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Taco Wars – Taco Trucks in Richmond

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A recent East Bay Express review on 23rd street Taco Trucks finally pushed me into giving the local trucks and taquerias a try. After doing the crawl, Jonathan Kaufman is on target saying that the differences are slight. All the tacos were good, spices differed and each place had some different item whether it was meat or condiments.

There is another post that has local taquerias. While the prices are lower at the taco trucks ($1.00 - $1.50), the quality and value is better at the taquerias where prices range from $1.00 to $2.00. Most taquerias charge $1.50. So unless fifty cents is that important to the budget, go with the taquerias.

One above average item was the grilled onions at Tacos Los Primos. You can buy these juicy grilled onion bulbs on the side – 4 for a dollar

The grease level is a consideration. Some tacos slid off the plate and down my throat leaving behind an oil (lard) slick on the plate. Taqueria Americano was the inspiration for the napkin level rating, from one (greaseless) to 10 (Taqueria Americano)

Meats sampled are next to the truck name, followed by the taco price. The Spanish names are used for the meats offered. Here’s a link if a translation is necessary.

http://www.chowhound.com/boards/gener...

Rankings:

TACOS LOS PRIMOS - al pastor, carnitas, suadero - $1.00
CHA-RO-LAS - birria de res - $1.00
LA FLOR DE JALISCO I – tripitas - $1.25
TAQUERIA EL CAMPECINO – carnitas - $1.25
LOS GRULLENSES – Birria, pescado - $1.00
FLOR DE JALISCO II – Buche, Tripitas - $1.25 (it’s me, not the buche. Too new for me
)

TACOS LOS PRIMOS - al pastor, carnitas, suadero - $1.00

Overview: With the price, condiments and tasty meat, Tacos Los Primos was the best overall deal. They were all very juicy, but some of that came from a higher grease level. This was the only fresh cut Al Pastor that I could see. The suardero, called rose meat, had a slight rosy tinge. The chewy pieces of beef seemed stewed. The carnitas had points off for lack of enough crispy parts. There was a pronounced grease slick on the plate, only second to Taqueria Americano.

Sides: salsa, grilled onions, radish, lime Grilled onions are worth a visit
Meats: Al Pastor, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Lengua, Pollo, Suadero
Napkins: 7 (in a good way). Enough of a slick to grease a rusty door hinge.

Ambiance: Busy parking lot next to Mi Tierra Market. Number called in SPANISH. However, if they see a non-Latin face and no one answers, they call out in English (blush, I’m not so good with the 50 series of numbers). Rusty metal table with the type of chairs left on the curb on recycling day. Spanish music is courtesy of taco truck radio. Be prepared for a wait.
Also Serve: Decent icy horchata, burritos, tortas

CHA-RO-LAS - birria de res - $1.00

Overview: This was one of the better of the taco truck meats. The beef was fall apart tender and tasty. It was topped with a few onions, a little cilantro and a nice tomatillo salsa.

Sides: Chips, radish, pepper, salsa. This was the only notable salsa of the trucks. Either it was fresh made or fresh onions and cilantro were added to the sauce. Very good for a taco truck in this area.
Meats: Al Pastor, Birria de res, Buche, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Lengua, Pollo
Napkins: 4 (mainly sauce related).

Ambiance: In the Bab’s Drive in parking lot. No tables. No music.
Also Serve: burritos, tortas, quesadillas

LA FLOR DE JALISCO I – tripitas - $1.25

Overview: Even though the side of the truck says ‘Tacos de Tripitas”, it is unlikely I would have tried these on my own as I am tripe shy. Really good and crunchy. Think fried calamari texture wise. Forget they are cows innards.

Sides: chips, radish, green sauce, red available. The one of the best zanahorias en escabeche I’ve ever had – carrots, onions, oregano, piece of bay leaf and a pepper. The pepper was great – soft, succulent and not so hot to be unpleasant. It worked.
Meats: Al Pastor, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Chicarrones, Lengua, Pollo, Sesos, Tripitas
Napkins: 4

Ambiance: Zilch. Park on the street, eat in the car or standing up. No music
Also serve: Burritos, tortas, quesadillas

TAQUERIA EL CAMPECINO – carnitas - $1.25

Overview: Not too greasy pork that was slightly crispy.Topped with lots of onions, cilantro and a few tomatoes

Sides: Good sliced grilled onions, lime
Meats: Al Pastor, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carne Molida, Carnitas, Pollo, Tripitas
Napkins: 1 – One small napkin was given and one small napkin was enough

Ambiance: One folding table in the Richmond Hardware parking lot. No music
Also Serve: Roach coach meets Taco truck. In addition to Mexican Food there was a large section of chips, candy, packaged cookies and cakes. Cheeseburgers are available. There are also tortas, burritos, qesadillas, sopas, cueritos" (fried pork rinds).and enchiladas. Even though the side of the truck has pescado and mojarras (a tropical fish) painted on the side, I don’t think they serve those. May have been the past owner of the truck.

Located on 23rd and Chance next to The New Peruvian Restaurant

LOS GRULLENSES – Birria de res, pescado - $1.00

Overview: These were saucy tacos where the meat was shredded. Tortillas were not too greasy. The birria was really tender and tasty. The fried chopped fish was fresh and good.

Sides: pepper, radish, lime slice
Meats: Al Pastor, Birria de res, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carnitas Lengua, Pollo, Sesos, Tripitas ($1.50)

Ambiance: Taco truck. Parking lot of Clinica Quiropatica which provides some nice afternoon shade for the long folding table. Music courtesy of CD vendor.
Also Serve: Tortas, burritos, quesadillas,
Napkins: 6

FLOR DE JALISCO II – Buche, Tripitas - $1.25

Overview: My first buche. Very tender with a sort of pork skin quality to it. Very animal taste. Tripitas a little less crisp and greasier than Flor de Jalisco I.

Buche is something I’d try in the future if a place gets recommended by someone whose tastes I trust. I am guessing it can be pretty awful prepared badly. The EBE review had a great description and I’m glad it gave me the incentive to sample it …

“braised, not cooked in lard until bacony, carnitas style. The second surprise was that I enjoyed the mild flavor of the slippery, tender meat, set off by the sharp tang of roasted-tomatillo salsa verde.”

Sides: Red salsa, zanahorias en escabeche, chips, radish,
Meats: Al Pastor, Buche, Cabaza, Carne Asada, Carnitas, Lengua, Pollo, Tripitas
Napkins: 6

Ambiance: In Launderland parking lot. No Tables. Music provided by CD Vendor
Also Serve: Burritos, tortas, quesadillas

I’m still not over my spat with El Tapatio, so I didn’t stop by. The EBE has some good notes. I think the tacos dorado are first rate.

There are a few taco trucks on Rumrill that were not tried. The La Fortuna taco truck on the corner of Cutting and Marina way was also skipped. I have tried the La Fortuna truck in El Sobrante which was very nice (link below). However, the Richmond truck doesn’t seem to get as much business.

El Sobrante Taco Trucks - La Fortuna & Tacos Rodriguez
http://www.chowhound.com/california/b...

Locations of trucks and lots more info in this recent East Bay Express review

Link: http://www.eastbayexpress.com/Issues/...

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