Acapulco Tropical’s two Bradenton stores are taco temples—sprawling shops where you can stock up on everything you need to perfect your taco technique. Most impressive? The dairy case, where the shelves are lined with cheeses and creams that hail from all over Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Crumbly, piquant queso fresco from Mexico City? Check. Cheese flavored with loroco flowers from El Salvador? Check. Thick, gooey crema from Honduras? Check. Whatever kind of taco you’re making, this is your dairy destination. 5612 14th St. W., Bradenton, (941) 900-2134; 3525 First St., Bradenton, (941) 744-1034
Most Latin American supermarkets have meat counters, but few can rival the selection at El Mariachi Loco Latin Market. The refrigerated section here is loaded with trays of unusual cuts and offerings. Chicken feet, tripe, liver—it’s all here, and the prices are outstanding. The shop’s pork belly, cooked at length and then seared, makes for an excellent tortilla-stuffer. 6350 15th St. E., Sarasota, (941) 751-0906.
Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
Hot sauce addicts are protective of their preferred brands and skeptical of those who choose different varieties. “Really? You like Tabasco? We’re a Cholula family, thanks.” But those open-minded enough to try multiple varieties will find a nice pick of sauces at La Primavera Mexican Food. The shelves in the back are lined with classic offerings from Valentina and Tapatío, plus lesser-known brands like Búfalo, Iberia and Picamás. 901 N. Washington Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 366-5321