The Broadway musical Rent taught us that a year is comprised of “five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.” Instead of measuring the length of a year “in daylights, sunsets, midnights, cups of coffee, inches, miles, laughter or strife,” Rent encouraged us to measure a year in life in seasons of love. Not surprisingly, Seasons of Love (a song from the musical from which the italicized lyrics originated) came immediately to mind when we espied Sazon Con Amor, a food truck (that’s mobile kitchen to you, Bob) parked on Highway 550 in Bernalillo.
Sazon Con Amor translates from Spanish to “Seasoning With Love,” but that was close enough to Rent’s definitive song to trigger a day-long earworm. It also prompted me to ruminate on the many times chefs have expressed that the secret ingredient in their cooking is love, but until discovering Sazon Con Amor, we’ve never heard of any chef bragging about seasoning with love. It’s not just semantics either. Cookbooks refer to seasoning as “the herbs, spices and herb-spice mixes used during the preparation of food” (by contrast, condiments consist of ingredient combinations (often including spices) added by a diner at the point of consumption). It would be very interesting indeed to see if we could discern that Sazon Con Amor seasons with love.
Sazon Con Amor has been serving the community of Bernalillo since February, 2021. Stationed primarily on the parking lot of a shuttered Pizza 9 just west of McDonald’s on Highway 550, it’s hard to miss a mobile conveyance the colors of the Mexican flag. Weather permitting and traffic moving slowly enough, the inimitable aromas of Mexican food seasoned with love may waft into your vehicle like an inviting siren beckoning you to stop. Who can resist a fragrant invitation to stop and enjoy tacos, tortas, burritos, burgers, menudo, breakfast burritos, quesadillas and so much more?
And if those inviting aromas don’t get you, maybe you’ll stop when you see a walking, talking whirling dervish of a taco trying to flag you down. That would be one of Sazon Con Amor’s owners, the “front of the store” young woman who takes and delivers your order. She doesn’t wear the taco costume to transact day-to-day sales, but you’ll meet “Lady Taco” during events such as the August 14th feast day of San Lorenzo, patron saint of Bernalillo. Even sans taco costume as she was the day we met her, she’s a luminous personality who can sell a taco de barbacoa to a vegan. (If you’d like to see her taco alter ego, just launch Sazon Con Amor’s Facebook page, click on the Photos tab and scroll.)
Sazon Con Amor has a menu even brick-and-mortar Mexican restaurants would envy. It operates on the less-is-more fashion Mexican food trucks tend to employ. That means you can enjoy tacos, tortas, burritos and even quesadillas stuffed with your choice of asada, barbacoa, carnitas, tripitas, chicharron and al pastor. It’s a winning formula, one which ensures you can’t go wrong no matter what you order. Portions, particularly the tortas, are generous and…seasoned very well. Obviously with love.
For years I’ve engaged in a campaign to change my Kim’s staid and predictable ordering at Mexican restaurants, to convince her of the superiority of the mighty torta over the ubiquitous taco. She’s been unplacable until espying something called the “Torta Poka M” on Salzon Con Amor’s menu. Lady Taco raved that this torta weighed in at over one pound. That’s one pound of pastor, jamon, asada, queso, avocado, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise on a beautiful bolillo roll. That’s one pound of complementary flavors coming together on one soft bread canvas. It accomplished what I’d long thought possible. It won over my reluctant bride.
Ironically, my Kim enjoyed my torta de barbacoa even more than she enjoyed the Torta Poka M. Torta de barbacoa has long been my barometer for torta greatness. If a restaurant can prepare a great torta de barbacoa, it’s usually indicative of its prowess with all things torta. Sazon Con Amor’s torta de barbacoa is quite good with moist and tender tendrils of moist, juicy beef piled high between a bounteous bolillo. Though it is seasoned beautifully (and with love), it wouldn’t be a Gil endorsed torta without salsa, the perfect condiment complement to seasoning. One caution about Sazon’s salsa–it’s muy picante. Be judicious in using it.
No additional seasoning or condiment is needed for Sazon’s sensational tacos al pastor. Traditional taco accompaniment of chopped white onion and cilantro is all you need. We couldn’t discern a great deal of pineapple influence on the al pastor nor was it overly seasoned with achiote (a common problem with al pastor). What we did discern was cubed pork shoulder seasoned with love and generously stuffed into thick corn tortillas. There’s no need for doubling up on the tortillas thanks to pinto pony speckled corn tortillas redolent with corn flavor.
If there was any queso on the quesadilla al pastor, it was a supporting player. Where queso normally blankets a tortilla with its molten, salty qualities, instead we found a smear of frijoles. It wasn’t quite tostada style, but certainly reminiscent. Atop the frijoles, a refried blend, al pastor in all its flavorful goodness. A quesadilla in which the named ingredient doesn’t hold a prominent place, who would have thought it?
There are five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes in a year. Don’t let a season of love pass you by without visiting Sazon Con Amor, the food truck which seasons its food with love.
Sazon Con Amor
200 US Highway 550
Bernalillo, New Mexico
LATEST VISIT: 3 August 2021
# OF VISITS: 1
BEST BET: Quesadilla Al Pastor, Tacos Al Pastor, Torta de Barbacoa, Torta Poka M