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Camarena taco truck photo
Photo credit: Shane O'Donnell

With over a century of tequila crafting under their belts, Familia Camarena Tequila is recruiting local chefs around America to man its new mobile restaurant, a bold fusion of tequila and simple, delicious food. Having blitzed Los Angeles, Miami, and Houston, the Camareno Taco Truck challenged young native New York chef Jesse Vega of Chelsea’s Sueños Restaurant to create his own spin on gourmet Mexican street fare accented with their signature small-batch 100% blue agave tequila.

Last week in Manhattan, Chef Vega infused bright, punchy pineapple salsa with silver tequila to top his melt-in-your-mouth tacos al pastor (brined first in tequila, of course).

“These are off the hook,” he confided, slipping me the very first of many tacos served that evening, “I’m a huge, huge tequila fan. Let’s put it this way: I had zero idea about what it was until a bartender at a restaurant I was working at offered me a sipping tequila which had the same characteristics as a cognac, and it totally blew my mind. All I knew before then were horror stories about Jose Cuervo, but that experience opened the floodgates of cooking with tequila for me.”

So go ahead, marinate, brine, and infuse your summer favorites with tequila and thank us, Camarena, and Chef Vega when your grillmates demand to know your secret ingredient.