El Nopal, Paris, France

Weeds is over. And thanks to the 2 kbs speed of the wireless internet here (not that I am complaining, O Benevolent French Internet Gods and Goddesses, merely explaining the Esteemed Situation for my fellow mortals) I will not be streaming it. Am I sad? I do not yet know. I will know in mid-November, when my gorgeous partner in crime, Dillinger, brings over his computer and episodes. And then, friends, will I tell you. Until then, let’s celebrate with munchies, Parisian-style. Mexican street food!

At this rate, Rodzilla is probably wondering how much longer I’m going to screw with him. Why, for the love of all that is marrow and organ-heavy, would I be eating Mexican food and drinking a Desperado on a bench in the middle of a park near the Canal St. Martin? The obvious answer is because it is awesome- I’m willing to bet an order of steak frites that these are the best tacos in Paris, despite the obvious lack of competition. El Nopal is a busy, bright building amidst laundromats andoffice buildings. It is literally bright- bright purple, that is, and barely large enough to fit a griddle and two chairs. Its three owners dance around each other like a Three Stooges routine, making homemade tortillas, frying meat, and cracking open cold beer for the line snaking out the door.

One afternoon last week, two friends and I took a trip over to the restaurant, a trip I can see myself making many times again over the fall. El Nopal has a small menu selection, and US tourists may momentarily belabor the lack of tortilla chips, an uncommon side in France, but all will be forgiven once you sneak a piece of their carnitas from your taco or burrito. This is the real deal, folks. Caramelized, crispy edges with a thick, sweet crust revealing tender meat inside. I ordered three tacos, filled with a mixture of the daily meats. In this case, three homemade tortillas crammed with chicken and chickpeas, steak with onions and garlic, and habanero carnitas. It was the latter I preferred, but all three were filling and well-balanced in spice and flavor.

With these, I had one of the best agua frescas I’ve ever enjoyed, a freshly made cucumber mint drink with fresh lime zest and pieces of cucumber. It was a really wonderful beverage, one that will go very well with the flask of tequila I bring the next time around!

Both the tacos and burritos, which my two friends ordered and adored, were served with a habanero sauce that the owners warned us about in advance for being very spicy. This sauce is a good testament to the Parisian inability to handle heat- while the sauce was very zesty and fruity, it only delivered a mild heat.

I want to tell everyone I know about this place- it’s amazing. However, if French Mexican isn’t your thing, fear not, francophones, I have a sandwich later on in the week for you that I think you’ll all go wild for. Incidentally, this week is also Retro Cereal Week, a collaborate effort with myself and four of my amazing blogosphere friends. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to foist spoonful after spoonful of vintage cereal into our mouths and write about it on the internet, not because we secretly miss Fear Factor, but because we’re amazing. We’ll be featuring reviews each day this week, so check out The Impulsive Buy, Rodzilla Reviews, Food Junk, Junk Food Guy, and me, Foodette Reviews, each day to get the scoop!

One thought on “El Nopal, Paris, France”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.