Taqueria La Fonda

east side taco trucks columbus

3330 E. Broad Street
614.625.6287
open everyday except Sunday from 10.30am to 8pm.

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Taqueria La Fonda is a good addition to the East Side taco truck scene. It’s located on the North side of East Broad Street just east of the intersection with James.

Offerings include the standard tacos, tortas and burritos as well as tamales and crispy corn tortillas (think taquito or flauta) – either chicken or beef served with lettuce, cheese and crema. The tamales (we had red) were good – plump, light and moist.

columbus mexican food

They also have sincronizadas which are similar to a quesadilla but contains ham and cheese. Usually, in our experience, a sincronizada is made with two tortillas stacked like a sandwich but as you can see this one was one large tortilla folded.

taco trucks columbus

Meat options include chicken, al pastor, chorizo, steak, barbacoa, lengua and chicharron stewed in green sauce (pictured below with a taco de lengua). Chicharron guisado is in our opinion one of the more challenging taco truck dishes.

taqueria la fonda columbus

There is a good selection of tortas with some additional meat options.

taqueria la fonda ohio

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Taqueria El Buen Sazon

5615 Cleveland Ave.
Southwest corner of SR 161 and Cleveland Ave.
Monday to Thursday 10:30 am to 10 pm
Friday and Saturday 10:30 am to 1 am
Sunday 10:30 am to 11:00 pm
614 843 4275
614 900 9886

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El Buen Sazon opened late July or early August 2011. This is a truck where a few Spanish language phrases or very good pantomime skills are needed. Some of the information on the signage is not translated correctly and in a few cases….pointing to what you want may not be 100% effective. The signage itself is very good – colorful and numbered, you could order by number with decent success. It took about 10 minutes to confirm the hours for the truck (the hours listed on the truck are not correct) and to clarify a few other menu options. The name roughly translates to “The Good One” or seasoning…..feel free to comment on this translation.

Octavio seems to be the taco slinger on site most often. He and the others working the truck are from Mexico City. The fare is standard Taco Truck cuisine – tacos, huaraches, tortas, burritos, quesadillas and soft drinks. On the weekends they serve goat (birria) stew and menudo (not the boy band). The most expensive item ($8.00) is the Torta Cubano (which is a large sandwich with the meat of your choice, sliced pineapple and a pile of other ingredients).

A Chorizo taco, quesadilla with al pastor and a huarache with goat meat were sampled. Based on these few items, the food at this truck would place in the middle of the taco truck bell curve. Since this is a new truck, expect things to continue to get better over time. Buenas Suerte Taqueria El Buen Sazon.

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Taqueria Los Primos

taco trucks near ohio state

233 W 5th Avenue
Corner of 5th and Forsythe, Victorian Village
Monday-Saturday 11am-9.30pm (or later)

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We were sad when the owners of Taqueria Davanne returned to Mexico but it wasn’t long before their truck was reincarnated to become Los Primos. The truck is still parked outside Las Maravillas Mexican Market and you can go into the store to buy drinks or do some shopping while you wait for your food.

The truck offers most of the taco truck staples – tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas but no sopes or gorditas. Taco meat options are steak, chicken al pastor, chorizo and cecina (marinated beef). In addition to the standard fare they also offer enchiladas and restaurant style plates with either steak, milanesa (breaded steak) or cecina.

taco trucks in victorian village, short north taco trucks

We ordered tacos with cecina, chorizo and al pastor and all were solid but the pale green salsa (we weren’t offered a choice) was a little disappointing.

taco trucks near downtown columbus

When we visited they were also offering tostadas de ceviche and tamales as specials. The ceviche had nice chunks of fish and some heat. You may want to add some extra lime and hot sauce. It was thoughtfully packed to go with the tostada separate so it didn’t get soggy. The tamale (green with chicken) was small and suffered from having been overly nuked.

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Tres Reyes

taco trucks columbus

421 Georgesville Rd  (Near railroad tracks and U Haul location)
Open every day 9.30am-10.30pm or later.

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Taqueria Tres Reyes is the latest incarnation of the truck formerly known as Super Torta II. The owners of Super Torta decided to focus on their restaurant (Super Torta on Georgesville) and sold the truck to a cousin (also from Oaxaca). The name means three kings because there are three joint owners. We guess they all wanted to be the boss!

taco truck menu

The menu is similar although they are not offering Tlayudas. We had a carnitas torta which was good and a couple of tacos. The lengua was very tender. The tortas are a little different to other trucks. They do not use any lettuce, they use black beans instead of pinto beans and they use Oaxacan string cheese. The torta Oaxaca and milanesa were recommended by other customers. The truck only opened last week so we expect the menu may develop over time but the offerings so far are solid.

tres reyes taqueria  columbus

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Taqueria El Fogoncito

al pastor tacos gringas columbus

El Fogoncito
(near) 2733 Morse Road
(west of the intersection of Morse Road and Westerville Road)
614.900.4784
Hours: Closed Mondays 11am-11pm Other days.

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Good new al pastor fans, the brother of Los Guachos’ owner has opened his own taco truck on the North-East side of town. El Fogoncito is offering Mexico City style al pastor and a menu similar to Los Guachos. The truck had its grand opening this weekend and was already doing a brisk business on its first weekend. We’ll post better photos soon, but in the mean time we wanted to share it with you as soon as possible.

al pastor, taco trucks in columbus

Fogoncito, translated, means ‘little stove’, but there’s nothing diminutive about the truck. It’s palatial – bigger and shinier than even Los Guachos with a little more seating and an impressive kitchen. El Fogoncito is also the name of the restaurant in Mexico City that claims to be the inventor of the gringa. For those who have not visted Los Guachos, a gringa is a soft flour tortilla with caramelized cheese, your choice of meat (most commonly al pastor), onion and cilantro.

taco trucks columbus

El Fogoncito offers gringas, tacos, tortas and carnequeso which is a corn tortilla taco with cheese. Like Los Guachos they also offer 2 for 1 tacos on Tuesdays. Meat options are spit-roasted al pastor (marinated pork), asada (steak), suadero (rose beef), chicken and tripe. Gringas come in ‘single’ or ‘double’. Campechanas is also offered which means a mix of two meats. El Fogoncito also has some specialty plates including alambres and chupa cabras – steak, al pastor, cheese, onions, pineapple, mushrooms, cactus and grilled jalapenos.

gringas, tacos

Salsas and condiments are also similar to Los Guachos with a mild avocado cilantro sauce, a smoky chili de arbol salsa and bowls of onion and habanero relish.

If you love Los Guachos is safe to say that we think you’ll love El Fogoncito too.

El Fogoncito offers 2 for 1 al pastor and chicken tacos on Tuesdays.

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Merendero Catracho

honduran food truck columbus ohio Merendero Catracho
Honduran food truck
3868 Sullivant Ave
614.207.6340
Friday-Sunday 11am-10pm

2011 update: The truck formerly known as Las Catrachas is back with a new truck and a new name, but it’s the same delicious Honduran food cooked by the lovely Isolina with help from her daughter Angela. If you are curious about the new name Merendero is an outdoor kiosk and catracho means Honduran. We were excited to see them open again. New on the menu this year are pastelitos (empanada like pastries) made either with flour or cornmeal. Here’s the menu:

merendero catracho

and here’s evidence that the food is just as good as always: the tajadas con pollo with guineo (fried chicken with green bananas, cabbage and picked onions)

fried chicken green bananas, honduran food ohio

For more information about the food – our 2010 post is below.

3868 Sullivant Ave (parking lot of Country Food Store)(Verified August 2010).
Open 11am – 10pm, Fri-Sun
614.778.7416

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Note: Due to the ‘crossover’ nature of this particular food find (it’s a mobile food vendor – which is typically taco truck territory – but they’re selling some offerings that are entirely unlike anything we’ve covered yet on TTC), we are posting this write-up both here and on alt.eats.columbus.

We’re often asked just exactly why we do what we do here on this blog – it looks like a lot of work (partly true) and doesn’t pay (entirely true), so what gives?  Our list of possible responses usually includes some or all of the following:

• We want people to be aware of the diversity of offerings in Columbus
• We enjoy learning about new cuisines and sharing our findings with others
• We like how the blog provides us with the motivation to expand our horizons and try new foods for ourselves
• We derive pleasure from the idea that our recommendations may help small business owners who have excellent (though perhaps unfamiliar) products to achieve much deserved success.

To this list, we have to add a new item:

• Pure unadulterated selfishness.  Put simply, we want to be able to return to places like Las Catrachas again and again.  Your patronage is requested for the purpose of keeping this new truck afloat through its infancy, thereby guaranteeing our continued, unfettered access.  So please, go to Las Catrachas.

Deal?

Alright… so this isn’t your first rodeo, and I’m guessing you wanna know what’s in it for you before you sign on. Fair enough. To start, there’s Las Catracha’s Honduran interpretation of a pupusa:

Made to order, these brilliantly fresh cornmeal patties pleased like none we’ve had before, and were filled with a delicious mix of refried beans, mildly spiced chicken, and cheese.  The curtido (cabbage slaw) was bright and refreshing, and the thin red sauce had deep savory undertones with just a hint of spicy heat.

The baleada, a traditional Honduran snack, was similarly satisfying.  While very similar to a taco in form and concept, this dish distinguishes itself with a light, thick, soft cornmeal shell containing your choice of cheese & refried beans, scrambled eggs, or carnitas & beans.  We opted for the carnitas, and couldn’t have been happier.  As with the pupusa, each bite exudes an ineffable freshness.

As we were contentedly munching on the above, the main attraction came out. Here’s where things get wonderfully weird:

This hot mess of a dish is called tajadas de guineo verde con pollo, or, in English, ‘french fried green bananas with chicken’. All of this was topped with pickled onions, cabbage, a sauce similar to the pupusa’s side sauce, and a rich, creamy dairy-based sauce.

Upon tasting, revelations abounded… and since we’re making lists today:

• The crispy french fried green bananas are way better than they might sound, don’t particularly taste strongly of banana, and were excellent when bathed in the mix of sauces that accumulated at the bottom of the plate.

•The chicken is fried, and very skillfully fried at that.  The included leg/thigh piece we sampled was, by itself, easily the best piece of fried chicken I’ve had in Columbus. A bold claim, perhaps, but I’m betting you’ll agree.

•This chicken was even better when smothered in the creamy sauce… I think I detected a hint of buttermilk in there.  Niiice.

•The whole strange motley mish mash of a plate adds up to one hell of a counterintuitively cohesive and spectacularly satisfying dish.

In fact, I’d wager that this dish has just the combination of oddball, inspired, and sublime that cult followings are made of.

Finally, we tried the pastelitos de carne molida – essentially a ground beef & potato empanada topped with cabbage, tomatoes, and pickled onions.  While carne molida translates roughly as ‘ground meat’, the meat in the pastelito seemed more like finely cubed beef.  No problems there, though, as the pastelito was fried to a pleasing crispness, the carne/potato mix had a nice flavorful spiciness, and the whole package struck us as resembling an endearing Central American interpretation of an Indian samosa.

Overall, our experience at Las Catrachas led all three of us to be infected with the kind of giddiness the food-obsessed get when challenged by the unfamiliar (who knew Hondurans ate fried chicken?  Who would’ve thought to put it on a plate of banana fries and cover it with all sorts of stuff?!) and made utterly content by it.

Ready to sign on?

Please be aware that La Catrachas is only open from Friday through Sunday (though they suggested they might be open for Memorial Day Monday and perhaps some other holidays.)  Vegetarians might find some happiness if they’re inclined to be lenient with some of the minor ingredients in the beans and cornmeal preparations – we can’t confirm the use of lard, but the likelihood is there. The staff is very friendly, and happy to work through any language difficulties.

Just for kicks, a look at the tajadas de platanos verde con pollo (which we intend to try next time):

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El Nopal

sullivant avenue columbus, west side taco trucks

El Nopal
3528 Sullivant Avenue
Open 11am-10pm daily except Wednesday

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We’ve been taco trucking enough that we can recognize ‘recycled’ trucks, even when they’ve been repainted. El Nopal is the formerly pink Mi Chula, a much missed Mexican seafood kitchen. As an added curiosity, the menu board is from the old Otro Rollo truck, which was briefly known as El Milagro. I doubt this will be the last we’ll see of it.

Given the heritage of the menu board it’s not too surprising that it doesn’t relate terribly closely to what is on offer (or at least what was on offer during our visit). The pictures on the other side of the truck seemed the truer guide: tacos, huaraches, tortas and hamburguesas as well as (pictured below) sopes and gorditas. Burritos and quesadillas are likely as well.

taco trucks columbus

The meat options were limited on our visit (chicken, steak, lengua, pork), but they do have a small al pastor spit that we’re told will be used on weekends.

The truck resides in the parking lot of its parent restaurant of the same name.

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