By Paul Lukes
Every once in a while, I find myself wanting to eat great food without dealing with all the pretentiousness and extra nonsense that comes along with “fine dining.” When that happens, my first choice of where to eat is usually La Michoacana on 24th and F streets in South Omaha. Now, I’m sure if you know Omaha at all you’re not too excited about hearing the location of this establishment, but trust me when I tell you that it’s worth venturing out of your comfort zone.
La Michoacana is both an ice cream shop and authentic Mexican Taqueria, serving a wide assortment of traditional Mexican favorites. Upon entering the restaurant, don’t expect to be dazzled by the décor. The walls are painted a color that is part salmon pink and part peach. Not the most appealing hue, that’s for sure. The chairs and tables are your basic, industrial, rental quality banquet seating, and the floors are covered with linoleum that was probably laid the same year I graduated pre-school (mid-‘80s). In the far corner of the restaurant, you will find the kitchen together with the ice cream parlor and a simple partition wall separating the two. You will find the traditional ice cream cooler with a glass front, as well as a cooler with sliding doors on top, which contains the paletas (popsicles). To the left of this cooler you will find the counter where you place your order in addition to the menu, which hangs on the wall behind the counter. Now before you decide to come to La Michoacana, be ready for a cultural endeavor and polish up on your basic Spanish speaking skills because there is really only one lady at La Michoacana that speaks English well enough to take your order. That being said, I have polished my Spanish well enough to be able to order my carne asada tacos and the vegetarian tostadas for my company. From tostadas to tortas to tacos, I’m sure you will find a dish that fits your palette; the trick is knowing how to order it correctly.
After placing our order, we made our way to a table, where we could enjoy the wide array of Mexican concert posters or check out the rubber toys and knick-knacks sold in the little kid’s vending machine that was adjacent to our table. The food arrived within minutes, accompanied by salsa roja, salsa verde, guacamole, and a bottle of crema. I squeezed some limes over my tacos and laid some red salsa down and went to town. The tacos are by far the best I’ve had in all of Nebraska, hands down. My date had tostadas with beans, pico de gallo and jalapenos and they were also cooked to perfection. All in all, our meal was exquisite and made us forget all about our language struggles and the ugly pigment on the walls. In addition to the great dishes, all of the ice cream products are high quality, homemade in-house so you don’t need to go anywhere to put out the fire in your mouth that the salsa roja sets. Not only were our taste buds extremely satisfied, but also our wallets didn’t feel much lighter either. La Michoacana had the two of us fed to ultimate satisfaction for less than $15, which is something that’s hard to find these days. So the next time you’re hungry, money is tight and you feel like getting a glimpse of another culture, mosey on down to South Omaha for some delicious Mexican food at La Michoacana; just don’t forget your Spanish-English dictionary.