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Fruitvale taco crawl, 2010 edition

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In honor of two visiting chowhounds from Edmonton, eight of us met up and took a swing through Oakland's Fruitvale district. I had wanted to hit some new spots, but we ended up mostly hitting old faves.

I've listed our stops and what I ordered below -- please add your comments!

Fruit cart: elote (corn on the cob smeared with mayo, rolled in grated cheese and dusted with cayenne)

La Torta Loca:
Huarache w/ tinga
Sope w/ nopales
Sope w/ squash blossom
Sope w/ tinga

I don't know why I was so fixated on sopes -- the huarache was the clear winner here.

Marisocos La Costa:
Agua chile con camaron y pulpo (sort of a spicy, soupy ceviche with shrimp and octopus)
Tostada ceviche de camaron

El Gordo Taco Truck:
Al pastor taco
Lengua taco

(walk through Mi Pueblo Food Center)

Churros from churro cart

El Ojo de Agua Taco Truck:
Mango agua fresca
Guava agua fresca
Suardero taco
Cabeza taco

El Novillo Taco Truck:
Tripas tacos
Carnitas taco

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Mi Pueblo Food Center
1630 High St, Oakland, CA 94601

El Gordo
4201 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

La Torta Loca
3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

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  1. Thanks, Ruth, for showing us some of your fave spots in the Fruitvale. it was the perfect evening to stroll and taste the various treats.

    My faves were:
    -huarache de tinga had a very rich flavor. I actually don't eat much beef, but this was quite flavorful
    -pulpo (octapus) in the soupy sauce
    -tacos de tripas was the grand finale enjoyed by all.

    1. Yes, many thanks to Ruth for the tour. I agree that the tinga at La Torta Loca was hard to taste under the crema, lettuce, etc. on the sope but caramelizy-oniony-sweet when unadorned on the huarache. And thanks to Tom for finding the handmade tortillas, for sale by request at the cash register inside La Mexicana at $6 for a dozen. On my way out, the waitress handed me a sample tortilla on the house, smeared with refried beans--possibly the best thing I ate all night!

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      La Torta Loca
      3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

      1. To start, we are the visiting chowhounds from Edmonton and just wanted to say thank you! It was a fantastic experience, and a great way to spend a beautiful evening in Oakland. The food was great, with the the tripas tacos being some sort of culinary champion. The mix of char and fat, made these our favourite of the night.

        With that said, I don't think we could pick just one runner up. The rest of the collection, from the amazing octopus to the tinga to the al pastor. Phew! What a dinner. It was a pleasure to meet everyone and can't thank you enough.

        P.S. That fresh tortilla smeared with refried beans was also divine!

        I'll try and get some more photo's up soon.

        Chris
        eatingisthehardpart.com

         
         
         
         
         
        1. Thanks very much to Ruth for organizing the crawl, and welcome to the Bay Area scene to visitors Sarah and Chris.

          I would pick my faves as (1) the tinga at Torta Loco (2) the Al pastor at Gordo (3) the tripas at Guadalajara/El Novillo. Everything was good - those just stood out.

          It was also good to find out that La Mexicana *still* (20 years later) sells thick, fresh corn tortillas - $3/$6 for 6 or 12 tortillas. Expensive, but good.

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          La Mexicana
          3930 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94601-4012

          2 Replies
          1. re: Tom Simonson

            As another Canuck 'Hound who has enjoyed the extreme hospitality of the SF Bay Area Chowhounders, I know how raidar and SO felt :-). It's just amazing to have total strangers roll out the red carpet like that, though of course none of you seem like strangers after reading your great posts
            :-). I am sobbing quietly with jealousy as I read (kidding... sort of).

            1. re: Tom Simonson

              Adding link for El Novillo Taco Truck:

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              El Novillo Taco Truck
              1001 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601

            2. When I cruise through Fruitvale I usually hit the trucks, so it was nice to revisit the our two store-front stops: La Torta Loca and Mariscos La Costa. Every time I get the tinga at La Torta Loca I'm blown away anew, and it's been many years since I'd had the agua chile at Mariscos La Costa and I'd forgotten how delicious it is.

              For people who are interested in trying these places, I'd note that the store front places close up really early: I'd wanted to stop at La Gran Chiquita but it was closed when we got back there just a few minutes before 8. Mariscos La Costa was also closed and dark before 8, and the Public Market (Nieves Cinco de Mayo) was also closed when we got there a few minutes before 9 (although it might be open later on the weekends).

              It was great to meet new hounds and see familiar faces, and to go out with a group of people who get really excited about a tripas taco.

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              Mariscos La Costa
              3625 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

              La Torta Loca
              3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

              3 Replies
              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Is the Public Market Nieves related to the Nieves Cinco de Mayo Gourmet Hamburgers on E14th next to old Cinco de Mayo (now 16 de Septiembre) and across from La Torta Loca?

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                La Torta Loca
                3419 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

                1. re: drewskiSF

                  Funny, Curtis Woo and I had a discussion about that the other day. The multiple instances of "Cinco de Mayo" are confusing, since the sister restaurant of the former Cinco de Mayo/now 16 de Septiembre farther down International at High Street is also called Cinco de Mayo. I thought that was the one Curtis meant when he was talking about burgers at Cinco de Mayo but now I'm really confused. I'm guessing that if it says "Nieves" then it is related to the Nieves place in the Public Market. I'm going to have to make a field trip this weekend, clearly, to get it all straightened out.

                  1. re: drewskiSF

                    the public market nieves and the nieves cinco de mayo gourmet hamburgers on international is run by the same grandpa & familia. they sell ice cream, fries, and other items as well.

                    the 16 de septiembre cinco de mayo is next door to them and they sell great lamb tacos in front.