Author Archives: tacodrew

El Patacon

552 Norton Road (Sunoco station parking lot)
Open 10am – 9pm (starting August 2, 2010)

Click here to map it!

So lets say that an individual of Mexican origins came to the US and worked in the kitchen of a popular South American restaurant in town.  And lets say that this individual came to really like the food that she was making in this kitchen – the arepas, the patacon, the addictive cilantro sauce – and decided to try her hand at providing such menu items at a taco truck she just recently purchased.

That individual’s taco truck would probably be something like El Patacon, and its menu would be likely to look something like this:

Upon seeing this menu, we’d probably be pretty eager to try a few things… perhaps the pabellon criollo and the patacon.

We’d eagerly dig into the pabellon criollo (below). This dish, consisting of rice, beans, shredded beef, plantains, ‘arepitas‘, and lettuce & peppers as garnish, is generally considered to be the dish of Venezuela. A few squirts of the cilantro sauce later, and we’d comment on how a meal this delicious might justifiably be a cause for national pride.  The tender shredded beef, stewed in a piquant spice mix, plays well with the beans and adds character to the rice, we’d note, and probably sum it up as being a great dish… and a very filling one as well.

*sigh*…having reached the limit of our appetites, the patacon would have to wait for later… so we’d take it with us, and reheat it as a late night snack.  Three of us would try it, and three of us would enjoy it immensely – it may be one of those dishes, we’d think, that improves as it’s allowed to sit.  The patacon itself (a smashed whole banana) would maintain its texture but absorb some of the flavor from the beef.  As the beef would seem to be the same as that used for the pabellon criollo, this would be observed to be a big good thing.

In conclusion, we’d say that the west side just acquired a great new option for Colombian and Venezuelan cuisine, and we’d probably be discussing a return trip soon.

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Yumbambé and Taco Trucks Columbus at the Goodale Park Music Series

This Sunday, the Goodale Park Music Series reawakens from its brief mid-summer hiatus to present the latin-jazz vibe of Yumbambé.  Taco Trucks Columbus, as co-sponsors for this show, will be there too, and we’ll be providing tamales from Taqueria Davanne and Mexican sweets from Taco Nazo.

Now, just how much would you pay to be a part of this?  $250?  $125?  Whoa… hold on!!!

Alright. Are you sitting down?  (Arbitrarily) valued at $375, the Goodale Park Music Series and TTC are providing you with this one-of-a-kind experience for free!

The fun starts around noon (Yumbambe plays from 12:30-2:00), and if the spirit moves you, feel free to bring a street food inspired dish (or really anything) to share, potluck style.

We will have two tasty Taco Nazo cakes from Quicho and Betty owners of one of our favorite Taco Trucks!

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Columbus Food Adventures – Food Tours in Columbus, Ohio

I’m proud to introduce my latest endeavour: Columbus Food Adventures, a company specializing in food tours that highlight the best of the Columbus food scene.

And, with this being TacoTrucksColumbus and all, it goes without saying that great taco truck tours are part of the plan. Actually, in many respects, they’re no small part of my inspiration.

The Taco Trucks Columbus team has thrown quite a few free taco truck tours in the past year and a half – some for charity, some free, all for fun.  They’ve been great – we’ve thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to meet our readers and have been tremendously gratified by the positive responses from both participants and truck owners. In short, putting on these tours led to two important observations – people enjoy participating in ’em, and we enjoy throwing ’em.

Hmmmm… maybe there’s a business in that somewhere?

It felt like a crazy idea, but research suggested otherwise.  Culinary tourism is a growing trend, and food tour companies thrive in cities as small as Milwaukee and Raleigh-Durham.  I signed on for a couple of food tours offered in Chicago, and the takeaway was clear – I could do that.

I’m exceptionally proud of Columbus’s food community, and have put a lot of effort into exploring and chronicling it here, at alt.eats, and at hungrywoolf.  We’ve long believed that Columbus’s food scene is a story worth telling and tasting, and I’m excited to have a new platform for doing so.

If you’d like to take a look at our tours (taco trucks, alt.eats, and more), please see Columbus Food Adventure’s new website – columbusfoodadventures.com

Thanks,

Bethia Woolf (aka Hungrywoolf)
Owner and Operator, Columbus Food Adventures

P.S.: We are still entirely committed to maintaining Taco Trucks Columbus and all of our other blogs.  When a new truck pops up, this’ll still be the place to read about it!

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Pupuseria & Taqueria Usuluteca

987 E. Dublin-Granville Rd (Advance Auto Parts lot)
Open 7 days/wk, 11am-8pm(ish)

614.930.8219

Click here to map it!

Note: Pupuseria & Taqueria Usuluteca is back from beyond, and they’ve upgraded to a new, fully mobile truck.  As the owners, operators, and menu remain unchanged, the vast majority of what we originally wrote about them below still remains true (our taste test today verified it).  Probably the most noteworthy change is the inclusion of both loroco and chicken & cheese options for the pupusas.

Elida and family were eager to inform us that last year, after having posted their truck here initially, they was tickled by all of the people (some apparently coming from as far as Cleveland) who visited after having read about them ‘on the computer’.  If you’re in the mood for trying Salvadorean cuisine, stop by PTA and let Elida whip up some pupusas for you (always from scratch).

There seem to be a couple of set approaches that taco trucks take towards developing their menus – one is to provide as much variety as possible, and the other is to specialize in a small number of offerings done unusually well.  This, of course, is not to say that the ‘jack of all trades’ trucks necessarily provide lower quality items, but rather to observe that it is imperative that the ‘minimalists’ do everything they do to a high level.

Enter Pupuseria Y Taqueria Usuluteca.  With their scant three options: pupusas, tacos, and quesadillas, they epitomize the ‘do a few things and do ’em well’ approach.

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For example, the pupusas – hand made to order, these Salvadorian corn cakes are filled with beans and cheese, grilled till crisp on the outside and served with a side of the traditional cabbage salad (called curtido).  The initial crunch gave was to a soft, chewy inside, and the subtle flavor scored well with all who tried it.  The curtido was dressed with a vinegary, slightly spicy red sauce and paired nicely with the rest of the dish.

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The tacos were equally satisfying, and revealed several differences that may be reflective of the Salvadorian origins of the owners. Unlike almost every other taco we’ve tried, the ingredients were placed on a single (though seemingly thicker than usual) tortilla, and were topped with a freshly made chunky salsa instead of the usual onions and cilantro.  We tried them with asada and pastor, and found all kinds of taco contentment in each.

PTU’s operators are friendly and eager to please, give ’em a visit if you’re in the area.

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El Simoncito

5005 Chatterton Rd.
Open 10am – 10pm daily
614.449.8889

Click here to map it!

The employees at El Simoncito are men (and women) of few words:

“Do you have a menu?” (there wasn’t one posted.)

“No.”

“What do you serve?”

“Tacos.”

Oooo-kaaaay then.  Well, we ordered a couple of… (drum roll please)… tacos.

The tacos themselves – not bad, actually. The al pastor was nicely seasoned and the carne asada was, in every way shape and form, carne asada-ish. Salsas were good, with the nod going to the fiery green avocado/guac style.

We’d have liked to try more, but the ‘speaking’ barrier was a bit off-putting. Frustratingly, this didn’t seem to be a matter of an inability to communicate so much as the lack of will to try, and we say that having just enough Spanish under our belts to feel confident in knowing the difference.

El Simoncito, ladies and gentlemen: they have tacos.

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