Loncheria Rubi (Grand Junction, CO)

The whole purpose of our trip to Colorado was going to a wedding of two of our friends. However, they aren’t exactly traditionalists, so one of the activities planned for their informal wedding was a hike up nearby Mount Garfield. Well, it’s a short hike (~2 miles), but it’s also a steep one (~2000 feet), with most of the elevation gain in the first third of the trail. I enjoyed both the hike and the view from the top, but by the time we got back to Grand Junction to get ready for the wedding, I needed a bit of a snack. Cruising through the west side of Grand Junction, we happened across two places: a Sonic (I don’t really care for their food, but I love their cherry limeade), and in a little parking area right next door, Loncheria Rubi, a taco truck.

In this era of all sorts of “Taco trucks” serving up various fancy variations on tacos (including the ever-present “Korean taco” these days, which I do actually enjoy), Loncheria Rubi is your classic old school “taco truck”. No fancy menu items, no weird sauces, and no fusion food. Just a simple, straightforward menu of tacos, tamales, burritos, gorditas, and tortas, with a nice variety of fillings ranging from pollo, azada, and chorizo on the simple end, to chicharron and lengua on the adventurous end. Looking for a light snack, I opted for a nice steak taco and a red chile pork tamale.

Let’s start with the taco: this was basically the classic Mexican-style “street taco”: a very nicely seasoned and crispy steak (the crispness is, to me, the key to a good taco), a very freshly minced topping of onion and cilantro (this is one of those things where I can tell if it’s been sitting around), and a nicely warmed and crisped double-stacked tortilla, with a fresh slice of lime. Nothing fancy, just some good seasoned steak and simple ingredients, but quite flavorful. Oh, if only most taco places could do them this well.

The tamale? Despite being one of those foodstuffs that never photographs well, the tamale was quite pleasant as well. The masa was rich and flavorful, probably with a bit of lard, and cooked just to the point of being firm without being stiff, but not having mushiness either. The filling was tender shreds of pork in a rich and spicey red chile sauce that just barely soaked into the surrounding masa. I always loved a good tamale growing up (I still have fond memories of the tamales my classmate Carlos’ mother would bring), and this was one of the more pleasant ones I’ve experienced lately.

Is it fancy dining? No. Loncheria Rubi is about as classic “taco truck” as they come: a simple menu of well-made Mexican food at excellent prices (tacos at $2, tamales at $1.50), served up by a friendly staff who chat with you as you eat at the picnic table. I certainly wish there were more good taco trucks like this around.

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