Tuesday, May 07, 2013

El Toyonese

A few months ago, you may recall, I went on a bit of a taco kick.  I was really into the spicy flavors of mexican food, the tactile experience of eating with my hands, and eating in casual environments.  I think it was a response to way too much fine dining and foie gras eating.  Plus, tacos usually come with crunchy chips!

I tried out a number of taquerias and fast casual Mexican restaurants around town, but one taco venue I never visited was ... a taco truck!  How could I have left out this classic slinger of tacos?  I've been to plenty of other food trucks.  It was time to fix that.

So, when El Toyonese was parked nearby, I joined the ridiculously slow moving line to get myself a taco.  The line had probably only 8 or so people in front of me, but it moved at a snail's pace.  It made me really, really appreciate the pace of Pancho Villa that much more!  Seriously, I have no idea what took so long, as it wasn't like they were actually cooking anything there.

Anyway, meh.
Tacos (top to bottom, clockwise): Vegetarian, Carne Asada, Pollo Asado.  $1.75 each.
I have been on a taco kick, but my favorite tacos are grilled shrimp or fried fish.  El Toyonese had neither.  In fact, no seafood was available, just a slew of chicken, beef, and pork options.  None jumped out at me, so I decided to try 3 different ones, to cut my losses and hopefully find something I liked.

Each taco came double shelled, in a totally unremarkable, gummy, corn tortilla.  They got really mushy, really fast, as the liquid from the filling saturated them.  Two shells wasn't enough to protect them.  They weren't good.

Each taco also came loaded with raw white onion and cilantro.  The onion was harsh, sharp, and in huge chunks.  It ruined many bites, and my palate, for the rest of the night.

I started with a "safe" one, the vegetarian.  The sign gave no description as to what would be in it, but I was hoping for grilled veggies or something.  Instead it was just rice, beans, a little salsa, and a lot of the raw onion.  The rice was flavorless and dry.  The beans were plain and also flavorless.  Nothing good here.

Then I moved onto the carne asada.  I would have never known it was beef if I hadn't ordered it.  Not from inspection, nor from taste.  It tasted like ... nothing.  Except more sharp raw onion.

Finally, I went for the pollo asado.  I had basically no hope for this one, as I don't really like chicken, but I wanted to try a variety.  Surprisingly, it was the best.  I finished it in about two bites!  The chicken had a great smokey, grilled flavor.  The salsa added a tiny bit of kick.  There was still way too much of the raw onion though.

The chips, pico de gallo, and sour cream were not actually part of their offerings, I added them on in attempt to spruce up the plate.

At $1.75 each, the price was on par with those of happy hour tacos most places, but there were certainly no frills, no chips or salsa bar included.  I wouldn't ever get more of these.
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