Taco Trucks: What you need to know

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Drive-by truckers

Web: tacotruckscolumbus.com

In addition to maintaining the website, the high-energy group leads popular multi-Taco Truck outings a few times per year - the latest being last weekend (which drew an estimated 200 people).

But the gung-ho trio likes cranking several burners onto high, meaning they're always hungry for fresh adventures and just one more plate of uncommon chow (in other words, my kind of people). So recently, they set their sights - and intrepid stomachs - on other cuisines and cultures.

Alt.eats.columbus, which debuted last month, is the newest community-serving project for Team Taco Trucks. It's a near-encyclopedic appraisal of small, mom-n-pop, hole-in-the-wall, generally freakin' cheap eateries, many African or Asian - G.A. says check it out.

Taco Tips

As the "be prepared" amigos pointed out, while every taco truck is a little different, they all share commonalities. Here's some one-size-fits-all tips.

• Each order comes in two parts: a "form" (taco, quesadilla, torta, etc.) and a topping choice (pollo, carnitas, carne asada, etc.)

• Drinks available at trucks include American and delicious Mexican sodas (try the apple-y Sidral) plus horchata - an intriguing, sweetened rice water

• You will pay only after you're finished eating

• Count on cash-only transactions - smaller bills cause less problems making change

• Handy items to bring along: a Spanish-English dictionary; big Ziploc baggies for leftovers; moist towelettes and/or paper towels; an open mind and a sense of adventure

Que quieres?

At trucks, tacos are served Mexican style, meaning chopped raw onion and cilantro are standard issue. They often come with sliced limes on the side but you'll apply your own hot sauces from squeeze bottles. Here's some typical meat choices, listed by degree of difficulty.

Pollo - chicken

Carne Asada - chopped, grilled beef

Carnitas - stewed and fried pork shoulder (always a good choice)

Chorizo/Longaniza -peppy Mexican sausages

Campechano -a mix of beef and Mexican sausage

Chicharrones - pork rinds

Tripa - stomach lining (probably pork) cut into small pieces and griddled

Lengua - cubed (cow) tongue meat

Cabeza - "head meat" from a cow

Buche - meat from a pig's stomach and/or esophagus