Beef birria tacos at El Mariachi in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Beef birria tacos at El Mariachi in Everett, Washington on Wednesday, July 5, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

2 spots for exceptional tacos in Everett

A food writer at The Seattle Times took a trip north to two Everett taquerias with unique offerings.

By Tan Vinh, The Seattle Times

EVERETT — Our latest Neighborhood Eats dispatch comes from Everett, where I taco-hopped to different taquerias north of Seattle on a recent weekend because I don’t need to use a gimmicky Taco Tuesday as an excuse to hunt down great goat barbacoa or birria. Details below.

El Nopal Mexican Food

12720 Fourth Ave. W., Suite D, Everett; 425-374-8007, on Facebook: El Nopal Mexican Food

Even if you drive below the speed limit along this drag in Everett, you might miss this unassuming taqueria tucked in a strip mall. Regulars come for the al pastor and birria, but I brake for the goat tacos and other menu items you don’t often see around the Puget Sound area.

The goat barbacoa tacos are served every Friday and Saturday starting at 11 a.m. ($25 a pound with housemade tortillas). Shards of steamed goat meat sit on a warm, pillowy tortilla — what’s tacked on after that is up to you. I prefer a sprinkling of salt, a bed of raw onions and cilantro and a squiggle of green salsa. Add more tangy sauce if you want to drown out the gaminess.

If you miss this weekend taco special, try the house specialty: the nopal plate con cecina, a platter of grilled cactus and cured top round steak with sides of beans and rice ($20). Just bundle the strips of protein and plant into the corn tortilla for a vegetal-squishy taste from the cactus to offset the sharp, salty beef.

Or try the taco arabe ($5), a Middle Eastern shawarma-inspired meat married with Mexican flavors that’s a popular fusion in Puebla, the hometown of El Nopal owner Raul Osorio. His homage consists of grilled pork bits and onions that are coated in a smoky chili pepper sauce and sealed in a pliant flour tortilla for a spicy and salty bite.

El Mariachi Birria Y Tacos

6100 Evergreen Way, Everett; 425-512-9024, instagram.com/elmariachi_birria

While eating (literally) hundreds of tacos around Western Washington last year, I reveled in chef Hugo Carranza’s fried chicken tacos ($4 each or three for $13 with consommé) at El Mariachi, with tangled strands of braised thigh and breast meat brimming with smoky chipotle and sautéed onions.

The poultry fillings, coated in cheddar and queso asadero, are served in a corn tortilla that’s been fried in an oil infused with guajillo peppers, anise star and fall spices. It’s a crackly bite with a cheesy-stretchy interior. You’ll need every bit of the sides of pickled red onions, fresh cilantro and avocado sauce to cut into this beer sponge.

And you should mark your calendar to check back in May. That’s when Carranza promises to “kick it L.A. style” by turning the parking lot into a taco cookout on weekends. He’ll roll out a vertical spit to slow-roast a beehive of al pastor pork and a grill to sizzle up some mesquite aromatic beef tacos in the Northern Mexican tradition of Sonora and Nuevo León.

Psst. The chef also plans to open another taqueria in the near future to do charcoal-grilled meats.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Food & Drink

Owner Fatou Dibba prepares food at the African Heritage Restaurant on Saturday, April 6, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Oxtail stew and fufu: Heritage African Restaurant in Everett dishes it up

“Most of the people who walk in through the door don’t know our food,” said Fatou Dibba, co-owner of the new restaurant at Hewitt and Broadway.

Featuring a pink blush over a yellow background, WA 64 combines qualities of Honeycrisp and Cripps Pink (aka Pink Lady) for a firm, crisp, sweet and tart bite. A naming contest for the new apple runs through May 5, 2024. (Photo provided by Washington State University)
Hey Honeycrisp, this new breed of apple needs a name

Enter a naming contest for WA 64, a hybrid apple with the same baby daddy as Cosmic Crisp.

Binita Shrestha, new co-owner of Boston’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, sits in her restaurant on Monday, March 18, 2024, in Smokey Point, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
New pizzeria owner took the scenic route from Nepal to Marysville

Binita Shrestha “wanted to be everything.” At 50, she can check off Korean beauty pageant contestant and restaurant franchisee.

Owner Andy Plumlee stands in front Popsies in Oak Harbor. (Photo provided by Whidbey News-Times)
Popsies offers kaleidoscope of popcorn flavors on Whidbey Island

Two years after taking over the business, Andy Plumlee opened another store in the Anacortes Marina on Monday.

Husband and wife Christian and Melissa Despi have started their own bakery in Everett.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Who takes the cake? The best bakery in Snohomish County

Herald readers voted on the best pastry shop to satisfy your sweet tooth.

This baby potato and fenugreek stir fry makes a great filling for a pita bread sandwich. (Reshma Seetharam)
Are potatoes vegetables? A national committee is hashing that out

The debate has sparked a national debate. Sen. Maria Cantwell signed a letter opposing reclassifying potatoes as grains.

This September 2020 photo shows a sliced baked ham on parchment paper in Washington, D.C. Leftover ham, which will last for up to five days in the fridge, can be a springboard for other meals during the week. Of course you’ll want a sandwich or two, but there are many other ways to put that porky, smoky flavor to good use. (Cheyenne Cohen via AP)
How to make an Easter ham last all week — or longer by properly freezing it

Sandwiches will eat up some of those leftovers, but what about the rest? Try adding it to a salad, a casserole or an omelet.

This image shows a larger adaptation of the Israeli dish shakshuka from Molly Gilbert's "Sheet Pan Suppers." (Molly Gilbert via AP)
To feed a crowd for Easter brunch, these chefs suggest baking your eggs

Molly Gilbert shares her take on a traditional Israeli dish while Lauren Lane offers up her version of an egg casserole.

Some posh cooks shunning vegetable oil

Concerns about vegetable oils are driving elite chefs and the affluent to products said to be healthier. Can ordinary home cooks afford to follow?

This April 2019 image shows a recipe for chipotle sliders with a colorful lettuce slaw and blue cheese dressing in New York. (Cheyenne Cohen via AP)
These mini-burgers are delectable, adorable and inhalable

And they might just be perfect if you’re hosting a gathering to watch the college basketball tournament on TV.

Downtown Edmonds is a dining destination, boasting fresh seafood, Caribbean-inspired sandwiches, artisan bread and more. (Taylor Goebel / The Herald)
What to eat on a foodie day trip to Edmonds

From doughnuts for breakfast to sushi for dinner, here are four absolute winners worth a food lover’s day trip to Edmonds.

Irish Guinness stew with mashed potatoes, soda bread and -- of course -- a pint of Guinness. (Quil Ceda Creek Casino)
Don’t wait for St. Paddy’s Day 2025 to cook up this Irish stew

This take on traditional Irish stew from a Quil Ceda Creek Casino chef is a delicious and practical way to feed the whole family.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.