Monday, June 2, 2008

Taco Truck Tour

South of the border is working its way north. The taco trucks & buses that started appearing around Seattle 3-4 years ago seem to have multiplied 10 fold in the last year. Thankfully, this means there are now some good options near our place way out in "The Shire."

Memorial Day weekend brought us surprisingly warm and sunny weather, so Gavin and I plotted a course for a long-awaited tour of the taco trucks in the north end. It seems like there is lots of information out there about taco trucks in the south end of Seattle, but nothing about the plethora of options now available in our area.

I started planning our "tour" by researching some tips and recommendations on yelp and chowhound. I then created a customized map with Google. It is pretty handy though I can't figure out how to read it on our iPhones. Check out our map. Our plan was to try 4-5 taco trucks and try only one taco each at each truck. Gavin likes an Asada (grilled steak), I like the Carnitas (slow-roasted pork). We packed up the cooler with cold drinks and hit the road.

Funny thing is - we are by no means taco aficionados. We haven't even been to Mexico! We are pretty new to the whole taco truck scene too. We have definitely had some good Mexican food in our day and in the last 10 years or so, we have really come to appreciate "real" Mexican food as opposed to the slop served at most places in the US. Once I tried the warm little corn tortillas filled with tender, flavorful meat and topped with crunchy onions, fresh cilantro and fiery hot sauce I haven't looked back.

Our first destination was to the intersection of 15th Ave NE and 145th St in Shoreline. There are two options there: Tacos El Casador (behind Goodwill, in the parking lot of a 76 gas station) and Taqueria Matamoros (parked on the NW corner of the intersection in the lot of an auto repair shop).

Tacos El Casador had a nice covered picnic table at $1.10 tacos. I had to adjust my plan because they had Tacos al Pastor (pork stewed with pineapple and spices) which I don't see very often. Gavin had an asada taco. Both were pretty dang tasty and by the end of our tour were probably our favorite - even if they were the most expensive.

Taqueria Matamoros was tasty in that their tacos (carnita and asada this time) had grilled onions and fresh avocado on top. The carnitas was a tad too smoky for my taste, but the asada was great. They are sold our of the little red truck, but have a nice garden shed next door where you can sit and enjoy your meal.

Our plan next, was to cross west over I-5 and 99 and hit El Carreton II and then head back to 99 and hit El Carreton. Well, we had started our tour too late, because ECII was closing up.

El Carreton on Aurora and 150th. They are located in an old school bus that you enter to order and sit in to enjoy your meal. It smelled a little funky in there at first I will admit, but once I had those steaming tacos in front of me it didn't matter.

They were - unfortunately - out of carnitas, so I ordered adobada (spicy slow-cooked pork) instead. It was tasty - but way too greasy (can you see that little orange pool of grease above?).

I decided to order a mulita with asada after finishing my taco. I only recently learned about mulitas - they are two corn tortillas filled with meat of our choice, cheese, cilantro and avocado sandwich-style. This tortilla-wich is then fried on the griddle. They are AMAZING! This was Gavin's first taste of a mulita and he literally did a double-take of the menu and then me like, "why have you not told me about these WOMAN!?" Unfortunately I didn't manage to take a photo (of the mulita nor Gavin's reaction). I think at that point I was well on my way to a food coma. Our taco truck tour would have continued.

No comments: