My taco truck is nothing fancy: a griddle and a short line, with a long sliding window high enough off the ground that you have to look up to place your order.
It’s staffed by a family, as far as I can tell — our exchanges are cordial, but thus far strictly businesslike — and sometimes the son, who looks about 10 years old, squirms in a lawn chair beside it like he is being tortured.
I like that.
I like that when I told them my wife was vegan, they had no idea what I was talking about, and had trouble conceiving of a taco or burrito that at least didn’t have a little cheese on it. And I like it that when I leave a tip, the woman who takes my order always tries to give it back.
They’ve got everything you could want: all manner of pork and chicken and beef, and enough of the weird stuff like tripe and tongue and porkskin to keep it real.
We generally stick to tacos, though El Camino offers everything from tortas to burritos, and we usually pick chicken and beef, and we’ve taken to ordering them 20 at a time.
Sometimes they have raw onion inside, sometimes grilled. Sometimes there’s cilantro or a bit of radish, sometimes not. The soft corn tortillas are of varying thicknesses and have a satisfying skin from the griddle.
They’ve got agua fresca, too.
When I bring them home, a cheer goes up — quite literally — as everybody picks out their pieces and anoints them with lime and sauce. We fight over the containers of salsa verde and, sometimes, the last taco. I think the house record sits right now at six.
My kids, ranging from 12 to 16, like the taco truck better than the ice cream truck these days.
El Camino showed up without fanfare about three years ago, I think — I just started passing it on the way home from work, thinking to myself every time: Man, one of these days I gotta stop at that taco truck.
Until one day finally I did.
It’s rarely closed and there’s never a line. It’s next to a bodega, if you need some Jarritos, and sometimes, on weekend evenings, the parking lot is filled with music from the cars waiting for orders. It’s maybe — maybe — just a little bit sketchy late on Saturday nights. I like that, too.
It’s not trendy, I don’t think; my taco truck is probably the rolling culinary equivalent of a dive bar. But it’s an honest proposition: tacos, at a buck-fifty apiece, take ’em and go.
And though it’s off-menu, they can make a vegan burrito if you ask.