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Apr 22, 2007 11:23 AM

Chowhound Assignment:Your Top 5 Food Carts/Trailers

Let's talk about our favorite food carts.Let's go deep on this one.We need two factors to be satisfied:Obscurity and Intense Deliciousness.If we have to choose between the two then opt out for I.D over obscurity...some places can't help if they're well placed and popular.I'm heading over to El Rico[Montopolis] this afternoon to plow through more of her menu and am satisfied she'll make the top 5.Reggie's[Chicon] obviously at this point has already been semi-celebrated but more investigation is clearly warranted.El Rapido[downtown and only on weekends]is very fine,the ratio of Mexicans to white folks in their line at 2:30 in the morning tells the real story.Haven't read too much about the taco cart inside Fiesta Mart but her Carnitas are on par with Hacienda's for luxury in your mouth deliciousness.The cart with no name on Comal just south of 7th st is going to be a strong contender in this category,I've found it's array of meats to be waaay above average and the use of cabbage instead of lettuce always hollers authentic.These are my initial 5.What are yours'?

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  1. I've got a few favorites:

    1) Taquería Piedras Negras No. 2 on the corner of East César Chávez and Pleasant Valley

    This place serves some of my favorite versions of traditional taco fillings (carne guisada, carne en chile colorado). See also:

    2) El Taquito, at 500 East Riverside Drive

    Solid down-home Tejano cooking. For details:

    3) Al Pastor, in the shopping center with the bingo parlor on East Riverside

    This is a trailer version of the Al Pastor restaurant located in the same shopping center, not an independent trailer. Great al pastor. More details on the chow can be found in the same thread linked to in #2 above:

    That’s all I can think of for now, but I'm working on adding more entries to my list soon!

    1 Reply
    1. re: MPH

      Rolled back over to El Rico in Montopolis this waylaid on the way there by a small hand painted sign:Pollos Asados,near the Pak n Save on Montopolis.A couple big beefy Mexican guys were throwing chunks of mesquite into an array of smokers and a woman was walking a giant platter of charred meats back to a small food trailer a few feet away.I strolled down the dirt path to the patio dining area[ahhh,dirt paths...anytime I've strolled down dirt paths to eat I've always done quiet well in the eats.]I ordered a Carne Asada taco and a side of Pinto Beans[went small cause I knew the lady at El Rico was beckoning].The Carne Asada came plain with a lime and a cup of Pureed Poblano Salsa.The quality of the meat was good,not Graciellas calibre but still good.The Salsa was above average and complimented the taco nicely.The star however was the Pintos,nice and loose,swimming in a salty,porky bath of love.I fished out all the beans then guzzled the broth as a chaser to the meal.
      Hopped back on my bike and motored a few blocks away to El Rico.Went for the Barbacoa Tostada and was hugely rewarded:A nice fried corn disc topped with good refrieds,white cheese,avocado,cabbage,thin sliced radish,crema and toothsome Barbacoa,nice and fatty and soulful tasting.She handed me an excellent duo of salsas:a fiery thin red and a creamy avocado based green.I kicked back in the quick mart parking lot and watched the bustle of the neighborhood,ladies walking down the street with baskets of overflowing laundry,giggly teenage girls traipsing down the sidewalk toward the river,young guys in lowriders slow rolling with DJ Screw giving up some good sounds for all within earshot.Ambience,obviously was top notch and the food was fine as Hell.She's open Tuesday through Sunday from 3pm-10pm.

    2. Was just at a gas station on I-35 (feeder road) at Cesar Chavez (on the other side of I-35 from the Holiday Inn), and noticed a trailer advertising, "No Teeth Barbecue - Coming Soon". Not sure this entices me much though, since I prefer my cue to have a little tug and chew.

      Still having not familiarized myself with Austin enough to have found all these trailers on my own, I can't offer much input on this thread unfortunately. But I will enjoy watching the thread grow (which I hope it will), and will try to go hunting around myself.

      1. The trailer on IH35 and Braker has the best home made tacos I have eaten in Austin. They taste like back home, like my mother used to cook. I have only been there for lunch so I do not know how late they are open. Their chicharron taco, and pastor are my favorites.

        1 Reply
        1. re: adimari

          Which corner or in which parking lot?? I looked for it yesterday in the 5 o'clock slog home (I exit Braker) and didn't see it.

        2. On the west side of South First Street at Heartwood, about halfway between St. Elmo and Stassney, La Flor sits in the parking lot of the Shop 'n' Save convenience store. My favorite breakfast tacos in town, also ample variety lunch tacos, plus gorditas, tamales and the like.

          In the parking lot of the HEB at Oltorf and S. Congress is an helotes trailer that is also pretty great.

          1 Reply
          1. re: johnm


            About the elotes... are they authentic? Prepared like they do in Mexico? If so, I'll be the happiest person in the world.

            Thanks for any info.


          2. On the east side today, I spotted three different taco trailers in transit: Triny's Foods, Taquería Rodriguez (whose menu looked great), and one other one that sped by so fast that I couldn't catch the name.

            If anyone has information about where the two named above are usually parked, I'd love to hear about it. I'll also post an update when I manage to track them down and try their chow.

            7 Replies
            1. re: MPH

              I picture ol MPH,steely-eyed in high speed pursuit of some food truck,freshly spotted,pulling alongside-honking...waving "hey man,pull over,I'm starving and I got an assignment"the driver's calling the cops"There's some crazy person trying to run me off the road....HELP".But I digress.I also spotted a new cart today,as you go south on Airport about ten blocks past Oak Springs on the east side of Airport blvd...dirt parking lot and a tarpaulin topped al fresco dining area.I'm heading over there in a few minutes and will report back later tonight.Haven't made it to El Taquito yet but soon and thanks for the tip.

              1. re: MPH

                I've seen Triny's foods all over, especially at construction sites in the campus area. The impression I get is that they are fairly mobile at all times and hop about from site to site for "break time" snacks for the blue collar crowd.

                1. re: ashes

                  I should that my memory is serving better. I saw Triny's about a week ago around 9 or so in the morning parked near the new mega apartment/condo site on Guadalupe btw. the Blockbuster and the Chevron station (across from the Taco Bell near 29th).

                  Also, when I lived in East Austin I would see the truck, I think heading home or to load up again, on E. MLK near Springdale (early mornings and around 5).

                2. re: MPH

                  I believe it's Triny's that I've seen parked between MLK and 21st on University Ave during the lunch hours of the construction crew on the new hotel at UT, generally about 11:30-noon.

                  Also, there's a brown El Camino (?) with a camper top that has an exhaust flue coming out of it that parks in the lot to the southeast of the Dobie garage. When I've passed, I've noticed racks of tacos and pots in the back and a pretty good share of the construction crew hovering around. I think this is a true mom and pop operation, probably no permit, but I've been tempted none the less. I'll report back if I decide to brave it.

                  1. re: Twill

                    Scrumptiouschef's hypothetical account of me trying to drive a food truck off the road is embarrassingly close to the truth! I tailed one all the way to I-35, but lost sight of the truck—and all hope of trying their tacos that day—in the merge.

                    So, thanks for the info on Triny's fixed location and the heads-up about the El Camino near UT. I appreciate it. Should you check out the chow at either place yourself, I’d love to hear your review.


                    1. re: Twill

                      Food Fantasy number 47:Eat food cooked in a brown El Camino,jostling to hold my spot in the line with some Hill Country Honcho workmen style guys.Winning their respect with some good ol down home commentary while we all chow down,hunkered down on the curb of a beat up asphalt parking lot.I'll be there tomorrow around lunchtime and report back.

                      1. re: scrumptiouschef

                        I usually pass this spot around 11:45 after a jaunt over to CoCo's or Pho Tai Soon, and you'll be amazed at how accurate your imagination is regarding the setting. I may just be romanticizing the vehicle as an El Camino, so bear with my impressionistic description on that account.