:Let's Goa!

Release Date: July 6,2017


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At top, after gaining a following in New York City, Goa Taco has opened in Santa Barbara — the eatery's only other brick-and-mortar location.

BRETT LEIGH DICKS/NEWS-PRESS PHOTOS

 
 
The menu of paratha tacos includes, clockwise from top left, Mojo Beef with pinto bean puree, smoked jalape¢o and plantain chips; Five-Spice Confit Duck with hot mustard pickled cucumber, radish, sweet soy and sesame; Paneer Cheese with spinach pesto, garam masala fried chickpea and pickled tomatillo; and Slow Roasted Pork Belly with pickled red cabbage and chipotle mayo.
 
 
Above, the idea for Duvaldi Marneweck's Goa Taco came while in Australia making breakfast for his mates.
 
 
Aside from Santa Barbara, above, and New York City locations, Goa Taco has a weekly pop-up in Los Angeles.

Among the Snacks are, Mexican Street Corn and, Pickled Beetroot, Kale, Burrata, Queso Fundido.

 
 

July 6, 2017

While it was Julia Child who declared "Life itself is the proper binge," another chef who has decided to call Santa Barbara home has taken those words to heart.

In 2014, Duvaldi Marneweck, a South African who made a name for himself in Australia, decided to relocate from Perth to New York City. Upon his arrival, Mr. Marneweck set about channeling his unique culinary perspective into a stall at Smorgasburg, Brooklyn's famed artisanal food vendor market, that he dubbed Goa Taco.

Six months later, Goa Taco was the talk of the town and the unassuming South African-born Australian had his own brick-and-mortar establishment on Manhattan's Lower East Side. Last year, Mr. Marneweck decided to relocate yet again, this time to Santa Barbara — and he brought his lauded take on tacos with him.

"We've only been open about three weeks and while it has been a crazy three weeks, it's also been fun — even if we've had to do a lot of explaining about the name," Mr. Marneweck told the News Press during a visit to the recently opened State Street eatery.

While the name "Goa" (GO'-uh) immediately inspires visions of a far-flung exotic paradise — which, by the way, is what Mr. Marneweck's gorgeously eccentric tacos also conjure — the name has a slightly more down-to-earth Australian origin.

When thirst hits while socializing down under, it is quite common to hear someone declare, "I could 'go a' beer right now." With that in mind, Mr. Marneweck figured folks here could always "go a" taco.

That's where the explanation stops, as Mr. Marneweck's paratha tacos speak for themselves.

Served in a shell made by folding a round of paratha (a layered, flaky Indian flatbread) in half, the tacos are then filled with various world flavors before being flattened in a panini press. Fittingly, the origin of this intriguing and delicious take on street food is as unique as the concept itself.

"I used to make these things when we were back in Australia," Mr. Marneweck said. Southeast Asian cuisine, such as paratha, is popular in the country. "I would go camping with mates down south around Margaret River and would cook these up for my friends. I used to make a bacon and egg one for breakfast, and, one day, I decided to put a name to it. I called them tacos because you kind of hold them like tacos."

Prior to moving to New York City in 2014, Mr. Marneweck worked as a chef in several restaurants in and around the Western Australian city of Perth — most notably Clint Nolan's acclaimed North Fremantle restaurant, Harvest.

"When we came to the U.S., I thought it was probably time to do my own thing," said Mr. Marneweck, who landed in the States with his girlfriend. "So I applied to get into the Smorgasburg market in Brooklyn and I thought these little paratha tacos I've been cooking up would be a good concept because they were a street food that nobody else was doing. Once I got into the market, the whole thing developed from there."

The concept is still developing. In bringing his paratha tacos to the West Coast upon his girlfriend taking a job here, Mr. Marneweck has expanded the Goa Taco menu to include appetizers and sides.

The portion of the menu dubbed Snacks, priced at $7 or under, includes Garam Masala Fried Chickpeas; Mexican Street Corn, Hominy, Queso Fresco; Raclette Cheesy Quesadilla, Sweet Potato Salsa; Pickled Beetroot, Kale, Burrata, Queso Fundido; and House-Made Chicharron, Hot Sauce. House-made Corn Chips ($3) with guacamole, bean dip or salsa add-ons are also available.

Then there's the Paratha Tacos, which come in an array of tantalizing options.

The meat choices include Slow Roasted Pork Belly with pickled red cabbage and chipotle mayo; Recado Rojo Lamb Shoulder with tzatziki and eggplant salsa; Five-Spice Confit Duck with hot mustard pickled cucumber, radish, sweet soy and sesame; House-made Chicken Chorizo with Brussels sprout slaw and fontina cheese; and Mojo beef with pinto bean puree, smoked jalape¢o and plantain chips.

Vegetarian options include a Tofu Banh Mi Taco with shiitake mushroom pate, crunchy vegetables and peanuts; Paneer Cheese with spinach pesto, garam masala fried chickpea and pickled tomatillo; and Spiced Honey Roasted Squash with kale, queso pepita and salsa verde.

The tacos range from $6.50 to $8.50.

Rounding off the menu are a couple of Sweet Treats, such as a chocolate hazelnut mascarpone Churro ($2.75) and a dulce de leche, banana, chocolate puffed rice Paratha Taco ($5). In addition to the food, there is a selection of beer, wine and Fun Drinks including Micheladas, Agave Wine Margaritas and Spicy Habanero Agave Wine Margaritas.

"I have a lot of other things that I want to try out too," Mr. Marneweck said. "I want to introduce a brunch menu soon including the original bacon and egg taco that I made up while camping one morning as well as a whole bunch of different egg tacos."

With patrons still lining up out the door of the New York City restaurant and the Santa Barbara eatery now up and running, Mr. Marneweck is also doing a weekly Sunday pop-up in Los Angeles as part of the West Coast installment of Smorgasburg.

While critics have delighted in debating the nomenclature of Mr. Marneweck's handheld creations, the architect of the Goa Taco says all that really matters is what his customers think.

"Every culture has some sort of handheld street food with some sort of bread wrapped around a filling," Mr. Marneweck said. "They're given all these different names. But tacos, wraps and sandwiches are a pretty universal thing no matter what you call them.

"And, so far, people seem to like these."

email: life@newspress.com

FYI

Goa Taco, 718 State St., is open 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; and 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call 770-7079 or visit www.goataco.com.

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