It’s a Taco Party

This week I sampled the street tacos at Taco Fiesta. And honestly, who wouldn't want to try food from a party taco stand?

After driving past several times I noticed that they ALWAYS seemed to have a pretty big crowd - especially at lunchtime. I was in the area putting a sign in the ground at a nearby listing and I was starving. So I decided it was time to give Taco Fiesta a try. At first glance parking appeared to be very limited and I almost drove past but I discovered an additional parking lot located behind the stand.

I ordered the Asada and Pollo Tacos and briefly contemplated adding a third (it would have been Al Pastor) but decided that three tacos before 1pm might be a bit much (even for me.) They also had Lengua (tounge) on the menu but I wasn’t feeling quite that brave.

Despite the length of the line, the service was still friendly and fast. The tacos were all delicious especially with the green sauce (but be warned it is HOT) and I washed it down with a real cane sugar Coke. I had my tacos served “authentic” with cilantro and onion and a squirt of lime, but there is the option of lettuce, tomato, and cheese. The seating is all outside with tables under the awning and picnic tables in the yard. It is an ideal for lunch or a quick dinner.

I was very impressed with the quality of the food – they were honestly some of the best street tacos I have had locally. A man I was chatting with mentioned that they have tamales on the weekend that are excellent so I might have to make a return trip.

Taco Fiesta is on 104 just west of Highway 59 in Robertsdale. It is an unassuming place located in front of a trailer park and next to a laundry mat, but don’t let that deter you the food more than compensates for the location.

Tech Tip

It’s best practices to have different passwords for everything, but at a bare minimum the password for your financial accounts should be unique! Hackers are usually interested in getting the passwords for your finances, if it’s a unique password they won’t get it even if your other passwords become compromised. Use a long and strong password experts say 12+ character passwords are virtually unbreakable. One idea is to create passwords using a memorable phrase and then substituting numbers and characters for letters. For example, It’s all good becomes: I+i$@llg00d!

Keeping your info secure should be a priority in a real estate transaction as well, before you hire an agent ask them what security protocols their company has in place to keep your financial data safe. If your realtor uses “karensells@aol.com“ to send documents you are at risk. Smart agents and smart companies use encrypted email to protect their clients.

To Refi or Not to Refi

If you have purchased a house within the last two years it might be time to think about refinancing. Interest rates have dropped as much as 1% over this time least year which can add up to significant savings long term. But how do you know if it is the right time for you to refinance? It will primarily depend on your future plans with your property. There will be closing costs associated with refinancing (as a general estimate expect about 3% of the amount of the loan) and if you know you will be moving within the next couple of years, there might not be enough time to recoup all those fees.

nerdwallet.com has a fantastic calculator that shows your break even period (the number of years you’ll have to make the new monthly payment before you recoup the costs of refinancing) and also calculates your(potential) savings comparing your current mortgage with your ‘new’ mortgage terms. And while it may not be possible for all homeowners, refinancing a higher rate 30 year mortgage to a lower rate 15 year can save you thousands.

For example, a $175,000 loan balance on a 30 year mortgage at 4.875% refinanced to a 15 year at 3.25% will add about $275 to your monthly payment, BUT by year 5 it will have saved you $11,000 and by year 10 you will have saved $31,000 and by the 15th year you will own the home free and clear.

Staying and $aving Fortified

FORTIFIED is a nationally recognized building method that goes beyond building codes to strengthen residential and commercial buildings against specific natural hazards such as high winds and hurricanes. FORTIFIED standards are based on more than 20 years of scientific research and real-world testing.

FORTIFIED Home can be used for new or existing homes, and has three levels of designation available—FORTIFIED Roof™, FORTIFIED Silver™, and FORTIFIED Gold™—builders can work with homeowners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budget and resilience goals.

Not only can having a FORTIFIED home save you on insurance costs, but a fortification designation can also increase your property value. In a study led by the University of Alabama, a FORTIFIED designation was shown to increase a property’s value by 7 percent (in some cases even more) when it sells. If your home is not currently Fortified, you can contact a Fortified Evaluator to inspect your home and create a Current Conditions Report that will outline the steps needed to upgrade your home to Roof or Silver Standards.

If your home is currently FORTIFIED, be aware that the designation does not last not forever.  A Fortified designation EXPIRES after 5 years. You can renew your designation for another 5 years by having a re-inspection conducted by a certified Fortified Evaluator. The expiration date of your designation is printed of on your home designation certificate. For more information or a list of local evaluators visit: fortifiedhome.org

It’s Tuesday… let’s talk about tacos!

First off, yes I am an official TACO SCOUT and yes that IS pretty much a made up position that I created just so I can justify sampling ALL.THE.TACOS! Well technically, this job does exists, but it’s already been filled by some lucky dude who scouted for the best of the best tacos for the Netflix series The Taco Chronicles. BUT I have decided that this is a topic I am going to explore and I plan to blog about it weekly, so I think it’s a somewhat legit endeavor or a very skilled way of eating more tacos,

Los Tacos

Los Tacos is the quintessential “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” type of place, located off Highway 98 in Daphne appearances can be deciving but the taste is authentic. In addition to the Daphne location, they have spots in Fairhope and Foley.

First off, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of their tacos (or honestly anything on their menu) but I ordered two of my favorites: Tacos de Carnitas and Tacos al Pastor. Los Tacos offers all of your typical Mexican taco staples (chicken, beef shredded and ground) but it’s worth stepping out of your comfort zone, you won’t be disappointed.

Tacos de Carnitas

Carnitas are typically shoulder of pork that’s been slow cooked and seasoned with herbs, pulled apart, and then oven-roasted until slightly crisp (think the Mexican version of pulled pork), then shredded and stuffed into tacos. Mine were served on soft corn tortillas and topped with cilantro and onion. The combination of the meltingly tender slightly spicy meat and with crunch of the onion and the cilantro were pure perfection. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask for salsa verde which is my favorite from the salsa bar (and they will gladly put into to-go containers for you) but even without the salsa the taco was excellent!

Al Pastor

Al Pastor is the original fusion taco, developed in central Mexico it is based on shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. The English translation of al pastor is “in the style of the shepherd.” Mexican shepherds adapted the Lebanese style of spit-roasting lamb, using pork instead. My taco was served on corn tortillas and topped with finely chopped onions and cilantro. The meat was flavorful but not overly spicy and again even without the salsa verde it was excellent.

clockwise from top left – tacos de carnitas, al pastor, and (my sons) shredded chicken taco

If you are looking for relatively authentic wallet friendly Mexican in the Eastern Shore Area I would recommend giving Los Tacos a chance — it is a hidden gem of a restaurant with fantastic food and friendly staff.

I am already looking forward to my Taco Scouting next week. If you have suggestions on fantastic tacos in the Baldwin/Mobile County or Pensacola areas let me know. And if you have a taco craving go give Los Tacos a chance — it is a hidden gem of a restaurant with fantastic food and friendly staff. I am already looking forward to my Taco Scouting next week. If you have suggestions on fantastic tacos in the Baldwin/Mobile County or Pensacola areas let me know.

About Me

“You were born to be real. Not to be perfect”

I am a slightly sarcastic mom of 3, a taco aficionado, a REALTOR® with Bellator Real Estate, and a book nerd. I love to travel but I also love to explore my local area like a traveler. I love to workout and strive to eat healthy 80% of the time (perfection is myth, that sets us up for failure) so I can become the healthiest and strongest version of ME. I seek adventure and fun but also know how to work hard and grind.

I think that a persons vibe is so much more important than their looks, or wealth, or status. I thrive on being outdoors and crave the sunshine. I adore meeting new people and hearing their stories – I get energy from people. I used to have a very strong desire to follow street performers/panhandlers (apparently my friends and family feel this is unsafe so I have curbed that urge) now I just read books about people on the edges of societal norm. For the record, I would like to argue that this could still be dangerous: I could get a paper-cut or drop my kindle on my face and give myself a head injury.

I like spreadsheets and sorta don’t like showers. I think growth is the key to both happiness and success – that true happiness doesn’t come from achieving a goal; it comes from the act of making progress towards a goal. I love shopping at secondhand stores and brand new super cute shoes (I have a gazillion pairs…it’s a problem.) I like contradictions.

I have always been a writer – but (until now) too afraid to let others see my words.