Taco Truck Tour

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

The time: Cinco de Mayo, about half-past one too many ersatz-Mexican cocktails.

The setting: Your favorite combo-platter palace packed to the rafters.

After an inauthentic, order-by-number, orange-cheese-bombed entree (aka "El Grande Gringo"), you decide to grace the poor waitstaff with more of your shameful Spanish by asking for "Slush-arita number-o three-o, y mas chips por favor-o."

As you woozily contemplate performing a disgraceful "hat dance" right in the middle of the crowded place, your greasy dinner and those last three baskets of free chips suddenly seem like a very bad idea. Hey, I've been there.

But now I'm here to say you have more interesting South-of-the-Border chowing options these days. Like eating vital, real-deal Mexican-style street food at a fraction of the cost of that restaurant. How? Well, by visiting one of our city's many fine taco trucks.

If that suggestion gives you cold feet, you should know that taco trucks are a hot thing in town currently. I know this because of a terrific website called Taco Trucks Columbus. This highly useful site is an ongoing and frequently updated chronicle and handy explanation of the locations, hours and potentially confusing offerings of nearly three dozen taco trucks in Columbus.

Run by Jim Ellison, Bethia Woolf and Andy Dehus - a trio of road savvy food fanatics I like calling "the three amigos" - the website is a true labor of love. I recently contacted the magnanimous taco truckers to help steer me through a two-day taco-truck tour, and they motored me through pit stop after pit stop of fun, colorful and full-throttled Mexican cooking.

Each truck the three amigos and I visited (and all had green inspection stickers) was operated by extremely conscientious and gracious people working hard and serving grub considerably better - and certainly more genuine - than your average burrito purveyor.

By following the hard-won tips and expert advice of the amigos, I was able to get the most out of my experience and order smartly from each cart.

So whether it's a sultry fifth of May spring fling or a dreary end-of-November day that needs brightening, I recommend you roadhog up some authentic, cheap and robust eats from one of these tempting and worthy taco trucks. Vamos a comer, muchachos!