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Condado Tacos (Oshtemo Township)

December 29, 2022

  • 1750 S. Drake Road, Suite E
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49006
  • (269) 249-1665
  • Website
  • Menu

I finally get some time off this year.

It’s been a year. I’ve had to use the bulk of my vacation days one at a time. If the kids had an event in the evening, I would take the day off because there was no guarantee I could make it. If J was out of town, I had to take a day off because I can’t get to daycare before it closes. I didn’t get an actual vacation this year. The kids both played baseball/softball in the spring and that ate in to a lot of my vacation days. 6:00 games don’t work with my work schedule.

I had four days left and I decided to try to save them for the week between Christmas and New Year’s. The Christmas holiday being a Monday actually gave me a full week off. Unheard of.

We spent the first several days, starting with the Friday before Christmas hunkered down at home. J had done a lot of shopping in case we got stuck at home with the blizzard. We were never trapped here but we had enough food that we could actually eat at home and not go out for dinner.

I was starting to get a little antsy spending so much time at home not really doing much so by Tuesday night, I asked J if we could go out to eat. There’s a spot nearby we haven’t been to yet that we’ve both been wanting to try.

Condado Tacos opened in November on Drake Road in the Corner at Drake shopping center next to Costco. The restaurant takes up the corner spot with the big curved glass windows near Firehouse Subs and Nonla Burger. This is Condado’s seventh restaurant in Michigan including two in Grand Rapids.

The restaurant is pretty wild. We’ve never been to a Condado Tacos before and had no idea what to expect. The restaurant is essentially a typical bar/grill but the décor is something else.

The walls are covered in a mural painted by local artists. The walls are really bright and a stark contrast to the grey cement floor. The bar area features hanging lamps and a couple of TV’s. There are also some pub style tables in this area.

There is a pretty large dining room tucked in to the rest of the space but another cool feature is the second story inside the curved glass window facade. They built a second story with more tables and even painted some of the ceiling in this area. It gives it a really cool look when you look up

Condado Tacos is a tequilla and taco bar so J and I both started with tequila drinks…me mostly because their beer list sucks. It’s all macro stuff. There’s nothing really interesting enough to make me not want a cocktail.

My cocktail choice was the Handsome Devil. This drink is Habanero infused tequila with Ancho Reyes Verede, a lime and a Tajin rim. This drink definitely had some spice to it. I’m going to be one of those guys that says I don’t like tequila then drink a tequila drink and tell you how much I enjoyed it. The spice slowed me down a little bit so I couldn’t sip to fast but it was a perfect drink to drink with tacos.

J’s drink was the Rosemary Paloma. This concoction is Reposado Tequila, orange liqueur, ruby red grapefruit, a sprig of fresh rosemary, lemon, lime, orange, and agave. She likes margaritas more than I do so this was right up her alley.

We started with a full bowl of queso for the table. There are a few different queso options but we kept it simple with the queso blancho which comes with a single jalapeno and some paprika on top. We chose this one because the kids don’t do spicy very well (as we’ll get to). I pulled the jalapeno out so they wouldn’t accidently get it. Everyone loved the queso and it’s the thing both kids have said they want to go back for.

The queso came with some delicious house made chips. These were light, airy chips with a little bit of salt. They were also a memorable part of the meal for both kids. It took us two baskets to get through the full bowl of queso and we still had some dip leftover at the end.

The taco menu can be a little daunting if you let it. They have a number of suggested tacos broken down by protein but if that’s too overwhelming, you can make your own tacos from a list of ingredients.

I decided to try two of the suggested tacos. My picks were the Lucy’s Fire (chicken) and Sweet Heat (brisket).

I started with Lucy’s Fire. This taco is a Sweet Lucy which is their doubledecker taco. This is a hard taco wrapped in a soft flour tortilla with queso and quac in between them. A Sweet Lucy typically uses a corn hard taco but in this case, they use the Firecracker taco which is a “fiery flavored hard corn taco.” Those two tacos are stuffed with roasted chicken, lettuce, cilantro, and onions with Middlefield smoked cheddar, corn salsa, and a cilantro-lime aioli. There’s a lot of stuff in this taco that I wouldn’t put in to a taco myself but all together, it’s actually quite delicious. There is a little bit of heat to it but not much. The aioli is a bit much..I would go lighter but it wasn’t too much of a detraction. I think my favorite part may have been the cheese. There are big strips of smoked cheddar cheese that I could literally eat by itself.

The second taco I picked was the Sweet Heat. Again, this is a double decker taco with queso between the hard corn and soft flour tortilla. It’s filled with brisket, cilantro, onion, Middlefield smoked cheddar, pineapple salsa, habenro-mango sauce, and chipotle honey. Again, there’s a lot of stuff in here I wouldn’t willing put on a taco but the whole of it works. There’s a lot of freshness from the veggies so the brisket kind of gets lost. I would put the brisket more forward with a lighter touch of sauce but that’s just the carnivore in me.

J picked the Build Your Own Bowl. She picked the Shredded Lettuce to start then topped with the slow roasted pulled pork and a whole host of veggies. Bowls like this have always been her go-to at places that offer them. She can typically get two meals out of a bowl and she did with this one as well. The server brought her a lid to go right on top of the container she was already eating out of.

The kids pretty much stick to simple tacos. B likes soft tacos so we got him one soft flour tortilla with Tex-Mex ground beef and cheddar cheese. He took a couple of bites then noticed a pepper in the meat and asked what it was. I tried to blow it off as part of the spices for the beef but he was too smart. He had already said the beef was too spicy for him. He tried a couple of more bites but he really doesn’t like spice. We tried scraping off most of the meat leaving him with mostly a cheese taco. He again took a few bites and said he was full. He said he liked the flavor of the taco but it was too spicy for him.

L also likes her tacos simple. We got her Hard Corn tortilla with the Tex-Mex ground beef, lettuce, and smoked cheddar cheese. She said the meat was pretty spicy as well but she actually liked the spice. We got her two tacos but she only ate one and asked if I wanted the second. She kept saying she really liked the spice which is unsual for her. It wasn’t a “hurt your mouth” kind of spiciness but it was noticeable. She even asked the next day if we could back to that “new taco place” which is a pretty sound endorsement from her.

Our bill for dinner was right around $80 but that included two $15 drinks.

Condado Taco is not your average taco place. You can make it that if that’s what you want but there are a lot of options for a lot of unique combinations. I will probably go towards the Build Your Own in the future but I always like trying the combinations these type of places comes up with. It seems like fancy tacos is the current trend with more and more places opening (there’s another chain one coming to downtown Kalamazoo sometime in 2023). I love a simple Mexican street taco but the fancy creations are also fun every now and then.

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