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NYC TACO » Tacos

TOP 5 TACOS in NYC

…so far.

Here is our list:

5. Taco Box / 40 East 4th Street, 212-475-2220

4. Calexico / Green Point, BK

3. Snack Dragon / 199 East 3rd Street, 212-473-7257

2. Oxaca / Lower East side

1. The Taco Truck / 15th and 10th @ the highline

Have places we should try?  SEND US SUGGESTIONS by leaving a comment! We always want to be eating more tacos.

Taco Box ~ 4th and Bowery

Installed as a part of B-Bar, this cute little [literal] hole in the wall will definitely satisfy your taco cravings.  Similar prices to what we’ve seen around the city ($3 for 1) you get a generous amount of filling and garnishes without having to ask.  We loved the modest menu with only 6 tacos to choose from and a salad.  Our recommendation: the chorizo egg taco!

 

Bowery Taco Box is located on 358 Bowery @ E 4th

Photo by Emus

FONDA NOLITA ~ Elizabeth st.

Photo by Emus 2012

When we go out to eat, one of the factors that can play a make or break role is ambiance.  And at Fonda Nolita, ambiance is everything.  Tucked away in the LES, the warehouse space offers an authentic mexican beachside vibe, with high benches to enjoy your tacos on, beautiful outdoor lights strung from the ceilings, and colorful text scrolled across the walls.

You order from a cute girl in what looks like a little fruit stand, and then go wait for your tacos at the vintage VW bus (yes bus) where they are being made .  It’s cute, it’s kitchy, and it has a lot of character.  Prices are a little steep, and honestly the cost seems like it’s going towards the production value of the eatery, rather than the food it’s producing.  But it’s fun to try – or to take a first date.  We recommend the breakfast tacos!!

 

The Cost of Food Trucks

Since moving to New York and reviving NYCTACO,  the major question I’ve found myself asking is “Where the f–k are all the cheap tacos?!”  In a city with so much economic and cultural diversity, AND one of the best known places in the world to find amazing food from all over the globe, one would think they wouldn’t be incredibly hard to come by.  But, alas, they are.  Admittedly spoiled by all of the amazingly delicious, cheap tacos and food trucks I was taking for granted in Los Angeles, I am realizing the business of it all is an incredibly difficult one to sustain.

In LA the latest food trucks are certainly becoming more of a trendy, pop business venture rather than a means to support a life and consistent, reliable income like many of the originals.  But in NYC they remain the latter, and with all the economic hardships nearly impossible for any individual to overcome, I am beginning to recognize that keeping one afloat is no easy task.

NYC is an easy city to find yourself lost in the constant flux of expensive and snobby food culture, so how do food trucks stand out?  The prices of the food can’t be too low, because there is no profit to be made, thus cancelling out the business entirely.  But they also can’t be too high, at risk of being alienated from the “cheap-eats” category.  Also, the trendier they become the more expensive it will make them.

Is the business of sustaining a good, authentic, sanitary, cheap, profitable food truck a dream of the past?  This article says it’s not, but we can’t help but wonder…  How long before the trend dies?  And where does that leave the culture of the food truck?  Moreover, where does that leave our grumbling stomachs and shallow wallets?

 

Thoughts?  Leave us a comment.

 

 

 

Artwork courtesy of ClipArt.

Calexico ~ Madison Sq. Park

While jetting downtown yesterday, we ran SMACK into Madison Square Eats!  Not even knowing it existed, we wandered through the pop-up festival of fab foods OBVIOUSLY searching for the taco stand.  Thank God, we found it- Calexico, which also has a sit-down joint in Greenpoint and Red Hook, had just what we were looking for in their fancy little truck…

(Continued)

The Taco Truck ~ The Highline

Photo by Emus 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of The Taco Truck

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Highline is known throughout the city for being a great place to take a serene stroll while viewing some amazing street art.    Little did we know it’s also home to some of the greatest tacos we’ve tasted in NYC!  The Taco Truck offered amazingly authentic tacos at even more amazingly authentic prices (an order of 2 is $4.50).  We loved the Carnitas Michoacan and the Barbacoa de Costilla.  If you’re feeling really hungry, grab yourself a Tortas, too!  TTT has actual trucks in Newark, Jersey City, Boston, and a sit- down restaurant in Hoboken.

 

Have Taco recommendations for us?  Leave a comment or tweet @NYTACO

Choza Taqueria ~ Flatiron district

Why, yes! We do. (photo by Emus 2012)

Yum. (photo by Emus 2012)

Opening in 2010, Choza Taqueria got its start by offering its menu at beachside and roadside food stands in Northern Mexico.  Its authenticity makes it an unexpected stand-out in the Flatiron district.

And, even after being brought up on LA’s best, we chowed down on our first NYC taco and left feeling totally satisfied.

The food is fresh, employees friendly, and the prices are FANTASTIC!  It’s quick, cheap, and easy- exactly how we like it.

Choza Taqueria is located at 66 Madison Ave between 26th and 27th.

 

MXCO ~ Upper East Side, Manhattan

This is a sizzling report from our new correspondent, Tucson Girl:

Tucson Girl had a hankering for tacos, and while NYCTACO was MIA on the janky 6 train trapped under Manhattan, she indulged in the company of her good friend Phoenix Girl.

MXco is on Second Avenue and 78th St., and while few things can get Tucson Girl up to the Upper East Side, this was an exciting treaty treat. MXco (UES code for Mexico??) had rather awesome décor with a smorgasbord of beautiful Mexican tile and neat maraca chandeliers.

Though the Arizona Girls opted for the unimaginative though nationalistic choices of Blue Moon and Sierra Nevada, MXco had quite a spate of Mexican beers on draft.

The Girls ordered one Grilled Mahi Mahi Taco and one Achiote Pollo Taco ($9 for the pair), gorging themselves on yummy warm tortilla chips and also-yummy chipotle salsa. Two baskets of chips later, their tacos arrived with an adorable shot glass of ranchero salsa with fusion-y dollops of aioli and olive oil to color up the plate.

Tucson Girl’s chicken taco, though an alarming shade of red, was very good and not as spicy as anticipated, striking a balance between heat and sweetness with little chunks of pineapple. Not expecting pineapple in her taco, she was a little put off, especially since warm pineapple is kind of weird, amiright?

Phoenix Girl’s fish taco was light and delicious with a little bit of cabbage and caramelized red onions—Tucson Girl even had a bite, which she enjoyed, which is kind of a big deal to anyone that knows how repulsed she is by fish.

Once all the tacos and chips were gone, NYCTACO showed up hungry and guilty for having cabbed it uptown. Though he missed the tacos, he drowned his disappointment in a frozen margarita which made him happy again.

In all, MXco is worth a taco pit stop if you’re in the East 70s. A bit more expensive than the Arizona Girls are used to paying for Mexican food, but the beautiful atmosphere, football congeniality and good company made up for it in spades.

 

PINCHE TAQUERIA ~ Lafayette Street, Manhattan

NYC TACO escaped from a freezing January day and grabbed some tasty tacos at PINCHE TAQUERIA, with a very discerning taco guest: a young New Yorker who’s a former inhabitant of Tucson, Arizona.

Pinche Taqueria is a thin sliver of real estate (we’re talking three to six feet across in the seating area) between Lafayette and Mulberry street in Noho, and it’s known to be the go-to taco place in the neighborhood.  A lone space heater on the floor couldn’t keep the cold from creeping in, so we hoped our order of Taco de Carne Asada, Taco de Pollo Asado, and Yuca Fries would warm us up.

One word to describe their Yuca Fries: Yummy.  Yuca’s a root cultivated in South America for the last ten thousand years, and yuca fries are a lighter and richer tasting alternative to French fries.  You get a large basket for $4.50, with dipping sides of cilantro mayonnaise and roasted jalopena ketchup.  You will eat them all, but won’t feel guilty about it.

The chicken tacos were fresh and tasty, but to Tucson Girl, the toppings were disappointing: a paltry smattering of guacamole, with a few small pieces of lettuce and tomato.  No pico de gallo, but you can purchase a tiny (TINY) side for a dollar.  “A dollar for pico de gallo?”, she exclaims.  And a bland pico de gallo at that.  Perhaps Pinche wants to keep their tacos “pure” by not smothering the meat?

NYCTACO had the steak taco – but unlike the chicken it was a bit rubbery, and a little cold.  The waiter’s walk from the kitchen to our table probably lowered its temperature a few dozen degrees.  (It was cold in there, people.)

Tucson Girl’s final assessment?  Pinche Taqueria is her favorite taco place in NYC.  Although it doesn’t reach the quality of mexican or southwest tacos, for Gotham it’s “pretty good.”

For NYCTACO, the jury’s still out.  Stay tuned…

Interview with Jeff Jensen of ENDLESS SUMMER

The ENDLESS SUMMER taco truck’s still sitting on Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue and it’s not going nowhere.  We ate some corn with its mastermind Jeff Jensen at the NYCTACO offices and chatted a spell.

Hey Jeff, how did you start Endless Summer?

Basically, we started out of necessity. Curtis and I were both completely broke and needed a way to earn a living. So in about 3 or 4 months we learned everything we could about street vending and concentrated all our energies on creating the best recipes for Mexican street food. Obtaining all the proper permits and licenses is nearly impossible. You have to be obsessed with making it happen because there are innumerable legal obstacles in starting a business like this. Once we cleared the city and Health department hurdles we embarked on the even more painful process of figuring out how to make it work on a day to day basis.

Why North 3rd and Bedford?

I’ve lived in Williamsburg since 1993. When trying to pick a location for the truck, I scouted LeFrak City pretty hard (housing development in Queens – ed.) but the convenience of operating in the neighborhood where I actually live was too alluring.

Why put chunks of lime in tacos?

Initially, we experimented with wedges of frozen semen but found the flavors too tempting.  It also made us feel kind of gay, so we stuck with the traditional lime.

The Endless Summer is extending into fall. Will the van be able to brave the cold NYC winter?

First off, it’s a truck not a van.

Sorry bro, that’s what I meant – truck.

But to answer your question… yes, we will be open 12-midnight even in the most bitter conditions. After all we opened last year in December so we’re prepared.

What is 2nd favorite taco place in the city?

I like De Mole in Sunnyside.

Thanks bro!

www.endlesssummertacos.com