Last year, during a conversation about the delights of Mexican food (between Rhode, Ted and I), someone hit upon the idea for a TACO TRUCK CRAWL; an epic journey from taco stand to taco stand, in quest of the best Tacos. Many months later, the idea came to fruition, as a group of EIGHT of us, Rhode, Ted, Myself and 4 others (Julia, Sherrie, Elaine, Jeff and Anita) wandered down International Boulevard in Oakland, stuffing our faces every few feet. The entire route was walk-able and cooked up ahead of time by the well-organised mind of the formidable Ted. The milestones along the way, where we all dutifully put food into our necks, were as follows:
1. TACOS ZAMORANO (Taco Truck) The Carnitas at this truck were afterwards voted the best of the entire crawl… however, I can not comment on that assessment, as at this first stop of the day I had me a CARNE ASADA taco, which was a great start to the proceedings.
2. EL GORDO (Taco Truck) Here, I shared a tasty CARNITAS taco with Rhode. We went halves thereafter, in the interests of pacing ourselves. There was a lot of eating yet to be done!
3. EL GRULLO (Taco Truck). This is where I had my favourite taco of the day; a CHORIZO taco, that was a little greasy but very tasty nonetheless. Oh yummy yum.
4. LOS MICHOACANOS (Taco Truck). This place offered hand made tortillas (on weekends, anyway) and also offered BIRRIA (goat) which I tried and enjoyed… The Goat was quickly chased down my throat by a pig… in the shape of an AL PASTOR taco.
4A. CHURROS RELLENOS (Churro Cart). Next, Rhode led us all to his favourite Churro cart. His belief is that a churro needs to be eaten fresh (I have the same opinion when it comes to donuts; cousins to the churro) and this is the place to get a Churro made to order; battered in front of your eyes and then stuffed with the flavouring of your choice. I had never heard of stuffed churros before and was dying to try one but I wanted to hold off on the sweets until I had eaten my fill of tacos first. Ted was of the same mind, and so we high-tailed it away from that Churro cart, lest we would be tempted to break our steely resolve.
5. MI GRULENSE (Taco Truck). At the next truck, Elaine, the last member of the crawl-crew, finally showed up just as I was ordering a BUCHE taco, which was my least favourite edible consumed that day. I found out later that Buche is Pig Esophagus… And it actually tasted just as unappetising as that sounds…
6. EL OJO DE AGUA (Torta Truck). This place had a huge selection of TORTAS and also some tasty AGUA FRESCAS. A chicken, bacon, avocado and ham Torta (shared with my fellow crawlers) and a mango Agua Fresca both did their part to reboot my palette after it was crashed by some malware installed by the deadly Buche.
At this point, the crawl-crew split up. Elaine was interested in the Goat taco experience which we had partaken of before she showed up. Ted and I were now ready to have some CHURROS…. Oh yes, indeed we were. So a group of churro eaters set off for the Churro cart as Rhode took Elaine back to Los Michoacanos, in quest of the Goat Taco.
7. CHURROS RELLENOS (Churro Cart). Fortified by my share of the huge Torta, I was now ready for some sweets. I bought one of each of the stuffed Churros on offer at the magic wagon I had seen earlier; VANILLA, CHOCOLATE, CARAMEL, STRAWBERRY and one good old PLAIN (unstuffed) Churro…. They were all good but, in my opinion, the Vanilla was the best of the flavours. Tears of joy flowed freely as I chewed on that healing Vanilla Churro. Sniff… I shared my bounty with the rest of the CHURRO AWAY TEAM as we headed back to rendezvous with the GOAT TACO AWAY TEAM.
7A. LOS MICHOACANOS (Taco Truck). Elaine was enjoying her goat taco (as I knew she would) when the rest of us showed up with the sweets. This would not be the first time (or even the last time) on our mission, that people who were already complaining of being “full” reached over for something else to stuff in their neck-holes, double-handed. After some reflection, we realised that we needed a place to sit, unwind and drink….
8. LA PIñATA (Restaurant). This fine restaurant in nearby Alameda was crowded when we showed up at day’s end. Thankfully, we found a table out in back of the huge, maze-like place. We ordered some drinks and some bacon/shrimp guacamole and proceeded to amaze ourselves by guzzling it all, even though we all were quite full when we sat down. Thereafter, conversations flowed about such diverse subjects as naked clowns, super heroes, Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and other such nonsense…
At the beginning of the day, some of us knew each-other well, some of us knew each-other only via the internet and some didn’t even know each-other at all but by the end of a punishing day’s worth of eating and laughing, we had all bonded, as anyone on a grueling, yet rewarding, mission is likely to do. Crawl-Crew Unite!
Thanks to my fellow crawlers for their photos (my camera battery died after the first truck).