After a few weeks in Europe for the 4th and 5th rounds of the World Cup, it was finally time to head back to America. My teammates Howard, Chris and I landed on the east coast in the afternoon, eager to kick off our annual Nationals race trip. This year, Nationals is being held in Snowshoe, West Virgina - a very remote ski resort with notoriously rooty, fun technical trails and no grocery stores or cell reception for miles. Rather than head straight to Snowshoe, we stopped over for the night in Harrisonburg to get in a short spin and fuel up before making our trek up the mountain. Luckily, we were reunited with my mechanic Brad at the airport who picked us up and squired us about the town.
By the time we were checked into the hotel and bikes were built, it was already around 6:30pm. The jet lag was hitting us all hard and it took all of our motivation to get out for a short sunset spin. I always find that, no matter how late or short the ride, just getting back on the bike after a travel day is essential for the mind and body. A few minutes of riding on Pleasant Valley Road and we were all feeling like new people. The only thing missing was dinner - and the tacos were calling.
The Taco Spot: Proximity played a large role in the selection of this spot, but we were certainly not disappointed. The Sub Station Mexican Grill is located in the outskirts of Harrisonburg, conveniently a 4-5 minute walk from the Hampton Inn depending on how jet lagged you are. From the outside, this restaurant looks a little funky. It's in a small, unassuming brick building snuggled between a used car lot that may or may not be abandoned and across from a dunking donuts. I tell you: do not judge a taco by its tortilla.
Once inside, you are greeted by the sound and smell of meat sizzling on the grill. We took our seats and a basket of chips and giant mugs of water quickly found their way to us. As we began to peruse the menu, we were a bit surprised by the variety of offerings. From sub sandwiches to burgers, I was starting to wonder if the tacos would really be the star of the show.
The insatiable Chris Blevins ordered some nachos for the table and Brad and I decided to share the steak fajitas as well as an order of the tacos al pastor. Brad also ordered a margarita and when asked about sizing, the waitress responded, "we have one size. It's a 20 ounce fishbowl". There you have it folks. 20 ounce it is.
Innumerable baskets of chips were consumed as we waited for the food to arrive. Though they required some salt, they were warm, delicious and irresistible. First up - the nachos. While the nacho cheese was somewhat standard and left a bit to be desired, the corn and jalapeños saved the day. The fajitas sizzled on out in a pan a few minutes later accompanied by a little foil wrapped side of tasty corn or flour tortillas. Though they required some assembly, the fajitas made great little tacos. The steak and chicken fajitas were both delicious.
It should come as no surprise that the tacos were definitely the highlight of the meal. One order consisted of four delicious tacos al pastor. The meat was very flavorful and wonderfully crispy having sizzled on the griddle with diced pineapple. The meat was topped with cilantro and thinly chopped onions, nestled in soft corn tortillas and served with a lime. There was also a side of tomatillo green salsa, however, it was somewhat watery and wasn't my favorite. Overall, however, these tacos tasted like a very authentic version of tacos al pastor and were definitely worth coming back for.