Pour Vida Latin Flavor — a name doesn’t get any more enticing than that! “Are we there yet?” is all I could think as Karla navigated from her iPhone. Four freeways and an hour of traffic later, we arrived. Pour Vida Latin Flavor in Anaheim has made a reputation for itself on the OC Dining scene. People travel from near and far to taste the Puerto Rican-Mexican flavor that Chef Jimmy Martinez has infused into his destination restaurant. A group of UC Riverside students arrived with their DSLRs in-hand to capture memories of the highly anticipated foodie experience firsthand. The Sanchez family drove in from out-of-town on a recommendation from the Chef’s mother herself. “Will Travel for Tacos” seemed to be the theme of the day. After all, how far is too far for a handcrafted taco?
So, what’s all the buzz about? Chef Jimmy has established himself as one of Southern California’s most distinguished chefs. His passion for the culinary arts, which began in his mother’s kitchen at the age of 5 and grew into a career, propelled Jimmy to Executive Chef at some of Los Angeles’ most notable restaurants including Santa Monica’s 41 Ocean Club and BOA Steakhouse. At just 19-years-old, Chef Jimmy had the privilege of working under the world-famous Wolfgang Puck, at Spago. Take these accolades, add some passion, a dash of vision, a lot of determination, and you get: Mother inspired, Latin infused, award-winning tacos.
“The ahi taco is one of the best-selling tacos,” said Chef Jimmy as I glanced at their scoreboard-size menu. Little did he know, thanks to Instagram, that my heart has long been set on the Spicy Ahi Taco. My eyes spotted it; I’ll take two, please! Voila! I was presented with two pastel works of art. Light pink ahi tuna that marinated in a mixture of soy, sesame oil, sambal, green onion, and shallots topped with pale green avocado mousse, in a doughy, off-white, flour tortilla canvas. One word: Mouthwatering!
Pour Vida Latin Flavor serves a rotating craft beer selection in addition to a cooler of canned beers, so options were plentiful. I knew I wanted to pair this delectable taco with an easy-drinking, crisp, clean Mexican-style lager. As inviting as draft beer is, I opted for the canned Taco Truck Lager by Dust Bowl Brewing Company. Why? Because marketing wins every time! Taco. Truck. Lager. That’s how I roll! The Taco Truck is everything you’d expect from a Mexican-style Lager, and more. Its grain bill of Two-Row pale malt, flaked oats, and wheat deliver a light, smooth, and refreshing mouthfeel. Citrus notes from the hops add a tropical Mexican-twist.
The sweet corn-like malt aroma, thirst-quenching flavor profile, frothy white head, and pale-straw appearance, evoked memories of my college years, summer nights, and spring breaks. Back then, a Corona was the extent of my pallet’s reach. My oh my, how far I’ve come. Subtle notes of citrus hop aroma enhanced the savory ahi marinade while highlighting the lime notes of the avocado mousse. Mild grainy malt character complimented the soft doughy mouthfeel of the flour tortilla while providing a balanced contrast to the delicate, silky texture of the sashimi. Sweetness from the malt-forward lager provided a perfect counterpoint to the mild heat of the spicy sambal from the marinade. Any lingering fire sensation was swept away by the carbonic fizz. Light, flavorful, and refreshing, it was the perfect pairing for a bright summer day.
Sorry, Pour Vida Latin Flavor has no $1 tacos, but these tacos are worth every penny. If you’re in town, stop by. If not, it’s worth the drive. And if you’re having a bad day, remember, t.a.c.o.’s are cheaper than therapy!