Maybe instead of sampling and opining about the food served at taco trucks I will critique the actual trucks. Like, "there is a beautiful green taco truck on Overland. It has a pretty sign." Or, "there is a decent looking taco truck in Garden City but it has a flat tire."
I refuse to call myself a vegetarian (because vegetarians can be insufferable) but I am still avoiding meat and I suspect I will always be allergic to beans. Maybe I should recruit a pinch-eater to eat at the taco trucks.
Nothing puts a damper on eating a nice plate of carne asada like a good book.
I wont go into the details, gory or otherwise, of the book but I will say eating meat has become difficult for me since I opened the book. Perhaps difficult is the wrong word because I have not tried eating meat since I picked up the book in the Rediscovered Bookshop. I am not quite finished with Eating Animals (the book) but I am fearful that Safran Foer is going to leave this reader with little hope for guilt-free protein. This reader is allergic to beans. I know, and this reader loves Mexican food. Without meat or beans the options (maybe "options" with an s is too optimistic) at a taco truck are few. Those shrimp tostadas look good but shrimping and shrimp farming are as bad or worse than factory farming. But I said I wouldn't go into the details. There are plenty of delicious cheese quesadillas for sale at our numerous local taco trucks. Imagine a blog (Yawn!) dedicated to the locations of the tastiest quesadillas (snore) in Idaho.
The only thing people hate more than cruelty to animals is a vegetarian. Well, a prosthelytizing vegetarian. My advice to me is not to tell anyone if I am a vegetarian.
I've got more advice. For that fringe group of people who are concerned with animal welfare, global climate change, and personal health: someone should open a taco truck that serves local family farmed meat. Meat from animals that get pet every day and get to sleep inside and watch TV on Thursday nights. Or whatever the current most humane version of a farm is today. Of course tacos could no longer cost $1. But I for one would pay $1.50 for a clear conscience. Maybe $2.
Have I already talked about the problem with reviewing - or in my case - pointing out taco trucks? I'm pretty sure I have but to reiterate; its the wheels. Taco trucks move. For instance Jalapenos that used to be on Federal Way is now missing. When an ordinary restaurant, one that is firmly attached to the ground, fails or moves it is easier to figure out what happened. There is a sign in the window to direct the loyal eaters to its new location. Or, in some cases to say goodbye. When a taco truck is gone there is always a hope that it has gone to cater a wedding or to fill up its gas tank. It will be back. So, often in vain, you drive passed its former location (parking spot) hoping it will be back to feed you the way it used to. Unfortunately, when I go hunting for taco trucks I do so when I am hungry. And the closer I get to the former location I get even hungrier, like when you have to pee and you get close to a bathroom, and then the bathroom is locked. When I'm hungry for taco truck food no other quick food will do. Particularly not McDonald's or another of that ilk. Even if it makes no sense time-wise, I will then drive five miles in another direction to eat at an existing taco truck.
When a taco truck is not where it used to be, feel free to let me know. I will not go back and revise previous posts though, due to a previous commitment. I am committed to laziness.
As you must have gathered by now, I am out of town and have been for months (or two). I did eat a couple of delicious carnitas tacos today at Taqueria Jalisco (not a truck) in South Lake Tahoe. Which reminds me: if I ever open a taqueria in South Lake Tahoe I will name it South Lake Taco. Which reminds me that I will never open a taqueria.
Taco trucks are few and far between in Chicago but good mexican food is everywhere. Yesterday an affiliate and I ate tortas at Los Comales in the Pilsen neighborhood in Chicago and
boy were they good. My torta was skirt steak but it looked and tasted like pork. Maybe it was flavored with pork. The spicy carrots were particularly delicious and all you can eat. Each table has a bin like the one pictured below stuffed with carrots, cauliflower and jalapenos.
Do not wait for your check. The check gets hung behind the register under your table's number.
A couple of nights ago I was in Culver City for an art opening and, feeling peckish, my associate and I made the short walk to Tacos El Gallito at the intersection of Venice and La Cienega. Between the time I took this picture and the time it took to walk to the truck, a table with covered with multiple garnish containers was set up outside the truck. The garnishes included onions and cilantro, radishes and a salsas of many colors and flavors. The tacos (Lengua and Carnitas) were delicious as they seem to always be at taco trucks. The meat pieces were larger than average, moist and tender. Gallito serves a thoroughly cooked melt-in-your-mouth onion and a grilled jalapeno on the side.
This morning a colleague took me to one of his favorite local Taco Trucks, La Estrella.
I ordered one al pastor and one carnitas taco. My esteemed colleague ordered Carnitas and carne asada.
The tacos were served with a smokey (chipotle?) chile sauce. The meat was tender and juicy. Some people do not like the word juicy prescribed to meat but more people dislike the word moist. I might even say most dislike moist. La Estrella is located on York about a half a block before Avenue 54.
My esteemed and respected colleague suggested that we try another truck's offerings. We immediately made the trek to the corner of York and Avenue 54, a half block away, to Tacos El Pique.
I ordered the same at El Pique, pastor and carnitas. My trusted, esteemed, and stylish colleague and I agreed that the meat was less flavorful than Estrella. I thought El Pique's tacos had a fresh taste that I quite liked. Perhaps the cucumber garnish had something to do with that. I would suggest El Pique over Estrella if you were not in the mood for a smokey salsa.
So far, like Idaho taco trucks, all the food was delicious.
If you are in Caldwell and enjoy viewing wildlife while eating your favorite mexican food I recommend TACOSLAPIEDAD. Look carefully and you will see a Yellow-bellied marmot, locally known as a rock chuck, above. There were many of these wood chuck sized rodents nearby watching us, standing of their haunches and whistling.
You might also consider Tacoslapiedad the next time you need a muffler as the truck is parked in the SW corner of the Meineke parking lot. The food was, as usual, yummy. I recommend the burria, locally known as rock chuck (kidding - burria is goat) which I have not seen at Boise trucks.
A note on the name: I was referring to this truck as "Slapiedad," but that did not sound right. Then it occurred to me that the 's' was the pluralization of taco. But Lapiedad sounded wrong too. Eventually I arrived at Tacos La Piedad, as in piety. Tacos of compassion.
I'm not sure why I do not frequent this truck more frequently. Visiting a truck once or twice in three years can hardly be called frequenting. I refrequented TMP yesterday as part of my taco truck tour with the previously mention Actual Food Writer (AFW).
As you can clearly see these tacos look delicious and as I could clearly taste, they were delicious. The carnitas (can be seen above at 4 o'clock) had large chunks of pork and pork fat. I am struggling with how to describe fat in a way that will make you hungry... The fat was full of flavor and practically melted in my mouth.
The adobada and the pastor tacos (10 and 12 o'clock respectively) were only differentiated by the pineapple compote on the pastor. They were both tasty. Tacos are $1.20 at TMP. Overall the AFW and I agreed that the tacos at Tacos Mobile Primo were the best of the three trucks we sampled.
The other truck not mentioned in the last post was El Torito. I will still frequent (today's word of the day) El torito partly because it is behind a store (of the same name) that is a great place to pick up cucumber popsicles, Ibarra chocolate, and corn tortillas. Also the truck is conveniently located near Bill's studio. Do not spend too much time trying to figure out who Bill is.
An important thing to know when visiting taco trucks in Idaho is that most are closed on Sundays. But not Taco's El Rey #2. The actual food writer and I tried carne asada, adobada (marinated pork) and lengua tacos. And we also tried tostada de mariscos (shrimp tostada) $3. As you might guess, all the tacos were good. Really good and as usual, $1 each. The tostada was also good but shrimp tostadas hold no mystery for me. The ingredients are exactly what you see: canned bay shrimp, pico de gallo, avocado on a crispy corn tortilla. All good things, but tacos have meat that is seasoned, I might even say expertly seasoned. For fun I'll even add mysteriously seasoned.
More trips planned with the food writer. Next time we will go on a weekday when more trucks are open.
An associate showed me his technique for dealing with excess taco filling. As you know if you have ever eaten tacos from a taqueria, each taco is served with 2 tortillas. My associate saves one of the tortillas from his last (usually forth or fifth) taco and makes another taco with the filling left on the plate. Brilliant. No plastic fork required.
One of my taco truck operatives (TTOs) discovered this truck as it was being shipped to Washington. It's a shame; it has a lot of character. Would that a truck like this would park semi-permanently in downtown Boise.
This taco truck is an International Harvester Metro Van. IH made these from 1938 - 1975. The body was built in Bridgeport Connecticut as was my friend Rick Pinchera. Since I am talking history it seems appropriate to bring up a war story; history is full of war stories. One of the first Metro Vans was sold to the Czechoslovakian Army and destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. The Nazis went on to destroy a bunch of other stuff after that.
If you are interested in a new Metro Van it was re-issued in 2000 by Navistar.
If you find yourself hungry at 12:30 am, 1:00 am or even later this truck is open until 2:00 am on Fridays and Saturdays. I discovered this when some friends flew in from Chicago and arrived hungry. I thought we were going to have to settle for an all night joint like Denny's. I do not know if Boise has a Denny's but now I know it has an excellent taco truck open late on weekends. Last time I was there I ordered a quesadilla that was big and full of meat (there is something wrong with that phrase) and cheap (not getting better...). Let me regroup. The woman in the truck asked if I like guacamole. I was speechless. I looked at her like a deer in the headlights. There can only be one answer to that question. Search your mind and you will find that answer. She gave me - for free - a lot of guacamole. If there was a little thumbs-up icon I would click it.
The hours are listed above. Unfortunately La Reyna closes at 6:00, also known as dinner time. I have been there twice during business hours when they were actually closed. That includes today.
In this picture of the tip jar I decided to include the black borders just like in the olden days (the 90s).
I ordered and subsequently ate a pastor taco and a carne asada taco. You will not be surprised to hear that I liked them. They were both delicious and they were only $1. The people in the truck were very friendly. While I sat and ate my tacos, a middle-aged gentleman drove up. He approached the man in the window and said, "My father worked for this company for 40 years." That seemed doubtful to me. Then it occurred to me that maybe he was not talking abou the taco truck. Maybe there used to be a company in the vacant lot (well, no longer vacant) where the truck (mini bus) was parked. The man in the taco truck did not seem to know how to react to that information. The middle-aged gentleman left without buying anything. I doubt he went home to a better tasting meal.