Monday, June 29, 2009

Taco Crawl in Fruitvale



For several years now I'd been hearing about the taco trucks of Fruitvale, a section of Oakland known for having a large Latino population. After reading endless reports on Yelp, Chowhound and an article in the East Bay Express by John Birdsall, I was ready to hit the road, or rather, International Boulevard, where there's a high concentration of taco trucks. I didn't spend a month investigating like Birdsall did (thanks John!) but I did put together a hit list, based on recommendations and testimonials. A word about pricing, you'll spend more on bridge toll than you will at most spots along the corridor. Tacos ranged in price from $1 to $1.25 and the agua fresca I ordered was $1.

First stop was the Sinaloa complex, located in a parking lot at 2138 International Blvd. You can't miss this stop and frankly, it's one of the best. Here there are two trucks to visit--one has the standard kinds of tacos, while the other is devoted to seafood. The fish taco was good, but the shrimp tostada was outstanding. A crisp tortilla was topped not just with sweet, plump and juicy shrimp, but also chunks of cucumber, tomato, onion, slivers of avocado and fresh cilantro. Not to be missed!

Across the parking lot, my partner in crime and I tried both the lengua or tongue taco and the chorizo taco. Both were very good. The chorizo has subtle sweet and sweet spicing and was not greasy. I skipped the champurrado, a type of Mexican hot chocolate but did have a very refreshing and not too sweet agua fresca made with fresh strawberries.

Next stop was not really a taco truck at all but a little storefront called Taqueria El Rebozo Blanco at 3215 International Blvd. While I never saw a menu, I knew to order the tacos dorados, the true Mexican version of the crispy taco. While a mashed potato filling is traditional, we had chicken tacos and they were very flavorful, made with delicate dark meat and topped with the traditional cheeses, crema, shredded iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. If you love crispy tacos, you will be very satisfied here.

The final stop is a little tricky to find, because it's located in the parking lot behind La Parilla Grill, at 2900 International Blvd. At Tacos El Paisa the speciality is tacos al pastor, which was very juicy, and mildly spicy, and a bit on the salty side. The tongue taco was very fresh tasting as well. Though on the downside there really is no seating in the parking lot. El Paisa definitely had the most "colorful" customers, but the service was friendly and as an added bonus, the Mexican version of an ice cream truck, a bicycle vendor with paletas or popsicles made his rounds, stopping off to get a taco as well as sell ice cream treats.


View Taco Trucks of Fruitvale in a larger map

See photos from this adventure or check out the map.

If you have any favorite taco trucks in in Fruitvale, please let me know so I can check them out on my next taco crawl.