Finally, I’ve managed to catch up with the roving band of trucks serving up all sorts of delicious things around the city. And I do mean around the city– rarely do they venture outside the confines of Clifton, Over-the-Rhine or the Central Business District. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve discovered Cafe de Wheels outside of Mica 12/v… right after I’ve eaten. Or they’ve ran out of food. Or, they’re just too far away. Yesterday, I saw this tweet from @SenorRoys:
Kenwood? That’s close to me. Do I have a lunch meeting? Nope! So I got in the car and drove down to Kenwood to catch up with the Taco Patrol. The thing that’s tricky about these trucks is they essentially have to be invited someplace, or else they get kicked out, which can make them a bit hard to find. First they were in Barnes and Noble’s parking lot, then they moved to the corner of Kenwood and Montgomery, then finally– when I’d nearly given up– they were in a parking lot across from St. Vivian’s.
I’ve read some other reviews of this place, and they’ve ranged from adoring to disappointed. I tried not to get too excited– fearing the worst– but came out with what I would consider a satisfactory lunch experience, and much improved from either Gavin’s or Liz’s experiences.
The menu is essentially a Chipotle on wheels. They have some interesting toppings for your tacos or burritos– pickled onions, cotija and chihuahua cheese come to mind– but if you’ve had Chipotle, this is very similar, but local and on wheels. I am not sure if they do any local or organic sourcing.
The process: you start on one end of the cart, and choose your poison: burrito, tacos, salad, and a couple of other choices. I chose the Lunch Special– 3 tacos (which I had no intention of finishing, but wanted to try all three meats), chips, salsa and a drink for $7.95. Initially, they asked if I wanted beans and rice, which I assumed to be on the side. When they started filling the tortillas with it, I stopped them and said that I assumed it would be on the side. They happily took out the rice. I chose corn tortillas, and one each of the meats: steak, chicken, and al pastor– pork cooked in a pineapple sauce. When you pay, you get to choose the toppings– for mine, I chose cotija cheese (a crumbly, salty Mexican cheese, not unlike feta), cilantro and some pickled red onions. I took the chips and salsa too– tomatillo salsa was my choice. For $8, this was a veritable ton of food– there was no way I could finish it, but I could, at least, take a few bites in the interest of the readers, right? Sure.
My favorite, by a landslide, was the al pastor taco. It was nicely seasoned, spicy and a little sweet, with some nice chunks of pineapple along with the pork. It was topped with a spicy-sweet red sauce. It combined well with my toppings of cotija, cilantro and red onion. Authentic? Maybe not. Delicious? Absolutely. I can’t say the same of the steak tacos, which I found dry and somewhat flavorless. The chicken came out in the middle– it was moist, almost dripping, but not as well seasoned as I’d liked. In the future, I’ll stick with the al pastor tacos and skip the rest.