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Dudes Love Taco Trucks

17 January 2009 2,348 views 5 Comments

tacos_002The other night I had the unique pleasure of joining Mando from Taco Journalism, David the Soup Peddler, Logan from Boots in the Oven, Food Touring guest blogger Tom, Food Touring muse Adam, and Mando’s adorable wife Ixchel for a South Austin taco tour.

We were supposed to meet at 6:30 p.m. at the gordita/taco truck that parks just west of Thornton on Oltorf. Adam and I were a little late getting there and we received a dejected call from David telling us the truck was not there even though it’s always parked in that spot from Wed. – Sat. nights. There is even a sign painted on the asphalt that says “NO PARKIG” (someone was in a rush while writing this) where the truck should have been.

Our stomachs grumbling, we headed out to our second destination – El Primo on S. 1st and Live Oak. The guy was very nice. We started out with barbacoa and al pastor on a flour and a corn tortilla. The tortillas were store bought but he put some oil on them before slapping them on the grill with a pot cover over them.novios_001

Each taco was served with fresh onions and cilantro and there was a choice of green sauce and chipotle sauce on the side. I thought the chipotle was out of this world and everyone raved all night about the al pastor. As Adam and I watched everyone finish their tacos we couldn’t resist from ordering one more — the carne asada. I thought everything was lip smackingly good.

The tacos were cheap — $5.25 for all three tacos and they were not tiny. Mando and I posted a review on Dishola.

It was interesting listening to real foodies (everyone but me and Ixchel) review the tacos. For me, it’s all about gut instinct — a food experience either works for me, or it doesn’t. I think it all boils down to love and authenticity and El Primo provides both.

Ixchel and Mando got married this summer and took some of their wedding pictures in front of an East Austin taco truck. Don’t they look like movie stars doing a shoot for some hip magazine?

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  • Flapjacks

    you know… there’s just something about food from a truck/or cart that get’s ya… right there[bumps chest].

  • tom benton

    While there were no tacos involved, I was happily surprised last night to discover the brave pioneers of a food cart incursion into the close-to-Lamar neighborhood of 6th street:

    1) Between Momo’s and Star Bar there’s the Roppollo’s Pizza van, which sparkles and throbs in a way that would probably give MTV’s mobile spring break command center pause. They were screening ‘Dodgeball’ on each of their 3 enormous plasma screens and had I been drinking on a warmer night (and in the mood for some pizza about which I’m not very enthusiastic), I’d surely have pulled up a chair.

    2) In the parking lot of Thai Tera, the 3rd or 4th best Thai place in town, one can find Meathead’s Rustic Cajun, brand new to me. I eyed it from across the street, fairly certain that the sign was advertising boudin, and not boullion or something else I did not want to eat at 11pm. Boudin it was, and it was good. Freshly grilled alongside a flour tortilla, piled with onions and an unexpected but welcome handful of shredded cheese, seemingly the prized and elusive “Mexican blend.” While I am far from a scholar of the alternative sausage arts, I really enjoyed the boudin; spicy and cooked just so, with a casing that did not present the imminent threat of a projectile juice surprise that often accompanies sausages eaten on the run.

    3) Texadelphia has taken over the Torchy’s spot a bit east of these, next to Woodrow’s or Little Woodrow’s or Big Time Woody’s or whatever that place is called.

    4) Headed back north I was surprised to find one more: a burger truck, name I cannot recall, parked behind the Star Bar, right up against Ranch 616. Naturally I assumed it was off-duty and parked for the evening, though the windows were open and the lights were on. As I was standing there considering this, a lonely-looking cook stuck his head out the window to watch the unsightly culinary PDA I was perpetrating with my sausage wrap. I did not feel very good about that part.
    I’m sure the location issue has occurred to those guys, or perhaps they are on the very front edge of a new hyper-exclusive, seekers-only food cart wave. Time shall only tell. I’ll certainly give them a try the next time I see them, and only hope they survive until then.

    To food carts, the dangerous late-night drifters of the food chain…

  • Jodi

    Thanks for the comments, guys. Tom – you make me LAL (laugh audibly loud). Love your comments. Too bad you can’t spell the name of the “3rd or 4th best Thai place in town” correctly. I’m looking forward to the next taco or food truck excursion soon! For more on this one, check out Boots in the Oven: http://www.bootsintheoven.com/boots_in_the_oven/2009/01/taco-truck-hopscotch.html

  • tom benton

    I bet someone could write an American Studies thesis on how urban and semi-urban food trucks reflect and refract larger culinary trends. Obviously the products that people purchase at the grocery and where they eat out say a ton about the culinary state of the nation, but what about what people want to eat when they’re drunk? I’ve been in that state, unhappily looking at blurry pizza, and thought “You know, if a little Indian or possibly Ethiopian man were to walk up and hand me something bold and tasty wrapped in a warm bread product of some kind, it would make me unspeakably happy right now.” But alas, the little men handing you things on 6th street are never the ones you’d hope for.

    I have no idea what this all might mean. Does the seemingly periodic but tireless popularity of the gyro say anything the nation’s taste for Greek food, the Greek people, or Greece? Or does the gyro’s kickass ability to meet a fundamental human impulse (enjoying a not merely delicious but aggressive combination of flavors while rocking out) obliterate any significance in its national origins?

  • El Mundo De Mando

    Whoa! Who takes their wedding pics in front of a taco truck? We do! Nice post Jodi.

    Mando