One of the hidden pearls of any city is its street food. In an ethnically diverse city such as New York, we should be exposed to many more culinary treats. And while the trend for successful chefs now is to open burger joints and street stands, there simply aren’t that many unless you travel to Queens.
I’m partial to the Dominican trucks which can be found in Washington Heights and Inwood, offering late-nite fried foods from my childhood, such as tostones (fried green plantains) and a chimichurri (flat, burger-like steak) sandwich. One good alternative to hot dog and kebab stands are the taco trucks, which offer real street food at real value. Most items are under four dollars. Take the Tacos El Idolo II truck that occupies the northeast corner of 14th street and 8th avenue. Party-goers from the nearby meatpacking district line up at night for a satisfying $2 taco. Even the B & T crowd knows what’s up.
The foundation of the tacos are two lightly heated corn tortillas with your choice of filling, from steak, chorizo, chicken, and pork, to pig’s ears, cow’s tongue and goat. The meat is ground up and grilled with onions and other toppings like radish and pickled veggies. The picante is there as the condiment. The tacos are toothsome and addicting, and are a post-drinking session’s antidote. This particular truck offers quesadillas and gorditas too, all to be washed down with a flavored Jarrito, Mexican soda pop at its best.
If you are concerned about the health issues which do exist from eating from street vendors, just add hot sauce and drink a beer. This will counteract some of the bacteria present. In this day and age even our spinach isn’t safe. Having eaten from these trucks for many years, you will figure out who to trust, and which operations practice cleaner cooking habits. Have a taco, a mandarin Jarrito, and a puffy cheeks smile.