While traveling around the world, Aaron Sanchez picks up flavors and recipe ideas to funnel back to his kitchen at Tacombi Tacqueria, where tacos are crafted in a Volkswagon parked in the middle of the restaurant. Purposely low-key, Tacombi offers a spot to grab a sparkling sangria or Michelada with friends and indulge in a taco binge. Make sure to try the corn esquites, a mixture of toasted corn with lime and a delicious chipotle mayonnaise. Tacos range from beef picadillo to shrimp a la diabla, sure to delight avocado lovers. Breakfast tacos, like huevos con chorizo, are also served all day long. Whether Sanchez is in Monterrey trying out goat meat or brainstorming with his Food Network colleagues, his ideas all trickle back to the kitchen — and the tacos — at the unique Nolita spot.
What’s inspired you lately from your travels?
I just spent a month in Monterrey, Mexico. They’re very well known there for their baby goat, their kid — cabrito. It’s a wonderful, luscious meat that’s never really had any food — it’s only had its mother’s milk. It’s just a flavor that’s so unique and different. I really want to do some of that here, just picking up the idea of different regional dishes.
What are you excited to incorporate this season?
I want to start doing some particular moles that I haven’t played with a lot. I want to start focusing on the black mole. I want to do this thing called chimole, where you literally burn the chilies and the vegetables and you get this really dark, intense pureed sauce, chimole. I’ve been working with a lot of chefs from Mexico, my TV shows, and these guys have been really inspiring me, I’m taking a page from their book.
What are your favorite ingredients to work with right now?
I like the idea of having different squashes and smoking them and playing with different flavors. I like serving smoked pumpkin puree. I’ll take big pieces — it’s just a wonderful sort of sauce for duck. So I’m playing with the idea of chili and smoke.
What do you do to relax?
I just love sitting in front of the fire. I have a home in Long Island, Greenport. I put a fire on and watch a movie with my kids and my wife. I’ll cook. I have a grill in the back.
Aaron Sanchez is the chef at Tacombi Tacqueria (267 Elizabeth St., 917-727-0179). He also regularly appears on Food Network.