This story was written and photographed by my longtime friend and colleague Bradley S. Pines and has never been posted online. I attended the initial tasting of pan tacos in the home of Alano Cardosa and found the food irresistible. - William R. Wood
Text and photography by Bradley S. Pines
A love of food and family recipes are often handed down from one generation to another. This is certainly true for longtime foodie Alano Cardosa and his son, Evan Cardosa, both of Portage, Mich.
|"What passes though my hands comes from my heart," said Alano Cardosa, right, as his son, Evan, fills a deep fried pãn taco with home-made fillings in his father's Portage, Mich., kitchen.|
“Evan was raised in the kitchen,” said Alano Cardosa while his son prepared a sample dish during a recent press preview of the pair’s latest kitchen collaboration, the pãn taco. Pãn is the spanish word for bread. Instead of a thin taco shell, the home-made fillings are placed into a bread taco, which has been deep fried. The pãn tacos have been baked fresh by La Azteca Bakery, 1938 Portage St. in Kalamazoo.
They are filled with fresh ingredients cooked with family recipes, including one for refried beans handed down from Alano Cardosa’s mother, and accompanied with sides like a bright, lightly fried Spanish rice which includes sazon spice seasoning.
|Deep fried pãn tacos are filled with a slow-cooked cut of beef, blended with toasted and ground cumin and black peppercorn, lime, onion, cold cabbage, salt, pepper cilantro, diced red tomato, chopped avocado salad and topped with queso fresco cheese.|
“It’s street food,” explains Alano Cardosa, who says he discovered the dish served in Progreso, Mexico in the Rio Grande River valley while visiting family there. Their carne, or meat, version features a slow-cooked cut of beef, blended with toasted and ground cumin and black peppercorn, lime, onion, cold cabbage, salt, pepper, cilanto, diced red tomato, chopped avocado salad and topped with queso fresco cheese.
It’s a business project for Evan Cardosa, 24, who works full time as a line cook at Sandhill Cafe in Gun Lake Casino. After working a Friday night shift in the kitchen, he’s planning to rise early to cook pãn tacos to sell at the Kalamazoo Winter Market, 1157 Bank St., open on Saturdays from 8-1.
|Evan Cardosa deep fries a pãn taco, a roll fresh baked by La Azteca Bakery, and then fills it with fresh ingredients cooked with a family recipe in his father's Portage, Mich., kitchen.|
While Alano Cardosa is busy full time running his Alano Salon at 1923 W. Centre Ave. in Portage, he will continue to offer recipes and advice, much as he did when Evan Cardosa ran the food operations of a number of local coffee shops. “The reception was excellent,” said Evan, following the Jan. 14 debut of breakfast and lunch versions of pãn taco at the Winter Market.
“What passes through my hands comes from my heart,” said Alano Cardosa, after passing down his love for food and family recipes to his son, Evan. As well as continuing to sell at the Kalamazoo Winter Market, the father-and-son team plan to offer pãn tacos to catering customers and perhaps open a small eatery in the future.