Tag Archives: taco

Torchy’s Tacos (Austin, TX)

Still no rest for the weary. After getting back from my Dayton Trip (which was right on the heels of my Chicago trip), it was time to repack the suitcase, grab my appetite and a fresh CF card, and head off to Austin. In what’s becoming an annual tradition, several of us from TivoCommunity.com descended on the Austin area for several days dedicated to eating, both BBQ and Food Trucks (of which the greater Austin area has plenty of both). Carol and I arrived a day before most of the attendees, which gave us an opportunity to start sampling food trucks a bit early. From the airport, we headed to South 1st Street in the SoCo (“South Congress”) and decided to indulge in Torchy’s Tacos.

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El Rincon Zacatecano (Manchester, NH)

As I mentioned in my review of Taqueria La Guadalupana, Manchester is definitely on the upswing when it comes to Mexican food, with all sorts of good places opening up over the last few years. One of the more recent, and more delicious, ones is El Rincon Zacatecano. Located across the street from Verizon Wireless Arena, El Rincon is in a somewhat subtle storefront that used to hold several other businesses (the last two I remember were Dave’s Cosmic Subs and Hollywood Subs, and I know there were several before that). With that many turnovers, it’s one of those locations that I’m tempted to label a “cursed location”, but El Rincon has been there well over a year now, and it seems to be doing well.

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La Frontera Taco Truck (Phoenix, AZ)

After a morning spent looking at the most excellent native art collections at the Heard Museum in downtown Phoenix, as well as having a quick trip over to Wes Bolin Plaza to look at the various memorials, we decided that we needed a quick lunch. Luckily, Phoenix has the same, healthy taco truck economy that I’ve come to expect from any major Southwestern city. Easy to miss the place, since you can’t directly see the truck from the street without eagle eyes, since they’ve ensconced it in several blue tarps to make a seating area of a few rickety tables and chairs (as well as a place to get out of the sun). The truck itself makes one wall of the dining area, so you wander up to the window and place your order, and then hang out and relax as they assemble it…

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El Chilango Taco Truck (Arlington, VA)

After completing my business trip in Arlington, I had a few hours to kill before I needed to head over to DC for my next meeting. Perusing the normal rating sites on my iPhone, I noticed that one place in Arlington in particular was getting consistently top marks: El Chilango. The interesting thing here is the El Chilango isn’t in a part of Arlington particularly well known for good food. Located in a residential area at approximately the corner of 14th St N and Quinn Street, approximately equidistant from both the Courthouse and Rosslyn Metro stations, just off of Arlington Boulevard (and a stone’s toss from my brother’s old apartment on Oak St, uphill from the Iwo Jima memorial), El Chilango is a taco truck. Yes, Arlington now has a decent taco truck!

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Chi-Lantro Korean BBQ Taco Truck (Austin, TX)

After finishing up at the Eastside Drive-In food carts, a few of us headed downtown to check out Austin’s Sixth Street nightlife, grab a few drinks, and check out a few more food carts. One of the places I had actually gotten several recommendations for was only a brief detour off of our Sixth St forays: Chi-Lantro Korean Taco BBQ Truck was set up for the night at 5th and Colorado. I don’t know exactly when they became common (I’ve been hearing about Kogi in LA for several years now, for example), but the Korean Taco truck has started to become a serious mainstay of the street food scene. And while ethnographically odd, it’s actually a combination that makes a fair bit of sense, with the nice spicy and savory, but not always conveniently packaged for street dining Korean food meets up with the handy tortilla to make something that’s just about perfect for street dining…

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The Peached Tortilla (Austin, TX)

After getting our fill on South Lamar, we moved downtown to West Sixth Street to search out some more food carts. Our primary stop was The Peached Tortilla (which labels itself “Austin’s Fusion Taco Truck”), which sports a very expansive menu of tacos, primarily using Asian-inspired dishes and ingredients. Highlights include pad thai, banh mi, chicken satay, catfish, szechuan veggies, and more, as well as a healthy assortment of sliders (including crab cakes!).

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Pro’s Ranch Market (Mesa, AZ)

One of the things I always enjoyed about the Phoenix area was the vast array of businesses that cater to the Mexican population. Unlike most places I’ve lived, it’s relatively easy to go out and get some fresh masa, a wide variety of chile peppers, tamales, and the like, with most neighborhoods having either a grocery store that caters to the Mexican market, or at least does a good job of carrying Mexican staples and tortillas from some local bakery. However, on my last trip through Mesa, Arizona, I noticed that Ranch Market, the long-time Phoenix Mexican-themed supermarket, had now opened a location in Mesa, so I decided to go in and check it out, since I hadn’t been to Ranch Market in a while.

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Doing the Yuma Taco Crawl (Yuma, AZ)

It’s time to talk about the other great joy of going to Yuma. No, I’m not talking about the green chile burgers at the Yuma Proving Ground bowling alley (although they do make a pretty good burger). I’m talking about the variety of taco stands that can be found all over Yuma. Around 5-6 pm every day, all sorts of sleepy little stands all over town (but centralized on West 8th, aka Calle Ocho) fire up their grills and start mixing up fresh jamaicas and horchata. Yes, to me, that is the real Yuma culinary experience, eating tacos from all manner of little trucks, stands, and tents located on vacant lots and parking lots.

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Taqueria San Pedro (Yuma, AZ)

Yuma has always been an interesting place to me. In some ways, it captures a lot of what I remember about the Phoenix area of my youth, with funky neon motor lodges and adobe-style buildings. Meanwhile, the town is so close to the border that it’s unabashedly Mexican in flavor. Businesses gleefully advertise in Spanish, and little mom-and-pop grocery stores proudly stock masa, beef tongue, and a variety of hot peppers, knowing that their clientele will be buying and using such items. Unfortunately, the busy part of Yuma is the “New Yuma”, centered along Highway 95 and I-8 Business Loop, which is mostly newer fast food chains (although they at least have some of the better fast food chains, like In-N-Out, Del Taco, and El Pollo Loco, in addition to the ubiquitous McDonalds), chain restaurants, and big box stores. There’s nary a taqueria, taco truck, burrito joint, or Spanish meat market to be found near most of the hotels and motels, and if there’s a Mexican restaurant, it’s heavily Tex-Mex influenced. Luckily, for those willing to go explore off of the I-8 Business loop, there’s plenty of real Mexican fare to be found in Yuma…

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Taqueria Pepe El Toro (Lancaster, CA)

Lancaster is filled with little Mexican mom and pop places, and something about Taqueria Pepe El Toro jumped out at me when I was grabbing some items at the Home Depot across the way. So I decided to check it out. First thing I saw on the menu was Tacos Al Pastor. I always love Tacos Al Pastor. It’s my favorite type of taco, with nice seared bit of seasoned pork. Taqueria Pepe el Toro did not disappoint, these tacos were quite good, and both of the sides (rice and beans) were good quality as well.

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