Taqueria Lopez Truck

You might have thought (hoped?) that we were done with tacos for a while.  But no, somehow we are not sick of them.

There’s a new truck parked outside of the Sabor Latino club (4527 N. Roxboro Rd)–now it’s Taqueria Lopez truck #3. (Are there really 3 of them?)

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This truck offered quite a few meat options in their tacos, including some of the ones you don’t always see.  We got four: carnitas, al pastor, asada, and campechano (which is chorizo and suadero (brisket)). They got them all out to us disconcertingly quickly.  You might have noticed that our fave truck, Benito’s, always has a line–and it’s in part because he refuses to precook any of the meat.  We were also disappointed that our car did not fill up with the thick, wonderful taco aroma that it often gets in the short drive between truck and house.

Still, the tacos weren’t bad.

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The al pastor was an especially pleasant surprise because it actually included a discernable number of pineapple chunks, unlike many of the ones I’ve had around here.  The campechano was an interesting combo of meats that I hadn’t tried before, and I definitely liked them together (though the chorizo was bordering on too salty for me, something I almost never say).  The asada was just ok, and we agreed that the carnitas were somehow a bit odd, but couldn’t pinpoint exactly why.  We were only given one salsa, a green one, and it was nice and spicy.

I’m not sure whether the Lopez truck has permanently replaced Benito’s (Sabor Latino) truck, which used to park outside this club, but I think in the future I’ll seek him out instead.  I’m not sure if he has a new regular spot (though I know he’s been going to Third Fridays at Golden Belt and sometimes to Pinhook), but he’s sure worth trolling the streets for.

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Published in: on May 21, 2009 at 8:55 pm  Comments (4)  

Tacomentary Trailer!

Published in: on April 23, 2009 at 2:34 pm  Comments (4)  

Los Migueleños rolls …

… with its own truck parked right outside their restaurant (which appears to have been converted into more of a nightlife spot) at 3316 Guess Rd.  I didn’t get a good look, so I definitely might be wrong, but it seems like it has expanded into the space formerly occupied by Bull City Bakery.

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The truck only had tacos when I went, but the menu says they will have pupusas and some other treats.  As far as I know, this will be the only place to get pupusas from a truck in Durham.  The tacos were good, but on the expensive side ($2/each).

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Published in: on April 14, 2009 at 6:37 am  Comments Off on Los Migueleños rolls …  

Taqueria y Loncheria La Esperanza

Ya, we know, you are sick of us writing about taquerias.  But with the taco documentary nearing completion, it is all we are thinking about these days.  And besides, tacos are awesome.   Today we tried Taqueria La Esperanza (1028 Holloway St. — next to Paschall’s) for the first time.

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Awesomely, the only thing in this place is a window.  Literally.  Even though there was no menu, ordering was a breeze because one of the cooks spoke English fairly well.

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We had lengua, asada, and pastor tacos ($1.50/ea).  All were very good, definitely above average — even for an area that has many great taco options.  In addition to the green salsa, they were served with a crema sauce that I haven’t seen before on tacos here.  Really good.

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The La Esperanza taco truck pulled up as I was leaving.  I suspect this storefront is mainly used to stock the truck rather than serve customers directly.  Still, I will stop by here often.  I am looking forward to figuring out what else they serve.

Does anyone know where the truck parks?

Published in: on March 20, 2009 at 7:09 pm  Comments (5)  

Devorame otra vez, La Vaquita

I finally returned for the huilote en mole.  It did not disappoint.

 

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Again, the mole was deep and delicious.  It photos terribly, but so does art, and both are beautiful.  The quail itself was much better than the smaller ones I had grilled previously.  The meat was much jucier and easier to remove.  I liked putting chunks of the chicken/pork tasting meat on a fresh tortilla and slathering it with a little more mole.

I saved the leftover tortillas and mole.  The next day I made a quesadilla with mole on top.  Awesome.  I might just custom order it next time.

Also, I’d like to highlight La Vaquita’s new website, which one reader informed us of.  It might come in handy when you want to call in some huilotes so you don’t have to wait twenty minutes for them.

Published in: on February 1, 2009 at 5:34 pm  Comments (6)  

North Durham taco truck invasion!

North Duham has taco trucks!

The newest truck was spotted outside of El Fantasia Sports Bar (105 Infinity Rd), formerly PK’s Billiards

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I sampled both a pastor and asada taco.  Both were good, but a bit dry and ultimately nothing special.  The salsa was nice and spicy, but was in a squirt bottle and I didn’t put enough on.

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The second truck is located outside of the popular club Sabor Latino (4527 N. Roxboro Rd).

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Same order here, but these tacos were fantastic.  My only criticism is that they were a bit greasy, but the wonderful flavor of both meats might make this my favorite taco truck in Durham.  I can’t wait to go back for a torta.

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All tacos were $2 each.

Published in: on January 17, 2009 at 3:38 pm  Comments (6)  

Taco Truck Triumvirate

You know those buses on Hillsborough Rd. that appear late at night? The ones decked out with string lights and neon, surrounded by picnic tables and an idling pickup truck or two? They’re our beloved taco trucks, and although we’ve already done a few sporadic posts about them, hopefully this one will cover many of your 2 am taco options.

Taco Riendo Lopez #1 (across from Kroger)

Taco Riendo Lopez #1 (across from Kroger)

First up is Taco Riendo Lopez,  which I assume is owned by the same people who run Taqueria Lopez. Of the three taco buses I’ve found on Hillsborough, Lopez is my favorite.

Pastor and campechanos tacos from Taco Riendo Lopez

Pastor and campechanos tacos from Taco Riendo Lopez

It may have been the novelty of the campechanos (beef steak and Mexican sausage), but the tacos at Taco Riendo Lopez #1 are the late-night food to beat. They’re lovingly made with double-layered tortillas and come with sauteed onions, lime wedges and radish slices. No surprise there, but overall they’re some of the freshest and most delicious tacos around, late-night or otherwise.

Taco Riendo "Las Delicias"

Tacorriendo "Las Delicias" (across from Rubio, below)

 A little further down the road is Tacorriendo “Las Delicias,” which, despite its name and the fact that it was way busier than Lopez, was a major letdown after Lopez.

Barbacoa taco from Tacorriendo "Las Delicias"

Asada taco from Tacorriendo "Las Delicias"

The asada taco was fatty and strangely flavorless, they only use a single tortilla, and the roasted green onion on the side was baffling. However, you can’t really judge a place based on the asada alone.

Taqueria Rubio

Taqueria Rubio (3148 Hillsborough Rd.)

Taqueria Rubio, on the other hand, is a gem. Besides having the coolest bus by far, the tacos, and especially their homemade salsas, are delicious and definitely on par with their waking-hour counterparts.

Asada, pastor, and pollo tacos from Taqueria Rubio

Asada, pastor, and pollo tacos from Taqueria Rubio

I’m dying for another pollo taco from Rubio after looking at these pictures again. If you’re out late this weekend, take the long way home and pick up some tacos.

Taqueria Rubio (map)
Thursday: 8 pm – 2 am
Friday: 12 am  – 3.30 am
Saturday: 7 pm – 3.30 am
Sunday: 7 pm – 2 am 

Published in: on December 4, 2008 at 3:08 pm  Comments (13)  

Los Portales

Los Portales (2405 Holloway St.) may look like a run-down burger stand from the 70s, but make no mistake — it’s a full-fledged taqueria.

This awesome sign is posted right next to the covered park bench situation for those who’d like to eat their take-out as soon as possible.

The drive-up window is on the right, and the walk-up window is up front, next to the menu. After ordering, I tried to look as casual as I could while frantically soaking up all the amazing smells coming out of the kitchen.

This is all the information they have posted — no hours or prices — but it gracefully gets the message across.  I usually hate superfluous quotation marks but for some reason I loved the “menu.” I got two tacos (lengua and pastor), a carne asada gordita, and an horchata for $9.

The pastor was delicious — smokier and slightly sweeter than other pastor I’ve had, and definitely the highlight. I can imagine the pastor burritos (which come highly recommended) being fantastic.  The lengua was better as a template for the red and green salsas (both of which were terrific) than as a taco filling — it didn’t have much flavor compared to other lengua out there.  Sadly I didn’t specify corn tortillas, so I got reheated flour tortillas.  Gringos like corn tortillas too!

The gordita was almost exactly like a torta (refried beans, asada, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, and queso) and was really good, although the asada was way fattier than most other asada I’ve had in Durham. Not to mention the fact that it was super messy — good thing I got to take it back home.  Have you guys tried their burritos?

Published in: on September 25, 2008 at 5:23 pm  Comments (5)  

La Cordobesa

La Cordobesa (map) may not have the absolute best Cubano torta I’ve had (that award still goes to Costa Azul), but the Cordobesa Cubano does win in terms of sheer number of different meats: FIVE.  Unfortunately I’m not sure what they all were, but here is my best guess: ham, chicken, chorizo (I think), beef, hot dog.  There were no beans or egg, but it did have plenty of queso, avocado, and jalapeno.

We also tried two tacos: lengua and pastor.  I was hoping for some pineapple on the latter, didn’t get any, but was still very happy with it.  The lengua’s texture was just about perfect in its tenderness.  The tortillas (which were doubled up) were almost the best part–they seemed very freshly made and were a little bit greasier than usual (in a good way).

We also had a “picadita” (solas, as opposed to con carne), which we got with green sauce.  It was extremely spicy.  In retrospect, the waitress definitely seemed skeptical that we would be able to handle its hotness.  She was right about one of us.  It was a fluffy thick gordita-type tortilla covered in sauce, crumbly queso, onions, and cilantro.

The fresh salsa situation was lacking a bit, but they did have the cutest bottle of hot sauce (which was also delish) that I’ve seen:

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 7:05 pm  Comments (5)  

El Compadre ‘Factory’

First off, allow me congratulate the proprietors of this establishment on selecting a fine name, translated from the spanglish as “the buddy factory,” that puts a grin on my face. Their selection of both interior and exterior paints is equally cheery, a bright green outside and a light violet interior.

It seems that El Compadre Factory (2900 Holloway St) has recently changed ownership and name. Formerly, as Chino Latino, it had dancing on some nights. The booths still hug the walls and there is one of those multicolored disco ball lights hanging from the ceiling. The road sign outside made it unclear whether or not there is still dancing on the weekends (as well as the name of the place).  But more importantly (to some) than dancing, the proprietor told us that it will be open for breakfast.

Before I get to the food, I would like to share the highlight of my visit: the typo (probably…) on the sign by the entrance. It really made the trip out down 70 to East Holloway worth it.

The food is pretty standard taqueria fare: generous portions, low prices and an impressive variety of options that led to some serious wikipedia-ing afterwards. I now know that ‘cecina’ is a type of salted dried beef, ‘longaniza’ is a pork sausage similar to chorizo but differently seasoned and ‘pambazo’ is a Mexican hot sandwich dipped in guajillo pepper sauce. All things I need to try if I return. I took a photo of the menu for future study, but it may look different next time–the owner assured us that they would be adding an English menu.  She assumed (understandably, as we are purely, unmistakably gringos) that we didn’t know what a torta was and helpfully explained everything.

This trip, I chose the torta cubana and YAR selected a taco al pastor and a carne asada huarache. The torta cubana ($6) featured a nice crusty roll filled with chicken, carne asada and a hot dog topped with lettuce, avocado and tomato. While I initially raised an eyebrow at the hot dog, the overall sandwich experience was quite nice, especially when I added the grilled green onion garnish, some of the house red hot sauce (I believe a chile de arbol) and a squeeze of lime. Munching on some the radishes between bites, it made for a filling meal.

The huarache (which translates to ‘sandal’) consisted of a thick, oblong corn tortilla, probably made in house, topped with refried beans, carne asada, and cheese, drizzled with fresh crema. I enjoyed it topped with some pico de gallo (which may have been intended for the taco), though it was a bit difficult not to slice the wax paper beneath it into each bite. Definitely a lot of food for 3 bucks. The taco al pastor was probably the best item we tried, though it didn’t have any pineapple. It was seasoned very well, but I couldn’t resist adding a bit of the salsa verde to it for a bit of that tomatillo citrusy zing.

Overall, a decent cheap eat find with a lot of room for exploration. I think I’ll stop by next time I’m in the area, try a pambazo and make sure the beast sign is still there. I take solace in little confirmations of the universe’s bad sense of humor.

Published in: on September 4, 2008 at 11:45 am  Comments (4)