Columbus Food Adventures’ Taco Truck Tour

{by: alexis & alicia} We market ourselves as a Columbus lifestyle blog, but between us and you, loyal readers, we have a focus on eating. You may have noticed that Alicia and I will research restaurants, wait in line, and travel to all ends of the Earth for that next great meal. But we’re lucky because honestly, we don’t have to go that far. A few weeks ago, Columbus Food Adventures asked us to attend their taco truck tour and, after several frenzied rounds of “OMG TACOS” via gchat, we happily accepted and picked a date.

columbus food adventures wander and whine

Alicia was far more excited than she looks. Also, check out her donut sweater!

For the record, I was being instructed to do “my best Jordan Catalano lean” and only succeeded in duplicating his indifference–and even that didn’t last very long. I don’t think Jordan ever squee’d at a plate of crispy pork. He probably brooded in a corner, and closed his eyes like it hurt to look at it. Whoops, sorry. Just as Jordan Catalano is great at leaning, I’m great at going off on tangents. BACK TO THE FOOD.

We showed up on time and and ready to eat everything in sight. Now, kids, if you check out the Columbus Food Adventures website, you’re going to get some important details, but you’re not going to get the route. We’re going to follow their lead and share you with our dishes, but not necessarily the stops on the tour. We can’t give away all their secrets! And we wouldn’t want to deprive you of the expertise and camaraderie of the tour guide, Andy Dehus, either!

After piling into the van, Andy whisked us away to stop number one (there were five plus a bonus stop).

We started with a classic taco truck, prepared by a Latino chef for a Latino audience, as was described by Andy. These trucks aren’t trucks in the sense that you can’t drive them all around, like many of the taco trucks you’re familiar with. They’re stationary. Each truck has a specific regional focus, which allows for a bajillion of them to exist in a small area.

taco truck See those sauces lined up in a row? This was a common theme to the trucks we visited–multiple sauces ranging from mild to spicy. Alexis and I are are huge fans of avocado, so we made a beeline for the avo sauce all day despite its lack of heat.

The typical tacos served here are smaller, and made using corn tortillas instead of flour. The first taco we had was filled with chorizo, which, as I stated in another post, is not really my bag. But THIS chorizo. Here. Look!

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The chorizo was removed from its casing and grilled up for us. The accompanying radishes and cucumbers were perfect ways to test the various spicy sauces. Here, we started what became of chorus of “YEP”s, and “UH-HUH”s we yelled through full mouths. HOLY CHORIZO.

Our next stop was at a more locally well-known truck nearby. You may be familiar with Los Guachos brick-and-mortar space in Columbus or Gahanna. Andy ordered us all a gringa, which is now a word that causes conversations at W&W headquarters to devolve into a series of nonsensical yelling and near-fainting. It is that good. A gringa is a flour tortilla with caramelized cheese, a few veggies, and al pastor, which is a pork layered together on a vertical grill and sliced off for serving. BEHOLD THE GRINGA.

gringaI’m having trouble even writing right now with this picture in my eye-line. It was so cheesy, the pork was so flavorful, we both lean toward choosing this as our favorite of the whole tour.

What’s crazy is the combination of flavors that made this dish really sing, like, what do you mean there was pineapple in there? There were also garnishes that took these to another level. See the bowl in the bottom righthand of the next photo? That contained habaneros and onions in soy sauce. We piled this wondrous concoction on top of our gringas and doused them with sauces. The result was an explosion of flavors and spice that made us audibly gasp. 

IMG_2135It was hard to leave the prospect of more gringas behind, but we had more food to eat. Our next truck focused on Oaxacan cuisine, and Andy ordered us all a tlayuda. Well, that’s not exactly true; each tlayuda is ENORMOUS, so we split one amongst four tour-goers, and still had more than enough to eat. This tour won’t allow you to go hungry.

tlayudaIt’s a bit like a pizza, actually. On the bottom you’ll see the tortilla with a spread of black beans which is then covered with lettuce, tomato, avocado, chorizo, and another delicious slice of meat. Eating this one was a bit of a challenge as the tortilla didn’t cut especially well with the plastic fork, but Alicia and I were more than happy to take matters into our own hands and use our teeth like the daintiest of cavemen.

Meanwhile, we got to sip some horchata, which is a sweetened rice milk drink. This was a delightful companion to the spicy tlayuda. While everyone was finishing up, Andy brought around another plate of beef tongue for us to try. He assured us it was excellent as a taco filling, so we didn’t shy away.

Alexis is kind to say that, because I most certainly shied away at first. But, seeing this was a food adventure and all, I plucked up a little courage and was so glad I did. Everything we ate was delicious, and the tongue wasn’t an exception.

beef tongue tacoIf it doesn’t look quite full, it’s because Andy was offering samples to the whole tour. You’ll get more than this!

I went first. Believe it or not, this is my DELICIOUS GIVE ME MORE face.

IMG_20140921_191617Alicia was spurred on by my expression and went for it, too.

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You can actually see my reluctance here.

But after all, we both agree: TONGUE IS DELICIOUS. My only exposure to tongue is my father’s cautionary tale of ordering a tongue sandwich on a European flight. (What person orders tongue on an airplane? Oh, my dad does!) This was tender and flavorful, and the texture was just like any other, non-frightening meat part. Don’t be scared of the tongue, you guys! And here’s a spin on a familiar motto: LISTEN TO YOUR TOUR GUIDE.

Next we moved onto what Andy described as an old faithful taco truck. We were each served an individual gordita, and it’s about a jillion times more delicious than Taco Bell’s version — even I didn’t think that was possible! This time, carnitas were served in a soft pocket of corn cake. It’s griddle-fried, so parts are crispy. It was so good we, um, forgot to take a picture. Here! Feast your eyes upon my half-devoured gordita!

Plus, the avocado sauce here was actually spicy! Bonus points all around!

gorditaSorry about that, readers, we got a little over-excited.

And with good reason! This was our second favorite item of the day (nothing could top gringas). What’s funny is before we received our gorditas, we didn’t think we could possibly eat another bite. Hilarious joke. We inhaled these. Then we had a whispered conversation about whether or not it was bad form to order another one. We decided it was seeing that there was one more stop to be had.

Our fifth stop was for dessert, an icier version of ice cream called nieves (which means snow in Spanish). Andy checked out what flavors were available and recommended the nuez (nut). Seeing that all of his suggestions were on point, we had to listen to him.

These teeny cones were like a revelation: At first bite we thought, oh, sure, is good! And then with each bite our eyes got wider and our commentary grew from quiet “yum-o’s” (sorry this is how we actually talk), to all-caps-worthy yelling.

This was such a refreshing (and delicious) way to end the tour.

IMG_2150Well, at least the eating part of the tour. Right around the corner was a Mexican grocery store called La Plaza Tapatia. This place was a treasure trove of freshly baked goods, a meat department, vats of peppers, an entire CANDY ROOM, and many more amazing things. Seeing that this was a popular spot, Andy took us around the perimeter of the store, pointed a few things out, and gave us 15 minutes to run amok.

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The entire experience was four hours, and it flew by in a blur of eating and discovering delicious things we wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Alexis and I wholeheartedly endorse Columbus Food Adventures, and if tacos aren’t your thing, there are many other types of tours available here. You can even buy tickets as a gift (I’m winking really hard at all of you).

(I’m hoping that note means Alicia is buying me tickets for Christmas.) I can’t say enough good things about our experience. You don’t just get bussed from one delicious, ridiculous snack to the next, you get a bit of history at each site. I mean, that’s why they call it a tour, dopes. I’m flattered that you’re still reading this, all fifteen hundred words, but how bout you stop, and go buy your own tickets. You won’t regret it.

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3 thoughts on “Columbus Food Adventures’ Taco Truck Tour

  1. Pingback: Sunday Brunch at Ethyl & Tank | Wander & Whine

  2. Pingback: Condado Tacos | Wander & Whine

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