After three days of helping my friend Tom remodel his bathroom, we are not near as far along as we would had hoped. We did get the bathroom completely gutted. The only things left were pipes, wires and 2x4s. The hardest part was getting the 330 pound cast iron tub out. We then got all the pipes moved, all the items purchased that we needed, and the new tub installed and about half of the Hardiebacker cement board installed. Needless to say there is a lot left and I am going to try to get back out there to help him. The idea was to have it finished and surprise his wife when she returned on Tuesday from visiting her family in Pennsylvania. Well, she was definitely surprised.
I left his place around 7pm and started driving the 240 miles to Roanoke, VA to attend the funeral of a friend of the family.
As I was driving south down interstate 81 I drove by Harrisonburg, VA. My father and I had stopped in this town back in March and I met Robin on Day 96. Well once again I felt the calling to stop in Harrisonburg, but this time I ended up off exit 243 and found the typical selection of fast food joints. Then I spotted the Sub Station & Tacos Ricos. I made a u-turn and drove back and pulled in the parking lot. It was about 9pm when I sat down at the counter and Lourdes pushed a menu in front of me.
The restaurant looks a little more like an American diner than a Mexican taqueria. But don’t let that fool you, the food here is authentic Mexican cuisine. The owners, husband and wife team Jose and Lourdes, work behind the counter. They both take time to talk to their customers.
I was in the mood for tacos and asked Lourdes which ones she recommended. She guided me toward the carne asada tacos for $6.19, so that is what I ordered. The soft corn tortillas were warmed right on the grill next to the steak filet that was being prepared for me. I see that she pours a little bit of what looks to be oil on the tortillas, maybe that is a secret to the delicious taste of the tortillas. On top of the steak and tortilla Lourdes sprinkled a bit of fresh cilantro and onion on each taco. She added a side of salsa and two lime wedges and set the plate in front of me. This is the way I remember the tacos being served when I lived in Sinaloa, Mexico. Just simple tacos with high quality fresh ingredients served with limes. I squeezed the lime over the tacos and sprinkled a pinch of salt on them and started to eat. They were delicious.
While I was enjoying my tacos I found myself wondering what the story was behind the restaurant and my two hosts. When Lourdes came back to ask me how my tacos were I took the opportunity to tell her about my project and before I knew it I had recipient number 203!
Originally from Puebla, Mexico, Lourdes moved here 10 years ago. About two years after she moved to Harrisonburg, she married José who hails from Veracruz I think. Both had worked in a variety of fields, including the restaurant business. Last year Lourdes was working at a restaurant and José was working in construction when they decided to launch their own restaurant which opened five months ago. “It has always been Jose’s dream.” I asked her how it was going and she said it was going ok. It’s hard when you are just starting up. “There’s a lot more stress when the restaurant is your own,” she tells me. “After a slow night you sometimes find yourself thinking about how you are going to make up for the money that you didn’t earn that night.”
I think they will do very well. I can only personally vouch for the carne asada tacos, but they were very good. Lourdes also highly recommended the carne asada torta, which is a Mexican beef sandwich. I encourage everyone who is traveling up or down interstate 81 to stop in and sample the food. They are just off exit 243. Tell them Reed sent you!
Lourdes told me she was going to use the $10 to pay down some of her credit card debt. Glad that I could help.
The next day on the way home my father and I stopped in so that I could introduce him to my new favorite spot. He ordered a plate of tacos and another fan was born!The Sub Station & Ricos Tacos 3257 South Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801