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El Tonayense Taco Truck - Still totally awesome

Just wanted to let everyone know that i went to Tonayense Taco Truck at the Best Buy behind Rainbow Grocery and i had a Carnitas taco with the mild tomatillo salsa and my mom get a vegetarian taco and we both stood in the sunshine and wolfed them down with smiles and limes and then more smiles as we agreed that it was the best three dollar snack on the planet.

The carnita's were actually better on this particular day, than those at Taqueria San Jose.

If you are crusing by and need a taco, then make sure you have singles, cause they can't break big bills, and bring your own water, cause they always seem to be out.

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  1. Sorry to disagree. Finally tried them - outside Best Buy on 14th.st. Bought 2 tiny soft tacos and horchata. Carne asada and al pastor - both terribly dry, indistinguishable from one another, nubbins of anonymous protein the size of eraser heads. Asked for "hot" - that translated to just plain hot, with no discernable subtle or contrasting flavors. Watery horchata. Did not finish my portion despite the miniscule size. I hate it when I take a couple of bites and just want to toss it. But yours was great - you just never know...I guess they are not predictable, which is one of the things one most wants from a restaurant, or a truck I suppose: predictability.

    17 Replies
    1. re: niki rothman

      You guys need to try the cabeza/cheek taco....best taco period
      The meat has great flavour and is increibly moist

      1. re: donbonus

        OK, I will try it. Thanks for the tip. Are you sure though that cabeza means cheeks and not brains? this is a serious question - I am to queasy to eat brains.

        1. re: niki rothman

          Cabeza means head and not brains. To the best of my knowledge, cabeza meat is actual flesh from all parts of the cow's head, but not the brains or tongue. So it is mostly cheeks and small muscles from around the ears, et cetera.

          Beef brains are usually sold as 'sesos' at places like Cancun. There is no mistaking cabeza for sesos. Cabeza is grained like any other beef, but is very tender and moist. Sesos is ungrained and looks like well, cooked brains.

          1. re: grishnackh

            Thanks for the very good information. I've heard that cheeks meat is very tasty and tender so next time I see one of the trucks i'll have to jump out the car and order some cabeza.

      2. re: niki rothman

        aw, that stinks.
        i am sorry that it was gross...that is totally disappointing. but i had a similiar experience to el Metate, whom everyone swore up and down had the best carnitas, and the two times i went it was like eating dog food. yuck.

        To each their own though, maybe my tastes run towards anonymous protein nubbins! (that is an awesome description by the way...)
        anyway, sorry it was no good, i have never had the carne asada there, and i hate al pastor. i can recommend the carne asada at the Taqueria Cancun at Mission and Valencia. get at carne asada super taco and an order of cebollita's when you are there with a big melon drink.
        mmmmmmm
        hopefully it will make up for your crappy tonayense experience.

        1. re: jupiter

          Jupiter, I always feel guilty when I diss some place that someone obviously loves. Please don't take it personally. I'm just glad when you went it was wonderful.

          1. re: niki rothman

            oh no worries! that is the point of the board, right? Don't feel guilty, and go with your gut (literally).

            I wanted to suggest the Cancun option if carne asada is what you dig, cause i think they have the best carne asada in the city.

            And trust me, i have followed many a rec off this board and come up a wee bit disappointed. To each their own, right?

            1. re: jupiter

              Thanks for being so kind. I'll have to try can cun one of these days for the carne asada. Do they have a flame grill? I've been getting carne asada at La Corneta - you have to ask them to grill it to order or it will be dry from sitting out. But it's really rare to find a flame grill and it makes all the difference.

              1. re: niki rothman

                Cancun has really good carne asada but I think La Cumbre's may be even better. The last two times I have been to La Cumbre I have been very impressed. Papalote's is also good and always cooked to order, or so they say.

                1. re: farmersdaughter

                  La cumbre used to be world famous for the juicy/charry wonderful carne asada then they started not doing it to order and it sat around getting dry. When you ordered did they take the meat straight off the grill and onto your tortilla or did they take the meat out of a little metal storage container on or by the grill? It makes all the difference in the world. If they took it out of a container, go to La Corneta (Mission/23rd.) and ask for RARE carne asada made to order. Personally, I will never put up with La Cumbre serving old carne asada that has been sitting around any more. It's a LONG story, and a tragic one. Like when the best is no longer the best.

        2. re: niki rothman

          So I have to concur with Niki - couple of weeks ago, I finally went to the truck on Harrison Street with great anticipation only to be underwhelmed. I had one of each; lengua, carnitas, carne asada, al pastor. While all of them were passable at best, it did not live up the the hype. Each a bit dry and not much flavor. I'll try it again, but the reality did not match up with the expectation.

          1. re: poulet_roti

            You and me both! It's not that the food was ho hum, it's that everyone here had led me to believe these trucks were Mexican food heaven on wheels. So the disappointment and worry that I couldn't trust the chowhounds as much as i thought I could was a shocker.

            1. re: niki rothman

              I had a similar experience when I tried these a couple weekends ago. The carnitas I had were on the dry side, while the pastor was pleasant but nothing to write home about. They rank somewhere in the middle in regards to taco trucks I've tried.

              1. re: josquared

                That's the thing, you have ready access to better taco trucks, jo2. Tonayense is good for the City but only middling compared to what's available elsewhere.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  True Melanie...but I'd gladly send over some of Vallejo's better taco trucks in trade for some good non-taco truck food options located in SF myself :)

            2. re: poulet_roti

              Sometimes I think the charm of eating out of a truck must effect the experience because I really didn't get it. I ordered chicken and carne asada taco. Walked about a block and a half. Sat down and when I opened them, I could barely tell the difference. Worse yet, they tasted the same! This was the truck on Harrison.

              Are they related to the brick and mortar El Tonayense place on 24th?

          2. gotta say when I was carnivorous that El T was the bomb!!!!

            Maybe you got em on an off day....try again for sure!

            1. Yummo. I agree! The cabeza is totally yummy...although would you guys know what happened to the previous taco truck (La Pachi.....I can't remember the name). I thought their carnitas was better...

              1. I've fallen off the El Tonayense Taco Truck. It's still ok, but compared to a couple of years ago the prices are higher and the quality a bit more variable. Think I'll start going to Pastores as a replacement.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Calvinist

                  why Pastores? Have to say, I don't see it as comparable to a taco truck. Not really a taco place, though admittedly I am usually there at breakfast. Have you tried their tacos?

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    No I haven't. I'm just looking for an alternative in the area.