Tacos | La Valentina, Long Branch, NJ
Today, my best friend and I planned to spend the day at the beach and happened to pass four or five Mexican restaurants on our way down. I'd been craving tacos for the past few days so I was down to check one out and naturally, so was Laura. We found the perfect meal that catered to our budget so I knew I had to share it with you guys.
Before I let you all in on my top notch taco spot, I wanna share how today was the kind of day I didn't expect to be the cure I was longing for. For the past couple weeks, I've been experiencing the Feedback Loop From Hell. If you're not familiar with the term, I first discovered it while reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**** by Mark Manson. I'm only a couple chapters in but so far, it's validated all the feelings I thought were trivial or irrelevant so shouts to Mark Manson. He describes this feedback loop as:
" You get anxious about confronting somebody in your life. That anxiety cripples you and you start wondering why you’re so anxious. Now you’re becoming anxious about being anxious. Oh no! Doubly anxious! Now you’re anxious about your anxiety, which is causing more anxiety. Quick, where’s the whiskey?" (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***)
For me, it's been an overwhelming series of feeling sad about something minuscule, questioning myself about why I even feel sad, getting upset about the fact that I'm upset then crawling into bed to nap, hoping my thoughts sort themselves out. It's exhausting. So far, the book has been my gentle reminder that I'm not insane and that I'm not the only person feeling this way. Today's foodie adventure/beach day was also a gentle reminder that it get's better. I know a major part of this funk is due to not hearing back from the jobs I really want and getting rejected by the ones I kinda want so I'm adapting a new positive outlook and trying to remind myself that what's meant for me will be for me.
OKAY BACK TO TACOS!!
Finding the restaurant was a little difficult because we're airheads the restaurant shares a space with a supermarket. We looked in and saw shelves of groceries and thought we were in the wrong place. We then realized the supermarket was in the front and the tacos we're being held hostage in the back.
What we ordered:
Laura got an order of al pastor tacos and I was basic and ordered chicken. I was lowkey on a pescatarian/ no red meat diet the past two weeks but honestly, life's too short to not eat the things you enjoy. We did a taco swap and even though watching "What the Health" made all types of meat feel disgusting to me- THE AL PASTOR WAS FIIIIIRE. Literally, the meat was so well marinated and all the flavor popped when you topped it with some lime and verde sauce. I definitely recommend. I usually find ordering chicken to be a 50/50 risk but I was so pleased with my order. The chicken had a nice little smokey flavor without being oversalted. I would've liked something creamy to complement the sharper flavors, like some crema or a chipotle mayo but these tacos were so authentic I felt like I had to enjoy them as is.
BYOB! We found this out in one of the Yelp reviews so we stopped at a liquor store three minutes away. Since we couldn't get legit margaritas we made do with Limearitas and a 24 oz of Redd's mango hard ale. Maybe I was just really thirsty but I chugged it like juice, it was so good!
Our final bill came down to $14.90. At almost $7 a meal, it doesn't get much better than that. Add a few bucks for the drinks and it's still an amazing deal!
Well, they didn't have guac so points deducted automatically. Our server was fine, she was the only one covering all the tables so we were understanding of that. The food came out quickly, chips and salsa were served complementary, and the ambiance was chill. No one bought our check out automatically but I'm gonna assume it's cause they didn't want to interrupt our conversation.
Overall, If I'm in the area, I am definitely going back. I'd debate bringing my own avocado and throwing a slice or two on top of my taco.
Bottom line: Great, authentic food for such a low price deserves a second trip.
Address: 186 Broadway, Long Branch, NJ 07740