Tag Archives: los guachos

Taco Tour Spring 2010

It’s been a year since the first taco tour, and we’ve been amazed at how much interest the project has had, with TV appearances, newspaper articles and radio shows featuring on the trucks. The project is also evolving and we are becoming increasingly involved with liaison and advocacy issues, but what it’s still fundamentally about, for us, is introducing new people to the taco trucks. There is nothing as gratifying as watching someone try a taco truck for the first time and hearing them say “Wow, this is really good”. There is also lots of fun to be had for taco truck veterans, as so many of the trucks have interesting specialities, and there are new trucks popping up all the time. We have visited three new trucks in the last week.

We estimate that around 200 people came on the tour, including at least 50 on two wheels, and while the threat of rain may have kept some people away, we were really lucky and the rain held off right until the end. We were really pleased to have such a diverse group on the tour and so many people from the west side. The group including representatives from the Hilltop Business Association, Westgate Neighbors Association, The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, families, hard core cyclists and food enthusiasts. Ages ranged from infants to retirees.  As the Gourmand says, Food has great power to bring people together.

We think the taco trucks are a great asset for the city and love the diversity and color that they add to Columbus’s dining scene. We’re glad that lots of people seem to agree with us. The taco trucks are an obvious draw in bringing people to the west side and we wish that the city of Columbus and particularly the west side showed more pride in their vibrant street food scene.

We raised $150 for the Center for Latin Hope, a small non-profit based on Sullivant Avenue which offers educational and health programs for the latino community. We have heard wonderful things about their work and were pleased to be able to support them. Thank you to everyone who donated.

If you missed this tour and would like to have your own tour of the west side trucks, here is a copy of the map and guide. There will also be a feature in Alive this thursday featuring six trucks from around the whole city. There’s a sneak preview here and we had a lot of fun with G.A. Benton and the rest of his crew. We are also planning a taco truck meet up for Cinco de Mayo at Taco Nazo. More details to come.

Click image for full size map

If you enjoy eating at taco trucks you might also enjoy reading our new blog alt.eats.columbus, where we visit off-the-beaten-track restaurants and explore Somali, Jamaican, Salvadorean, Middle Eastern and Asian food, as well as some of the more authentic Mexican restaurants.

Special thanks to Ray from Columbus Rides for organizing the bike ride part of the event;  to Hal and Al’s bar on Parsons Avenue for hosting a Mexican beer themed after party and of course to the wonderful truck owners for their warm welcome. Thanks also to everyone who came on the tour, and for all the kind comments on twitter and facebook. You can friend or follow us on either for news of events and updates of new trucks, specials or changes in truck locations. We also love to get news of new truck spottings.

Here are some more photos from the event. It’s a flickr group, so if you have more photos please feel free to add them.

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Los Guachos

461 Commerce Sq. (just off Sullivant, in the Club La Boom parking lot).

614.638.8806

Open Tuesday – Sunday, 4pm – 12am (open till 2am or later on Fri/Sat)

Click here to map it!

OK, four words: spit roasted al pastor.  While Los Guachos has an abbreviated assortment of other meats (lengua, asada, tripa) there was no doubt that the al pastor is what brings the people in.  And bring ’em in it did – I don’t think we’ve ever seen any truck as crowded as this one (save, perhaps, for during the Taco Truck Tour…)

spit_roasted_al_pastor

As the operation at Los Gauchos is easily the most open to view of any truck we’ve been to, the experience starts with observing the lynchpin of the operation – the ‘guacho’* manning the spit.  With one long slicing motion, he separates a generous pile of al pastor from the spit which drops into a tortilla in his left hand.  With a deft flick of the wrist, a thin slice of pineapple is separated from it’s place atop the spit and is caught atop the freshly sliced meat.  A dash of cilantro, and a sprinkling of diced onion, and you now have the Los Guachos specialty – the al pastor taco.  Our man at the carving station knocked out plates of 5 and 10 of these tacos all evening long – and crowded though they were, orders were dispatched with ease.

There’s something about this layout – the open truck, the groups of people sitting on the hoods of their cars and contentedly munching on tacos, that glorious rotating mass of glistening meat on display(!) – that lends a pleasant, ‘evening at a barbecue’ vibe to the occasion.   Inevitably, though, it also raises expectations.

asada_tacos

So, yeah, how were the tacos?  Well… our reactions ranged from wonderful, fantastic, delicious, words fail me, to pinch-me-I’m-dreaming good.  As far as we’re concerned, this is now THE place for al pastor.  Between four of us we ate 20+ tacos, and these things aren’t small.  We were all plotting our return as soon as we had taken the first bite.

Los Guachos also serves tortas, quesadillas, and gringas. The gringas are definitely a highlight too – similar to a quesadilla – a toasted flour tortilla covered in a thin layer of grilled and caramelized cheese with the meat of your choice (go with the al pastor again), onion and cilantro.

gringa

Los Guachos also scores high on the condiments. Unlike most other trucks they have large bowls out so that you can serve yourself with cucumber, radishes and two different pickles (one jalapenos and carrot, the other onion and red chili). They also have bottles of red (fairly hot and slightly sweet) and green (mild, refreshing, cilantro based) sauces.

To sign up for a Taco Truck Food Tour that includes a visit to Los Guachos, click here.

*’Guacho’, we are told, is a slang word used by Mexicans in the north of the country to describe southerners.

A special thanks goes out to Graciela, the commenter who first mentioned Los Guachos to us.

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