Ever since I first ate at Las Cazuelas, a small market and cafe on South Conway Road, it has been one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. Authentic food served in a cozy, spotless setting by people who seem genuinely happy that you’re there.
Now comes Taqueria Las Cazuelas, a storefront offshoot on Orlando’s east side. As the name indicates, it’s a taco-centric eatery, though there is no attempt to put a cazuela, or casserole, into a tortilla. Thank goodness.
The menus are different – no pozole, a favorite at the restaurant, though menudo is available on the weekends. And currently food is available only for takeout, and a hand-printed sign in the front window says in large lettering, “No mask, no food,” then in smaller print and in a tone more in keeping with the Las Cazuelas style, “Sorry for the inconvenience.”
Ordering is done by phone. Like the main restaurant, the taqueria does not have a website or a published menu, other than what can be found in a Facebook photo.
But that was enough to guide me in my dinner decisions. Tacos were a must, of course, so I ordered three: chorizo, barbacoa, or pulled beef, and carnitas.
Each was served double-wrapped in soft corn tortillas with chopped onions and fresh cilantro. All were good, though the pork was a standout, the seasoned chunks moist and flavorful. I had requested red and green hot sauces on the side, and let me tell you, the red sauce is potent. Just a light drizzle was all the taco needed to make the taste sizzle.
I also ordered a couple of nontaco items, including a steak burrito and chicken enchiladas.
I requested the enchiladas with green sauce and was not disappointed. The tortilla-wrapped seasoned chicken sat beneath a stack of chopped lettuce, fresh tomatoes and white cheese. The dish was accompanied by refried beans – delicious – and rice, which was only so-so.
The burrito was a California style monster, a large flour tortilla overstuffed with tender pieces of meat, rice, lettuce and beans. More than enough for two people to share.
Ordering is done by phone and payment can only be made at the time of pickup.
Taqueria Las Cazuelas is at 10360 E. Colonial Drive, Orlando. It is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Saturday. The phone number is 407-930-7632.