Tag Archives: Taco Trucks Columbus

Taqueria Los Tolucos


755 Stelzer Rd.
10am-10pm Sunday-Thursday and 10am-12am on Friday and Saturday

Click here to to map it!

Fresh from its stint on the west side, Los Tolucos has been reopened by new owners at a location close to the airport. To be frank, they didn’t seem to be off to the most promising of starts. Service was slow and disinterested, and the food was mediocre on average.

There were a few bright spots, though: the cabeza tacos were above the bar, and the grilled onions and pepper made for a nice addition to the tacos.

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Junior’s Tacos

Junior’s is now back on 5th avenue near the corner of 5th and Highland (Dairy Family convenience store lot) and they appear to have settled down in that location.

Open Mon-Thur 10am-11pm, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10 am-11pm, Closed Wednesday

614.743.7603

Click here to map it!

The truck is a new venture for Carlos the friendly and voluble owner.

For the time being, Carlos is providing Victorian Village with a menu of taco truck standards – tacos, burritos, tortas, and the like – as well as a few American options such as hot dogs and bratwurst.

Juniors menus

We’ve not yet had the opportunity to taste Junior’s Taco’s non-taco wares, so our experience is limited to a plate of tacos with four different meats.  We enjoyed the carne asada and the chorizo tacos.  Chicken – eh, not so much.  It’s hard to judge much of anything from a single sampling, but our first overall impression was: ‘somewhere mid-pack’.

Juniors taco plate

That may well change.  Carlos’s operation is all of a month old, and he was at pains to emphasize how he’s still working the bugs out.  He also spoke of ambitious plans, so we’ll be keeping track of him and keeping you up-to-date on his location and progress. Carlos is keen to cater to his customers and is more accommodating than most taco trucks of special orders. He has been experimenting with some vegetarian dishes and we hear that the vegetarian fajita burrito is worth trying.

We went back to Junior’s on July 7th enticed by the promise of tamales. Carlos did not disappoint and there were tamales all-round. They were a big hit with our group and we hope that they will soon be a regular menu item. At $1.25 each you can afford to eat a few, which is just what you will want to do.

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El Manantial Latino

exotic

or 14-0 Express on Hudson between Indianola and Summit.

As of September 2012, 24 hrs per day 7 days a week (mostly)

614.515.3929

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Colombia represents!  El Manantial Latino is our second truck with food (and owners) from that part of the world in as many days, and we’ve found that they make a compelling case for occasionally straying from the city’s many mobile Mexican offerings.

Upon ordering, we were heartened to see the cook hand-forming our empanadas from scratch.  ‘Fresh’ is the word here, and we were told that they hoped to reflect that attribute in their name (Manantial means ‘waterfall’).

The empanadas were crispy and, for having just emerged from the fryer, remarkably light and not too oily.  We tried the beef and cheese options, and while both fillings were pleasing enough, neither had quite the satisfying complexity of flavors found in the empanadas from 8th Taste.  Perhaps the taste bud abuse I endured from the screaming hot green sauce that Manantial’s empanadas are served with contributed to that impression?

Go ahead, call me a wimp, I can take it.

(Edit – my Manantial dining partner chimes in, emailing: “The sauce wasn’t that hot, I ate all of it while you weren’t looking!” What evah. )

The arepas (above), also formed and cooked as we watched, were even more popular – I suspect that’s at least partly because they hit TTC’s collective soft spot for carmelized cheese.  Served with an especially appealing style of chorizo slices, our order disappeared quickly.

Satisfying though the above were, we can’t help but feel as though we missed out – El Manantial offers a wide range of rotating special items that, if we understood correctly, are only served on Saturday and Sunday.  Luckily, they send out email updates to provide customers with the latest info.  Personally, I’m keeping an eye out for the next appearance of their Colombian tamales.

If you’d like them to add you to their list you can email them at:

elmanantiallatino (at) hotmail (dot) com. They also have a facebook page.

A parting thought – one of the true pleasures of taco truckin’ is the opportunity to, unlike in most restaurants, routinely interact with the people who own the establishment and prepare your food.  Occasionally the language barrier may pose some difficulties to the spanish deficient, but respect for the customers and pride in the food are easily communicated even without words.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that El Manantial Latino’s kind operators exemplify these qualities in spades

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The 8th Taste

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840 Hudson Ave (East of I 71) corner of Hudson and Azelda
Hours: ?
614.592.3123
Colombian
(Formerly by the airport on Steltzer)

Click here to map it!

The 8th Taste is owned by  a Colombian couple who have lived in Columbus for 8 + years.. They do serve tacos but the food offered is a mixture of Colombian dishes and western targeted items.

8taste_menu

I wouldn’t go out of my way for the tacos which are a choice of beef or chicken and served in a platter and (to us at least) American style.

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However, I would go a long way for some of their empanadas. These were filled with a tasty mix of chicken, potato and vegetables and were reminiscent of an Indian samosa. Straight from the fryer, they were hot and crispy and irresistible.

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Also popular with our tasting team were the arepas. I hadn’t had them anywhere else in Columbus other than El Arepazo the popular downtown Venezuelan restaurant. We ordered two, a cheese and a beef arepa and opinions varied as to the favorite. Both were good with the hot sauce, which looked a lot more lethal than it actually was.

arepas

Drinks wise the truck has a range of pepsi products and Jarritos mexican sodas. Located at a busy street 8th Taste isn’t the kind of truck you linger at while you enjoy your food. Definitely more suited to take out or eat and run.

Thanks to Joe A for the tip off about this taco truck.

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Taqueria Little Mexico (closed – sold to new owners)

3900 Sullivant Ave (in front of Ohio Thrift)

Open 10am – 9pm (sometimes close earlier)

Click here to map it!

From Michocan

Taqueria Little Mexico is reputed to be Columbus’s first taco truck and it therefore seemed an appropriate choice as the starting point for our first taco truck tour. Little Mexico is a well established truck with a standard offering, they specialize in the basics and execute them very well.  The owners are friendly and the food is extremely good value.

Our favorite items include the gorditas which are among the best in Columbus (we usually get carne asada) and the melon agua fresca, which was a big hit on the tour. They also have good horchata and a good selection of meats.

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Here the owner shows off his homemade gordita shells.

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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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Taco Truck Tour, April 25th

We’ve encountered gargantuan Tlayudas, succulent Pollo Al Carbon, and the delicious and unique flavors of parts of animals we never knew existed. Cincinnati looks upon these offerings with envy, while Cleveland says, “yeah, we’ll take some of that.” and Japan – well, we have no idea what they actually think of it all (our Japanese is a bit rusty…) but we seem to have caught their attention for some reason or another…

In short, we’ve come to believe that Columbus has something special in it’s taco truck offering, and this is an offering we’d like to share with you – so it is with much enthusiasm (and a little sense of trepidation) we announce our first taco tour.

We intend for this to be an informal event.  The tacotruckscolumbus team Hungry Woolf, Taco Drew and CMH Gourmand will of course be on hand for suggestions and with a basic itinerary in mind, but our main goal is to land a group of interested folks in an ideal location that allows for easy access to the west side’s taco truck offerings (an east side tour is in the works).

We encourage anyone with interest to meet us on April 25th, 1:30pm at the Ohio Thrift parking lot near the Taqueria Little Mexico truck.  This truck’s offerings will provide an excellent overview of the basics of taco truck cuisine, and the more than ample parking lot should allow for carpooling to subsequent trucks if so desired. 

You will be free to go at your own pace, deviate off the route and to join us for as long (or short) as you would like. There are plenty more trucks in the area for those who can’t get enough or don’t want to wait in line. Save some room for some of Lydia’s excellent Postino style Pollo Carbon at the final stop, or take some home with you. We envisage the ‘full’ tour taking up to 4 hours. 

It would be great for us to have an idea of numbers so we can forewarn the trucks owners.
If you have questions, please post them in the comments section, in case someone else has the same question.

Link to printable full size flyer

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