Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler.
White Bear Lake’s Casa Lupita is a taco joint that straddles two worlds. It offers some familiar Mexican styles of taco, but also tacos described simply as “chicken” or “pork.” And it offers classic toppings (onions, cilantro) on traditional tortillas (corn)—or you can load up your taco meat with yellow-and-white cheese shreds, torn up lettuce, and processed guac and then throw it on a flour tortilla.
When we visited, we tried Lupita’s Asada ($3) and Pork ($2.40) tacos. We thought the asada was just okay—the steak was somewhat dry and was presented in larger pieces than is typical for the style. But the pork taco was terrific—not a typical carnitas or barbacoa, it was stew-like and moist and reminded us of the tasty cabeza taco of Los Sanchez in St. Paul. The savory, tender meat tasted as though it had been cooked in rich chicken stock and it packed a surprising (but not offensive) amount of spicy heat on the finish.
For the record: We ordered our taco with cilantro and onions (plus a corn tortilla), but there’s no reason it wouldn’t taste equally good with more gringo-focused accompaniments.
(For more taco recommendations—many, many more, throughout the metro and beyond—check out the Growler’s interactive map feature: Minnesota Taco Atlas.)
THE DISH: Pork Taco on Corn Tortilla with Onions and Cilantro, $2.40
THE PLACE: Casa Lupita, 1350 Hwy 96 E. #19, White Bear Lake, MN
THE REASON: The pork has a bold, deep flavor and a real spicy finish that keeps you coming back for more