Feeding La Raza at Ramona's Tacos
I've been hunting Ramona for about 3 weeks now.She's tricky.Gaston Place is not easily found without resorting to trickery[mapquest].I prefer general directions and then I just sort of point myself off into the area where the motherlode is[hopefully] found.
Rolling around the area off Cameron Road and Berkman Drive the neighborhood feels good.Parts are approaching squalor other parts are tidy and meticulously clean which I'm willing to overlook in the hunt for deliciousness.
It seems like the best taco carts are found in the neighborhoods most down at the heels[are there taco carts in Steiner Ranch?].Do the swells eat tacos?
Ramonas Tacos is located at 2157 Gaston Place off to the side of Gaston Food Mart.It's a neat little establishment squatted down on some turf with a nice white tent covering the al fresco dining area.The half lot is fenced very thoroughly including a fence that adruptly cuts off the sidewalk entering the food mart.It's an odd configuration that for some reason puts me ill at ease.Nevermind,I put my back up against the fence and ponder my order.
My chef[Ramona]spots me and walks out of the cart and begins reciting the menu:Al Pastor,Beef Fajita,Chicken et al.I'm really in the mood for breakfast so I inquire as to a good Bacon Egg and Cheese taco.She whispers in the ear of the lone man sitting at the table with me and he practically sprints next door to the Gaston Food Mart to lay in some provisions.
15 or so minutes pass,which feels like half the day in this day and age but the aromas rolling out of the cart[frying pork]are heavenly and assuage my impatience.
The tacos arrive on homemade corn tortillas.
Ramona cares about the food she puts out this much is obvious.The tortillas are delicious,top tier,lard-y and crispy around the edges.They feel good in your mouth all soft and crispy where it counts.The eggs are lightly scrambled and barely mixed which is the way I like them at home.The bacon is barely cooked,soft,salty and dripping with hoggy essence.The queso has been forgotten in all the hubbub but who cares when the food is this good?
Green and Red salsas are proffered and I squirt each divorceados style with each taco getting a half treatment.Neither are stellar but the green is a little more spicy.
Prices are old-school as all Hell.A dollar for each taco.This cart is for La Raza by La Raza right down the line.
The hang is pretty good.Gaston Place doesn't see a lot of car traffic but the locals from the neighborhood are streaming into the food mart for sodas,chips,smokes and what have you.
Ramonas is peaceful.
I'm the lone diner til a Tahoe filled with a young family rolls in and starts barking out tacos.I take my leave as one toddler begins howling,another begins climbing the chain link fence til she's knocked down by a third.A fourth watches the goings on Solomon style ,taking it all in but merely observing the tangle of personalities.
Scoping out the racks at the food mart I find a couple treasures.DAD'S is a pork rind brand out of New Hebron Mississippi which I figure gives them a good leg up on their competition with that towns storied history.Another section has plump bags of penny candy,two for a dollar.I opt for the Peanut Butter Logs and Dubble Bubble,two brands that've been around since the dawn of time and good eating once smuggled into the Polanski doc tomorrow.
It took me 3 tours of the neighborhood to finally find Ramona's[acting on the tip of a venerable hound I'm acquainted with who lives in the area.]
It bears further visits.
Last night's visit to Ramona's might as well have been a dry run.Ramona is not in sight as I make my way to the window.Bad sign.There's a honcho sitting at the plastic folding table who arises and makes his way to the kitchen.It's the same man I spoke of above and apparently he's went from helper to Chef-just like that.
I order two tacos:Bistek and Al Pastor on Corn Tortillas.A few minutes pass as I relax under the glow of yellow lights strung around the patio.Ramona's feels really good.It's ambient,smells delicious and I love the homely hand lettered signs extolling their offerings.
The Tortillas are delicious but neither meat is good.The Bistek will eat,it's Ramonas version of Bistek Ranchero but it's not going to make you forget Graciellas anytime soon.The Pastor is actually bad.It's fake,which is to be expected but it's also sandy with seasoning powder and there's a fair amount of gristle on the taco.Ugh.
I'm planning another run soon.Ramona has Goat on the weekends as well as utterly delicious breakfast tacos.I'm looking forward to working my way more fully through her menu.
OK scrumptiouschef, how DID you get the un-menued breakfast tacos at Ramona's?
i went on a Saturday morning the other week, around 10:30am, and asked if they could make a breakfast taco. no, they couldn't.
we got el pastor. which was fine. the tortillas were fabulous as anticipated. the mean was fine, not as you describe in your more recent post.
granted, i speak almost no Spanish, but the woman who took our order seemed to speak English... she greeted us in English and there did not seem to be a major communication problem.
i would have loved to have a bacon bean and egg taco, but would've settled for bacon, egg and cheese.
The time I got my breakfast tacos I probably just barked the order in rapid fire Spanish.I forget.
More likely I asked very politely and Ramona had the time and was in the mood for doing some off menu cooking.
Her goat is apparently the star of the show but I haven't had it yet.After years of buying goat tacos from the nice man who sold them off the balcony of his apt off nearby 183 my bar is really high.
Be aware that Ramona's goat is only available on the weekends.