasmine Vaughn-Hall is a neighborhood and community reporter at the Baltimore Banner, covering the people, challenges, and solutions within West Baltimore. Have a tip about something happening in your community? Taco recommendations? Call or text Jasmine at 443-608-8983.

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