I Love Lúpe Taco Kits are make at home taco kits. These handy taco kits are from popular food truck and cafe Nighthawk Diner and come in fully compostable bags and have no MSG or preservatives. They come in three types: beef barbacoa, pork belly carnitas and eggplant meatballs all with their own hand rolled corn tortillas and sauces. They're available for pick up or delivered to your door via a range of delivery services.
The Lúpe in question is a Mexican woman that Nighthawk's owner and chef Al Fogg met while he was working as a chef in Las Vegas. Al explains, "Lupé was their head housekeeper was an amazing cook. She came from a remote community in the north mountain region of Mexico and came to the US when she was well into adulthood. My boss insisted she give me a crash course on traditional Mexican cooking as my repertoire was of the TexMex variety. I don’t really know much about her personally, as her English was limited yet far better than my Spanish was. We spent a couple of weeks in the house kitchen making salsa, poaching and braising meats, making tamales and tacos etc. She wasn’t a chef so everything was very simple but the outcomes were incredible...I was seeing things for the first time and then tasting her food that those ingredients were used for. I’ve never had a more enjoyable learning experience."
Lúpe saying was “Salsa, trés ingredientes, solo trés,” or "Salsa, three ingredients, only three". "Lupe’s salsas had 3 ingredients usually. Garlic, chilli and either oil or acid or a combination of the 2. She derived the flavour from the technique. Smoking or charring the garlic and chilli then combining it all in a mortar and pestle. I still can’t manage to get them tasting as good as she did," says Al.
To create the line I Love Lupe Al says, "We’ve always wanted to get into the product line game, it’s just hard finding the time. During the first lockdown, everything was a scramble, whereas the second we had more time to plan and execute. We wanted it to be an ongoing product, not just a lockdown type thing, so it took is until lockdown was over to launch. We did it right so now we can just make tweaks going forward." There are plans to add salsa and different tortillas to the line.
You can pick up the kits from their Marrickville location on Thursdays or they are also available from delivery services like Notwasted, Chefprep or Milk Run. The kits range from $39 for the vegetarian eggplant meatball kit to $45 for the beef barbacoa and comes with 8 corn tortillas and is designed to feed two people. BYO margs and hot sauce.
Beef Barbacoa $45 for 8
It was new year's when I decided to make a taco feast using all three types of tacos. They're super easy to cook and put together and it is brilliant that everything is compostable. To heat up the tacos all you need to do is dry fry them in a pan for 10-15 seconds on each side (there's a little chimichurri from the compostable packaging that has made the tortillas green in colour). The beef barbacoa can be cooked in a saucepan while the pork and eggplant can be done in the oven or on the stovetop. The beef barbacoa is saucy with chunks of soft beef brisket grilled and braised in a spicy chipotle and orange stock. It comes with a sachet of chimichurri, salsa negra and smoked tomato pico de gallo along with the 8 corn tortillas. The beef is full of flavour and you can really taste the chipotle chillies and the orange gives it sweetness. The only curious part is the pico de gallo as it's very mild and I would love a bit more chilli to this and the other ones too. And I actually loved mixing the beef with some of the eggplant meatballs.
Pork Carnitas $39 for 8
Pork carnitas is my favourite as I love pork belly. These slices are braised in chicken stock, oranges and dried chili. This comes with a yellow peach salsa as well as packs of smoked tomato pico de gallo and a fresh herb chimichurri. The pork is so lusciously textured and only takes about 8 minutes to warm through in the oven. The servings are hearty and even with some corn on the side there's enough in each packs for 3 people, possibly 4 particularly if you have sides.
Eggplant Taco $39 for 8
The eggplant meatball kit is the vegetarian offering and it has flavoursome cumin, coriander and paprika spiced eggplant meatballs that are baked in a Mexican tomato sugo. The meatballs are soft but most keep their shape (although this isn't a problem as they're good smooshed too). They come with the chimichurri, homemade queso made with mozzarella and tasty cheese, crispy fried plantain matchsticks and smoked tomato pico de gallo. You do want to add the queso or cheese sauce on top of the hot meatballs so that the heat melts the cheese perfectly.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite taco filling? Does compostable or recyclable packaging play a part in your purchasing decisions?
This meal was independently paid for.
I Love Lupe