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Vancouver WA Taco Update

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surfer dude Jan 27, 2007 10:33 AM

For the past year or so, I've been referring to extramsg's well-researched report on Vancouver taco places, most of which were located on E 4th Plain Blvd. However, since the time of the original report, many of the places he recommended have either closed or changed hands. De Leon's passing is probably the most lamented. And last night, I went to El Korita, which was called Pastor in exmsg's report, and it too has gone downhill since the last time I went into the place.

Since I'm frequenty in Vancouver at lunch time, I'd love to learn about chowhounders' current favorite places in the area. Is the Muchos Gracias chain any good? Any other suggestions? Of course extramsg's comments would be extremely welcome...Thanks!

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  1. extramsg RE: surfer dude Jan 27, 2007 09:36 PM

    Skip Muchas Gracias. I'll stop at one when it's late and get a chorizo and egg burrito or some such (be warned -- they stain!), but it's not a top choice by any means.

    Don Paco's was still good the last time I was there as was Taqueria Colima. I would explore those two first. Sometimes at lunch, Don Paco's has stews in the market. Watch for specials on the wall, too. None of the other places, including taco trucks, I've tried are worth going to. Well, Don Pedro, the chain, is acceptable.

    1. m
      MichaelG RE: surfer dude Jan 28, 2007 07:05 PM

      Thanks. I hit Don Paco's today. Nice friendly people. Nice girl serving, and the lady in the kitchen had good vibes too. In order of taco preference, I found the chorizo to be tops, followed by the pastor, followed by the carnitas at a distant third place. Didn't try any others. The carnitas was too tough and chewy, but I may have gotten a bad batch. I'll check it out again. I think Don Paco's is the name of the store but Michoacan is the rerstaurant.

      1. l
        LesterOfPuppets RE: surfer dude May 7, 2007 01:15 PM

        The fish Tacos at 63rd and HWY 99 Muchas Gracias are OK; I've had some bad ones downtown, however. I sometimes crave their shredded beef tacos. Deep-fried corn tortillas around those babies, yum! If you're not totally Taco-centric, and in the mood for some grease, Muchas has some great Nachos with freshly deep-fried chips with carne asada, crema, pico de gallo, guacamole and cheese on top. Get the half-order for $4.07, it's a pretty good meal.

        Don Pedro's is much better over-all. I've yet to have any of their pre-built tacos, but their plato de pastor is awesome! It's technically not on the menu, but you can get it. comes with a salad, great beans, rice, a mess of Al Pastor and a few corn tortillas. Grab some limes and salsa verde from the salsa bar, and you're all set. This item usually comes with a roasted jalapeno on top, along with some roasted green onions.

        The only other dinner items I've had at Don Pedros were soups. The Caldo de Res (approx $6) is FANTASTIC! Tasty beef broth with a hunk or two of beef on the bone in there, with a section of corn cob, some cabbage, carrot, potato and some mystery vegetable. Served with steamed corn tortillas. The Pozole (approx $5) is pretty tasty too. The broth was a little redder than the pozole I've had in the past, sometimes a little too rich for my tastes, but I still order it when I'm in the mood for that. It comes with huge hunks of pork on the bone and hominy in there, served with a side of chips. Both soups are typically served with a side of finely chopped fresh jalapenos, onions and cilantro.

        El Grullense on 78th Ave. and St. Johns is the best taco truck I've tried in town. $1.00 apiece unless you want tripe, which is $1.50. Not the best Al pastor I've had, but usually pretty good. The Asada is typically top-notch. The Pollo is fantastic at times, but usually needs the help of extra salsa or jalapenos (both of which are free); frequently too much liquid in the chicken tacos, also.

        7 Replies
        1. re: LesterOfPuppets
          extramsg RE: LesterOfPuppets May 7, 2007 09:53 PM

          There's a taco truck in my neighborhood, now, but I haven't given it a try yet. Can't remember the name. It's at 164th and 1st in the Arco parking lot. They're open until 7pm. They had the full range of meats, sopes, tortas, etc, I believe.

          There used to be a good taco truck at Burton and Andresen, I think it was. Also there used to be a good taco truck on 4th Plain east of SR-503 in some mechanic's lot on the south side.

          1. re: extramsg
            e
            Elaine11 RE: extramsg May 8, 2007 04:32 PM

            I think the name of the taco truck is El Grullo or something like that. They used to be across the street in the strip mall that contains Miller Paints. The brick and mortar restaurant is closed and now they are in a truck. Haven't eaten there either.

            1. re: Elaine11
              extramsg RE: Elaine11 May 10, 2007 11:28 PM

              Yeah, I think you're right. I ate at the taqueria in the Texaco station. It was decent.

          2. re: LesterOfPuppets
            m
            mrazekan RE: LesterOfPuppets Jun 14, 2007 04:30 PM

            El Grullo is the taco truck on 164th & 1st in the ARCO parking lot. Oscar and his wife own it. She is usually at the one on Andresen near Burton. Also in a gas station parking lot! I prefer the Andresen one, though the 164th street truck is better than any other place in the area.

            Don Pedro's on 4th Plain is leagues ahead of Muchas Gracias! Muchas is a 2am-I-need-a-fix type of place; Don Pedro's is worth driving to. The Menudo on the weekends is a must.

            As a side note, the Mercado Latino behind Don Pedro's is one of my favorite places to shop for meats. The Codornizes (cornish game hens) come ready to be roasted or plopped on the grill. The are size of pre-hormone chickens! They must be juicing themselves but are absolutely succulent! You won't buy grocery store chickens again! Their prepared carne asada (usually hand cut flank steak) is not my favorite. I buy the raw one and marinate it in a citus based marinade. Grill them on the hottest grill you can find. YUMMY!!

            One most people don't know about is Super Taco Express on HWY 99 just south of 99TH Ave on the east side of the street. Grungy little place with a tiny kitchen. Best machaca burrito in town. Besides my place of course! I also recommend the flautas (taquitos to most people in the us). The guac sauce served is reminds me of my mothers sauce!

            Enjoy!
            mrazekan in uptown

            1. re: mrazekan
              extramsg RE: mrazekan Jun 15, 2007 02:15 AM

              >> One most people don't know about is Super Taco Express on HWY 99 just south of 99TH Ave on the east side of the street.

              Yeah, I think I've been there. Didn't like it. I think I posted "on another board" about it. I think Colima is the best Vancouver has to offer now.

              ---
              http://www.extramsg.com
              http://www.portlandfood.org

              1. re: extramsg
                s
                slim66 RE: extramsg Jul 3, 2007 07:19 PM

                >>> One most people don't know about is Super Taco Express on HWY 99 just south of 99TH Ave on the east side of the street.

                I have to say this place has some of the best burritos I've had. And I've tried several (super, carnitas, pastor etc.) My wife loves the carne asada tacos and the taquitos.

                Sure, the place is tiny and lacking any ambiance, but I simply always get our food to go. The staff is cordial but still somewhat friendly. And the prices are pretty cheap.

                As far as food goes, this is one of the best and most authentic walk-in places we've found since moving here from Southern California 3 years ago.

              2. re: mrazekan
                s
                syplex RE: mrazekan Aug 14, 2007 11:40 PM

                El Grullo is awesome. I work too far to go to don pedros so I often go to El Grullo for lunch. Its the only good mexican food place around me that I know of and I've been to at least 5 in the 164th/Mill Plain area.

                I get the carne asada tacos or the carne asada torta which is my new favorite!

            2. r
              rbrabant RE: surfer dude Aug 21, 2007 09:00 AM

              I was recently visiting Vancouver, WA and insisted on tracking down the Mexican food options listed here. Everything listed here was great--I particularly liked the fact the listings had restaurants and best menu options, although some of the items listed were not available. I'm still on the hunt for a good guac! El Grullo was by far the best place I tried--their tacos are fantastic! It would be really helpful if someone could give this out-of-towner some idea of where Don Paco's is located, as it was the only one I couldn't find!!

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