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707 Taco Truck Review

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43 replies to this topic

#1 rancho_gordo

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Posted 20 July 2004 - 09:37 PM

Quite casually, the delightful Ms Melkor and I have decided to visit and make notes on as many taco trucks in the 707 area code that we can find. The next review may be our last or this thread may continue as long as Tommy's Bio.

The taco truck is a brave new frontier in Mexican cooking. I think some of the best Mexican food I've had in Northern California not made in the home is from these trucks.

Please add your own reviews if they are from the 707 area code and are actual trucks. Really good taco stands or trucks in Davis belong on another thread. This is serious, gente!

We started with 2 Hermanos on the north side of Vallejo. It is in the parking lot of a very tacky furniture store and the busy traffic on Sonoma Ave will not remind you of a chic Parisian cafe in any way.

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I don't remember how much the tacos were, but the regular burrito includes cheese and sour cream for $3.50 and it's huge, although not too huge for the mighty Ms Melkor. She had a cabeza and I had three tacos al pastor.

I forgot to ask many details but my companion said the burrito was very good. I eat one every Saturday on the way back from the market in OAK so I know of which she speaks. Lots of meat and just enough beans and rice to taste great, not to use as filler. They steam the tortillas rather than grill them, which I think is a negative but the extras like cheese and cream are bonus treats, as are the salsas, the de Arbol in particular.

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My tacos were rather artfully displayed. To be honest, the meat as a little dry but otherwise it was a fine snack.

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For the 3 tacos, burrito and 2 horchatas (kind of watery but not too sweet) it was $9. I have to admit part of the appeal is knowing these mobile restaurtants make Mr Melkor squeemish. She didn't say but I'd bet Ms Melkor gets a little thrill from that too.

Let us know if you want to go on our next little adventure or add your own.

VIVA 707!!!!!!
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#2 Julia'sChild

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Posted 21 July 2004 - 11:05 AM

Hey Rancho
I am a huge fan of the Taco Truck and quite often can be found at the La Playita truck across from the Wine Train on Mc Kinstry, (just off Soscol). But I have to admit those pics from your last adventure look a little better. I think I need to branch out and explore. I would love to join you (and others) on your next little adventure.
Keep on Truckin'
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#3 ExtraMSG

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 01:46 AM

For the area code challenged, like myself, here's a map:

http://docs.nanpa.co...isplay.shtml?ca

#4 jschyun

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:39 AM

I know this is a stupid question, but I have been meaning to ask it for some time. How do you find these taco trucks? Do you just drive around and spot one? Granted I have trouble finding carts in general, so forgive me if this is really stupid.

ExtraMSG, do the same taco truck finding techniques apply in Portland as well as in SF area? I'm going to portland soon.

thx
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#5 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:44 AM

I know this is a stupid question, but I have been meaning to ask it for some time. How do you find these taco trucks? Do you just drive around and spot one? Granted I have trouble finding carts in general, so forgive me if this is really stupid.

ExtraMSG, do the same taco truck finding techniques apply in Portland as well as in SF area? I'm going to portland soon.

thx

When I was living in LA, I would hit the Taco Trucks near the automobile pick-a-parts (I was restoring British cars back then and always hunting for parts!). Driving around works too -- I would say anywhere that migrant workers tend to hang or near the day-laborer's hang-outs...

#6 cmvnapa

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 08:01 PM

Tacos La Playita is our truck of choice - we tried them all about 6 years ago, and we always return to the beach. For a time, they moved the truck around, but it seems to be settled on McKinstry. We tried their Old Sonoma Road restaurant once, but it's the truck or nothing.

#7 rancho_gordo

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 08:16 PM

Let's go for La Playita next week. I promise to keep an open mind even though I think $5 is a little steep and the last time I went it seemed like they used an awful lot of rice and it seemed like filler. But after that we need to try Michoacan which has become my favorite for al pastor, even though it's right next to WalMart.

Let's not forget the big side of 707- Sonoma county. Winesonoma and others- I know you have some pretty good taco joints, but how about taco wagons? I'm guessing there are some good ones in Petaluma.
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#8 rancho_gordo

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 08:17 PM

I know this is a stupid question, but I have been meaning to ask it for some time. How do you find these taco trucks? Do you just drive around and spot one?

I follow my nose!!!
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#9 ExtraMSG

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Posted 22 July 2004 - 11:58 PM

You know that scene in Roxanne where Steve Martin sniffs a the smoke of a fire and follows it to the source....

When you come up to Portland, make sure you post or PM, we've got some quite competitive options. People often don't realize that Portland proper has a population of Hispanics, mostly Mexicans, of over 10%. The percentages are higher in the outlying areas and the many agricultural areas.

I'm looking forward to Santa Rosa and Sebastopol taco reports for when I visit family.

#10 rancho_gordo

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 08:46 PM

Carrying on....
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Today was La Playita. Everyone in town will tell you this is their favorite taco truck. My cop friend swears by it. They've raised the prices making it the most costly burrito in town but on some level, it's Napa and everyone deserves to make a living.

Today Melkor got over his anxiety and joined MsMelkor and me for a fine dining experience. He ordered two chicken tacos:
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LadyMelkor chose cabeza to compare it to Dos Hermanos. Notice her completely exposed burrito stratgey. I like to unwrap as I go, tearing the foil in a spiral. Ms Melkor likes to see her challenge head on and tackle the beast knowing its strengths and weaknesses. There are no rights or wrongs- only choices!

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La Playita is known for it's Carne Asada so I had tacos to really taste the meat:
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I'll let the Melkors speak for themselves, should they want to, but I'll go on record that this place is no big woop. The meat is dry so they douse it with Taptio-style hot sauce. It's fine and I don't dislike it but I don't find anything special about it.
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The lovely curbside setting is worse than Dos Hermanos (full on picnic table) but much better than Michoacan (Wal-Mart parking lot). It's right outside the wine train "station" so you can watch teens flip the bird at "passengers" on the "unique wine country dining experience" if you walk just a few feet away from La Playita.

I PM'd all the locals I thought might be interested for this last-minute meal. PM me if you want to know about our next excursion.
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#11 katabeta

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 09:46 PM

oh man, this thread is really making me miss California, especially the taco trucks of LA, where I lived for four years. :sad: I've been in Boston for a year and just moved to DC. I started my taco quest this week but I haven't seen any trucks. Until I move back west I'll have to drool over these photos! I never got my taco truck tacos plated so beautifully down in SoCal, that's awesome.

My boyfriend from Berkeley wants me to tell you all that the steak burritos from the aztec grills at the chevron stations on the north coast are some of the best he's had--I'm not sure what he's talking about but maybe you folks know.
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#12 tanabutler

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 10:11 PM

Rancho Gordo, I, too, am a spiral-unwrapper. And I mean burritos, señor.

Me, I have not been to south county in search of Chef Kinch's recs, and I wish this thread could be broadened to include the whole Bay area. Because we're both technically in the San Francisco Bay area.

#13 MsMelkor

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Posted 30 July 2004 - 11:36 PM

I agree with RG about the dry meat. Unfortunately my burrito didn't have any hot sauce on it, resulting in a mighty dry burrito. There was a lot of it, though, so you do get a lot for your $5. The beans and rice were only on one side of the burrito - this meant that many bites consisted only of meat or only of beans and rice. A more even distribution would have improved matters greatly.

I did like the sauteed (grilled? broiled? roasted?) green onions on the side.

Overall, I thought it was decent, but prefer Dos Hermanos in Vallejo. We'll see what the next one brings.

Tana - why not start a companion thread to this one on 831 taco trucks? Then we can overrun the California board with Bay Area topics!
allison

#14 uncle ovipositor

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 07:08 PM

For those of you in Oakland, there's a site up that documents some of our local taco trucks:
http://tacotrucks.net/

It hasn't been updated in forever, but it's a good start. Next time you're down here for the farmer's market RG (and by the way, thanks for introducing me to cactus paddles), try some of these if you have time. I know, I know, this is supposed to be about the 707, but you're down here once a week so give it a shot.

c

#15 rancho_gordo

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 07:58 PM

For those of you in Oakland, there's a site up that documents some of our local taco trucks:
http://tacotrucks.net/

I can't believe that! I thought I was being somewhat original! Not even close....

Yet another reason why I love Oakland so much!

Hello, Uncle! Was I nice to you when I sold you cactus paddles? Sometimes I can be a bit grumpy and now with customers on eGullet, my moody personality is going to come back to haunt me!
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#16 ExtraMSG

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 11:15 PM

Mmmm. Ojo de agua. Although, for my money I'd hit a non-truck and get some tinga on a huarache at La Torta Loca.

#17 tanabutler

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Posted 02 August 2004 - 11:44 PM

Tana - why not start a companion thread to this one on 831 taco trucks? Then we can overrun the California board with Bay Area topics!

I will issue the challenge to Manresa (Chef David Kinch)--and Ron (pater familias) and Eric (he's bona fide) Lau (trust me on the Lau rep), and anyone else who wants to become "Iron Chef Taco Truck for the Bay Area."

My condition, of course, is that I get to go along and do the photographs.

Come to think of it, I'll make them look really bad so none of you move here. The motto in Santa Cruz is: "Tourists go home, but leave your daughters."

#18 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 12:44 PM

Sorry to have missed the opportunity last Friday! Thanks for thinking of us though! I realized, in my running around, there is a truck that continually sits in front of Central Valley Hardware on Soscol. My vineyards manager, Gabriel, assures me it is THE place for vineyard workers to shop -- so why not eat? I'm sorry I don't recall the name on the side of the truck.

Game?

#19 uncle ovipositor

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Posted 04 August 2004 - 04:32 PM

I can't believe that! I thought I was being somewhat original! Not even close....

Yet another reason why I love Oakland so much!

Hello, Uncle! Was I nice to you when I sold you cactus paddles? Sometimes I can be a bit grumpy and now with customers on eGullet, my moody personality is going to come back to haunt me!


Do I get a discount if I say nice things about you here?

You're one of my faves at the farmer's market. Nice to chat with and full of information.

#20 MsMelkor

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 08:51 PM

So after a longer-than-anticipated hiatus, Rancho Gordo and I, accompanied by Melkor, sampled the burritos at the Taco Michoacan (I think that's the name of it...) truck in Napa. It's right in front of Wal-Mart on Soscol.

My cabeza burrito had a good meat/rice ratio, and unlike Tacos La Playita, these were evenly distributed throughout the burrito. The meat itself was moist, and was in large chunks, rather than the usual shreds. RG liked the juicy pork in his al pastor burrito, and Melkor enjoyed his carne asada (although he found the beef to be a bit dry). Portions were large - plenty of food for $4. This truck did not have any horchata.

We did not bring a camera, but the next time I drive by I'll take a picture of the truck and post it.

We'll try to hit another truck next week, probably also in Napa. There are a LOT to choose from!
allison

#21 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 09:41 PM

So after a longer-than-anticipated hiatus, Rancho Gordo and I, accompanied by Melkor, sampled the burritos at the Taco Michoacan (I think that's the name of it...) truck in Napa. It's right in front of Wal-Mart on Soscol.

View Post


Yep - that's the one I mentioned in my previous post.

Thanks for the invite... :hmmm:

#22 rancho_gordo

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 10:11 PM

Yep - that's the one I mentioned in my previous post.

Thanks for the invite...  :hmmm:

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No, that's a different one in front of Central Valley. This is one is exactly outside of the Wal-Mart parking lot.
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#23 Gary Soup

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:25 PM

Come to think of it, I'll make them look really bad so none of you move here. The motto in Santa Cruz is: "Tourists go home, but leave your daughters."

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Not a chance of me moving there, but I'm hoping to leave my stepdaughter there (she starts school at UC next week). I'm looking forward to some quietude in the Soup household.

#24 tanabutler

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 11:51 PM

Not a chance of me moving there, but I'm hoping to leave my stepdaughter there (she starts school at UC next week).  I'm looking forward to some quietude in the Soup household.

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Lucky Gary. No matter what you post, SOUP is always food-related. heh

SC has some great things going on. I just found a nice, tiny Chinese place today. Kung Bao chicken, first time ever with mushrooms. I liked it.

#25 Chris Cognac

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 08:52 AM

Great thread, keep it coming with the pics too....man I am hungry now!

Edited by Chris Cognac, 11 September 2004 - 08:52 AM.

Moo, Cluck, Oink.....they all taste good!
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#26 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 10:17 AM

No, that's a different one in front of Central Valley. This is one is exactly outside of the Wal-Mart parking lot.

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Mea culpa -- just feeling left out of the fun... :sad:

#27 rancho_gordo

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 08:44 PM

Mea culpa -- just feeling left out of the fun...  :sad:

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Aren't you the one who can't tolerate any heat at all, has a complete disdain for cilantro and gets sores in her mouth when she eats raw tomatoes? It would be like taking me to a fashion show! It just never dawned on me. Sorry.

These jaunts are last minute whims, not organized eGullet events. I did try and organize this once and no one seemed particularly interested. I completely understand but I don't have it in me to keep rallying the troops for a simple taco.

But the documentation continues....

Today, being hot and hungry and coming home from the Ferry Plaza market, I found myself near Melkorville and cell=phoned to see if we could eat off the love wagons 2 days in a row. they agreed! We went to Guadalajara No. 1 on Sonoma at Ohio in Vallejo.

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There is another, sadder Guadalajara in town but we skipped it. As I heard the meat sizzling past this busy truck, I knew the right decion had been made.

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MsMelk had her usual cabeza burrito, MrMelk had a chicken taco and I had a pastor burrito. All burrito tortillas were grilled rather than steamed. The salsa was a chipotle. Onions were not grilled!

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All agreed this wagon is very good, indeed!

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It tasted like from a mix, but they did have horchata, but it's not on the menu.

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All in all, great if you're downtown Vallejo. I still prefer Dos Hermanos but this is still better than anything in Napa- yet! The quest continues.
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#28 MsMelkor

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 08:49 PM

I really liked the grilled tortilla - much tastier than steamed.
allison

#29 melkor

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 06:50 PM

"Tacos el Coronel" - Geyserville, CA:

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This truck obviously has a better view than the previous bunch did.

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A little more expensive than yesterday, a bit cheaper than Friday.

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carnitas, al pastor on the first plate, chicken on the next, cabeza next, and carne asada on the last.

All the tacos came with sauteed onions, which is a nice addition to the plate. It's hard to say if this was better than Guadalajara 1 yesterday, but it certainly was better than Michoacan on Friday.

#30 Julia'sChild

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 10:23 AM

:wacko:

Edited by Julia'sChild, 13 September 2004 - 11:10 AM.

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