When Tucsonan Jude Schaffner wants tacos, he first asks me (his wife) to make them. He knows the likelihood of getting me to make tacos is slim, so he has a very close second choice in mind: Boca Tacos y Tequila on Speedway.
Don’t look for traditional Mexican fare here. The beans are ranchero style, the rice is served in a plastic takeaway container, and the selection of tacos? Oh-so-numerous. It’s casual and delicious, almost like a street stand. In fact, there are tables set up outside. But don’t mistake this University of Arizona neighbor for fast food. Boca offers some of the tastiest, most flavorful tacos in the city. You might even call them sophisticated.
“It’s a taco to the next level, where it’s a blend of a lot of flavors, flavors you don’t normally run into in a taco,” Schaffner said. “That’s the way all their food is.”
When Schaffner dines at Boca, he almost always chooses the Bistec Tacos (braised beef simmered in a spicy ranchero sauce) for their robust flavor. Others at Schaffner’s table ordered beer battered shrimp tacos, grilled chicken tacos and the chipotle BBQ taco. There are other, more unusual tacos to try as well. For example, try the rib eye; or the discada, a taco stuffed with chopped beef, chorizo and yellow peppers. For surf and turf lovers there’s the Mar Y Tierra, a taco filled with both rib eye steak and beer battered shrimp. There are also vegetable tacos like the rajas taco, filled with Anaheim and poblano chilies that have been simmered with corn in a cream and cheese sauce.
The salsa and chips, which have to be ordered separately, deserve a special mention. The chips arrive warm and nicely salted so they’re filled with flavor, but really it’s the salsas that steal the show. Each order comes with five or six different salsas: some sweet, some savory. Schaffner likes them all.
“I like just regular vegetable salsa but I like these salsas because they’re something different,” he said. “They always have a variety. Things change a lot. [The chef] uses whatever is in season.”
Still, sometimes the salsas need to come with a warning.
“You have to be careful; some are hot,” Schaffner said with a laugh.
Combine your meal with one of the many beers or tequilas on the menu and you have a meal worth remembering. That’s why Schaffner loves where he eats.
Boca Tacos and Tequila
828 E. Speedway Blvd.
Tucson, AZ 85719