I love food. That’s obvious. But I love nothing better than a taco.Alex Stupak–to whose New York City restaurant Empellon Taqueria I rushed after getting this book–is not afraid to play around with both the traditional and the new in constructing his tacos, salsas, and even with approaching the tortilla as an integral part of the affair. Corn or flour? What about, meat tortilla, rye tortilla (for the amazing “Pastrami Tacos with Mustard Seed Salsa), or saffron tortilla?

I did not see the mashed pea tacos (which look beautiful in the book) or the lamb tartare tacos when friends and I went to Empellon Taqueria, but the three of us ate through as much of the menu as we could…and…there were no complaints. It was a beautiful experience and we all left determined to come back and let friends know.

But since I live several hours from New York, the cookbook is a very welcome addition to my taco-loving household.

Even if you buy the book solely for the salsa recipes, you won’t be disappointed and your next party will be a hit.

Now, before people get upset that I only have a Mexican/Tex-Mex category, I dispute that anyone can define the culinary gradient that exists between Tex-Mex and Mexican that sharply. Certainly, there is a lot of variation between Oaxaca and El Paso, and I know Californians will want to get their own 2 cents in, but there are continuing “feedback” loops informing the evolution of a common core. Think the difference between British, Australian, and American English.

Evan Sung really rounds out this book with pictures for almost every recipe.