National Taco Day is Saturday; What Are You Going to Do About It?

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Cress tacoSmoked halibut taco at Cress. Photo: Cress restaurant

Saturday is National Taco Day, to which you might very well ask, "Which nation?" It's true that taco is one of the few foodstuffs we've adopted that is legitimately authentically Mexican, but adopt it we have, in a very big way.

According to the National Taco Day website — yes, it has its own website — Americans ate more than 4.5 billion tacos last year. I have a pretty good idea how many I ate, but I have no idea who is responsible for the other 4 billion. The site also says those tacos would equal the weight of two Empire State Buildings, although I have to think it would be pretty close to impossible to actually put the Empire State Building on a scale. And what would we possibly do with two of them?

Of course, you have to take what they say at nationaltacoday.com with a grain of sal because it also says the "word taco is the Mexican equivalent of the English word for sandwich." Actually, sandwich in Spanish is sandwich; torta is sort of the Mexican equivalent.

But let's not quibble, not on National Taco Day Eve.

You're likely to see all manner of tacos this weekend, but if you're in DeLand and stop off at Cress restaurant, you'll be able to have a sustainable one. No, that doesn't mean it's like an all-day sucker, which, by the way, does not have a National Day named for it, though All Day Sucker Day would be a bit redundant.

What it means is that chef Hari Pulapaka will be serving fish tacos using seafood approved by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program. Monterey Bay keeps a list of seafood that is fished or farmed in ways that protect sea life and the oceans. It makes recommendations to chefs about which seafood are best to use, OK to use or which should be avoided. The recommendations might involve the same fish. For example, cod is one of its "best choice" options, but only those caught on handline in Iceland, the Northeast Arctic or Alaska. Wild cod from the U.S. Gulf of Maine, among others, are on the "avoid" list.

Pulapaka has signed on with chefs around the country to promote the sustainable seafood options as part of their Taco Day observance. Pulapaka will be offering his East-West Taco, with Cherry Smoked Atlantic Striped Bass, Kokum and Indian Lime Pickle Barbecue Sauce, Roasted Poblano Crema, Radish and Bok Choy Slaw, and lots of Cilantro. Cress and a food truck based in Ft. Lauderdale are the only food operations in Florida on the official list.

But that doesn't mean you won't find others. The key is that you have to start asking chefs and restaurateurs if they're sourcing their seafood thoughtfully.

I would say we'd revisit this topic on National Sustainable Seafood Day, but apparently we'd have to meet in Canada. They have one, but apparently the United States does not.

Cress is at 103 W. Indiana Ave., DeLand. The phone number is 386-734-3740.

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