I headed to Downtown LA one Saturday for the Red Bull Soapbox Derby, and even though the unwashed masses blocked my view of those wacky racers, I was there for another type of vehicle altogether: The Border Grill truck.
I had actually stalked it on Twitter and attended the free event specifically to try Border Grill. This was fortunate since several other mobile food trucks congregated in the food area, which would normally have left me in a dither of indecisiveness. But nope, I had a plan already, and it included tacos and plenty to drink because it was freakin’ hot that day.
If my meal only consisted of this appetizer, a handheld corn tortilla cone filled with Peruvian ceviche, I still would have considered the meal a happy conquest. The mahi mahi chunks were well “cooked” by plenty of bright, tart lime, while the ginger, aji amarillo chile and fuchsia pickled onions took the dish to another flavor level entirely.
Once I scraped the last bit of black bean from the bottom of the cone, my friend Rabecca drank all the ceviche juice, something I wish I had thought to do. Next time.
Greedy and indecisive, that’s me, so I ordered three different tacos.
Crispy Baja Fish Taco (right)- I can’t resist trying any fried fish taco. I was hesitant with this one though since it had chipotle honey drizzled on it. Yeah, sweet mixed with my savory is not my favorite. It was very delicately done though, and I found myself actually enjoying it with the light dollop of creamy salsa fresca.
Yucatan Pork Taco (left)- Susan Feniger’s flinty voice hawking this taco has haunted me from the radio ads, and since I’m highly suggestible when it comes to food (those “Let’s all go to the lobby” ads at the movies always make me crave a soda), I had to try. Not bad. The braised achiote pork was flavorful and tender, but it was sweet in that way I don’t like mixed with my meats. I’m sure that’s why people love this taco. Nevertheless, the pork mixed with the black beans, onion and orange jicama slaw was still a nicely balanced few mouthfuls.
Cilantro Chicken Taco (center)- Wha??? Why hadn’t anyone told me about this taco? After the ceviche, who knew I could fall in love twice? The savory juices won me over completely. I am such an umami lover. Every bite, with the tomatillo sauces mixed in, made me want to huddle in a corner and jealously guard it. The creamy salsa fresca was completely unnecessary.
This was what Rabecca ordered. You can see the ceviche cone we shared. She gave the potato raja taco a thumbs up (potatoes well cooked and sort of mushy, just how she likes it), and we also shared the parsley/cumin fries, which I found okay — cooked perfectly crisp, but otherwise, unremarkable.
Yikes! Don’t these churro bites look overdone? Well, they tasted just fine. The cinnamon sugar-dusted dulce de leche churros were dense and somewhat less chewy than a donut, smeared liberally with this addictive whipped cream. I ate two of the five, a big deal for me!
Um, yeah. So no complaints here. Every element of the meal was successful, even the pork taco that didn’t quite match my palate. After I make the round of the new food trucks (you’re next Marked 5 and Nomnom!), I’ll definitely keep an eye out for Border Grill’s whereabouts on my lazy days off.
Border Grill Truck