Saturday, April 19, 2014

Queens Taco Crawl

So for the past couple of years, there has been talk of FBM going on a Queens taco crawl. Underneath the elevated 7 train tracks there is a stretch of Roosevelt Avenue that has a plethora of taco trucks/carts. As such things come up, people get busy, so it had taken a while to pick a date. A couple weeks back Beer Boor, Dean and TC joined me and CT on a warm Spring evening to taste some cheap and delicious tacos. Yvo visited some of the storefronts a few years ago to have tacos in lieu of the carts.

Originally we were going to start at the 103rd Street stop and work our way west, but our friend Siobhan from Blondie & Brownie recently went on the crawl herself and suggested we start at 111th Street. We didn’t see the torta truck she raved about, but I am glad because it would not have been a good start to the crawl if I was already full from one massive torta.

Since CT and I can in no way keep up with TC & Beer Boor’s eating prowess, we decided to share pretty much every taco we ordered. Pretty much all of the tacos along the crawl were in the $2 to $2.50 range.

We started at this cart that was right outside the C-Town supermarket. We were quite impressed that they were pressing their tortillas to order. I am pretty sure all of the other carts we visited were using store bought.

Our first taco of the night was chicharron. This was excellent! Stewed pork skin in a rich red sauce that was crisped up a bit on the flattop. The pile of cilantro and squeeze of lime cut through some of that richness and added a fresh pop to each bite.

Dean was thinking short-term and was very enticed by the fresh masa so he had the Gordita with pork belly and a lengua taco. He shared the gordita with us since it was so big. It was quite excellent. Crispy outside and soft inside.

TC had the longaniza quesadilla. Longaniza is a sausage similar to chorizo. I had a taste of the meat and it was quite delicious. It was good that they chopped up the sausage in order to allow for more surface area on the flattop to crisp up.

The next stop was this truck and when Beer Boor was able to catch up with us since he was held up back in Manhattan.

CT and I shared the lengua taco. The lady went a little overboard on the radish as you can see. Plenty of beefy tongue underneath and a healthy dose of the avocado salsa. A good taco, but it ended up being my least favorite truck.

TC had the carnitas taco.

Next up was the corner of 104th & Roosevelt which had a couple trucks & carts. This truck had a huge menu.

CT, Dean and I got the oreja tacos aka pig ears. These weren’t for the faint of heart. Rather than being deep-fried, they were stewed and then warmed up on the grill. The chopped up ears were chewy yet crunchy from the cartilage. I was glad that we were only sharing one, but it was nice to try something different.

Our chivo taco was on the right. It was goat meat. I have eaten more goat in the past two years than I ever had in my life since it is a preferred protein in Indian cooking. This preparation was very good especially since any gameyness was cooked out of the meat. We both enjoyed this taco a lot.

Beer Boor’s enchiladas (spicy pork) taco was on the left. He was on a mission to get chorizo at each stand to see how they compare, but unfortunately this truck was all out. I think he was quite satisfied with the substitute.

TC had the chicken flautas. He kindly shared with all of us since it was a huge portion. I liked it a lot. The rolled tortillas were super crunchy, not too greasy and filled with plenty of stewed chicken.

Beer Boor was getting thirsty so he got a Horchata. I think he said it was $3 for the huge quart. He seemed to like it.

Next up was a tiny cart called Tacos El Carritos. Here CT and I decided to each order our own taco.

I had the carnitas. It was pretty good.

Beer Boor went back to chorizo.

Dean decided to try the cesina. It was salted beef. I had a small taste and enjoyed it. Tender meat that was salty, but not too much so.

CT ordered one thing, but ended up with the al pastor taco. The lady freshly sauteed some onions and pineapple before crisping up the spicy pork. It was very good and one of the spiciest tacos we had that night.

The next place was a pretty big operation that had a waitress, umbrellas and chairs. They had a good time with us and our pathetic Spanish speaking skills.

I decided to try the cesina since I liked it when Dean got it at the last place. Here it was more finely chopped and a little less salty, but still quite good. I even got a bonus of a couple pieces of chorizo in there.

TC tried the chorizo con papas quesadilla. This would make a great breakfast, haha.

Beer Boor’s chorizo was especially greasy here, but that’s where the flavor is!

Dean had the blurry carnitas.

Along the same route were just as many Ecuadorian carts. Along this stretch was a row of three or four trucks all lined up. I like how they each had a flat screen tv. Gotta keep the customers entertained! Maybe next time we’ll try some Ecuadorian food.

The last cart of the night was staffed by these two friendly ladies and was across from the Gulf station. They did a pretty amazing job of maximizing as much space as possible. Only TC and Beer Boor had room for more food. As I mentioned earlier, there really is no competing with them when it comes to food consumption.

The ladies were working on a huge order when we walked up. Look at all that meat!

Beer Boor had his last chorizo taco of the evening and managed to burn his hand pretty good with it. There was no worrying that the meat isn’t fully cooked.

TC ordered the Torta de Salchichas con Chorizo y Huevos. Here is the assembly of it. Of course he said “Si” when they asked if he wanted some pickled jalapenos. For those non-Spanish speakers, salchichas means hot dogs.

He asked if they could cut it twice, since there was no way he was going to eat even half of it himself. CT and I managed to share almost a full quarter.

It was a gut bomb to end all gut bombs. Look at all that gooey cheese. There was also lettuce, tomato, avocado and a bean spread. I don’t see how one person could ever eat this. Not bad for $6 or $7.

Yup, Dean got a little sick after seeing the sandwich, as you can see.

All in all, we had a great time on our taco crawl. It was super easy to get there and just walk along Roosevelt stopping along the way. We ended up walking from the 111th stop to 82nd street. No need to waste your money and pay for a tour. Some of the carts were better than others, so we’ll know what to look for next time. Thanks everyone for coming out and can’t wait for next time (after a few visits to the gym first).

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Comments

11 Responses to “Queens Taco Crawl”
  1. hungry says:

    Oh geez! I’m sad and happy that I missed this. Sad about the tasty looking tacos. Happy that I didn’t have to share my fat stomach to the world in Florida.

  2. BeerBoor says:

    Exhaustive! Well done sir, well done.

    - My horchata was $3.50 for the quart, which turned out to be a good value when a 16-ounce cup at the end of the crawl was $2.
    - Fortunately, I didn’t suffer any “real” burns from the last taco, though the grease was damned hot.
    - Those last two chorizo tacos were my favorites; I’d have a hard time choosing which I liked more. I did like that the last cart had a bright white light on the side so your pictures were well-lit.

  3. T.C. says:

    Thanks again TT for setting up the crawl. Too bad I was not a taco purist that night. Wild card!

    I did eat half the torta. Dean & Dave did not want a quarter each. Haha.
    Thank goodness I didn’t eat it at the beginning of the crawl or game over on eating more treats.

    • T.C. says:

      Oh, there wasn’t a cart that we decided to purchase from that I didn’t eat at. I had a carnita taco too at Tacos El Carritos cart but there was no need for repeat pics and a nibble of the meat and pineapple from that delicious al pastor.

      I also had a carnitas taco chaser after my chorizo con papas quesadilla since Dean “accidently” ordered an extra one and didn’t want it… HAHAHA.

      Mighty Mexican Food Baby that night por mi.

  4. BlindBakerNYC says:

    I don’t think you guys ate enough, TT! Are you all on diets?

    • T.C. says:

      Yes, we are all on the new craze of diets. The Taco Diet!

      Much better than the salads involved in your daily lunches, Blindy. :P

  5. I love that photo with Dean in the background about to vom. Hahaha! Great photos and great write up!

    PS I actually hit a couple of trucks in my tour… didn’t avoid carts, just that most of the trucks we looked for weren’t around.

  6. Lisa Smith says:

    Wow! those tacos looks so nice !!=D

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