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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Taco Truck Tour in Columbus

My friend Nedra and I headed on a road trip to Columbus for a Taco Truck Tour (um yeah!!!!) but once we got there she decided to show me something fun! 

There's a really cool topiary garden for the Deaf School...

The feature of the park is this center garden where the topiaries match a painting! Above is a plaque of the painting...

And here's the topiary garden!

As we were walking around the park we encountered probably the cutest thing ever - a Momma duck with like a million babies! Seriously - I stopped counting when I got to 15! They were everywhere!!! Here's a quick pic I caught of the momma and six of the babies. They were running and swimming and playing - man it was the epitome of cute. 

But then - what we came for - the Taco Truck Tour from Bethia at Columbus Food Adventures! Bethia was nice enough to provide me two tickets so that I could check it out and get all of you Cincinnati folk up to Columbus to check it out for yourself!

Bethia is also a fellow food blogger! The company actually came about as a result of her Taco Truck blog! She now has 9 different tours - I previously went on the Alt Eats - but she also has a Meat tour, a Coffee tour and a DESSERT TOUR. UH - YEAH!

So off Nedra and I went to start the Taco Truck Extravagana!

Taco trucks are extremely prevalent in Columbus due to the high percentage Latino population. They're all over the city. They are mobile - so sometimes they move - but for the most part - these folks have areas where they set up shop on a fairly regular basis. This tour is a great way to get you out there to check them out - and then maybe try a few more on your own!

First up was the King Luis truck. The menus are usually posted in the window and each truck tends to have it's own specialty.

At this particular truck we actually had our only taco of the tour! We had a taco with chorizo (Mexican sausage). The tacos are typically served with onions, radishes or cucumber as well as a number of different sauces. I tried the most mild of them - the avocado base. What's missing? Cheese - yeah - they don't really eat them with cheese. It was a little spicy - but she has bottled water for you if you need it.

This was a great start- first it's an authentic taco - so it gives you a good idea of what you've been missing all these years! Second - it's just damn tasty - it is cilantro-heavy and small - but usually a taco is like $2 - so you can polish off a couple of them and still have money in your pocket.

The thing I like about the tour is that you don't have to think - you just get back in the van and off you go! Bethia does the rest!

Next she drove us to La Popular - so we all piled out and waited for our next delight! Luckily this one came with a drink -

This truck has aqua fresco with tamarind - if you've never had this tastes a lot like an Arnold Palmer (half Iced Tea & half lemonade). It is very refreshing and everybody enjoyed it.

Then came my second favorite item of the day - and how this came in 2nd - I actually don't know. This is like a millimeter behind my #1. We got a gordita with barbacoa (beef) and it was so freaking good!

The shell is crispy and light - the filling was so delicious and it had a little cheese and sour cream (for the American in me). There you see those radishes to cleanse the pallette as well. I easily could have wolfed down 3 more of these - they're small and amazingly tasty.

Next up - we pulled into a night club parking lot - at 4 o'clock on a Sunday. We were perplexed to say the least - but hey - if you ever want to go to a club - head to La Boom.

But we were there for a whole other purpose - Los Guachos Taqueria! This place was HOPPIN! It's one of those things - you gage how good an ethnic place is by seeing if people of that ethnicity eat there - the answer here (and all the rest of today's visits) - a definitive yes!

You see there's a giant spit of pork - spinning in it's juicy deliciousness. And I was going to get to eat some of it. WOOHOO!

Nedra started ahead of me and I think she liked it! 

But here's my #1 favorite for the day - the gringo with al pastor, cheese and pineapple! This fold up plate of deliciousness takes the top spot. There is so much going on here - I can't even begin to explain it! You've got the tortilla - then melty cheese - then slices of that juicy pastor (pork) - then onion and cilantro and then PINEAPPLE! Every bite is amazing. I nearly abandoned the tour and just pulled up a bar stool to stay here for the rest of the day.

Los Guachos Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Next up - the Super Torta truck! 

If you enlarge this photo you can get an idea of the menus and prices - so affordable.

We had another drink at this truck - horchata - you can see by the wiki entry that it can mean a lot of different things. This version sort of tasted like an icy egg nog and had cinnamon on top. I really didn't like it - of course I don't like egg nog - so that might be why. A lot of people liked it and the folks I work with that are Latina (I work on a spanish community website) saw this photo and went OOOOOOOOOH! So I think most people like it.

Our food at this truck was a tlayudas. It was a giant pizza basically with beans, chorizo, cheese, cabbage, tomato, avocado, radish, onion and jerky cured pork. The folks that run this truck are from Oaxaca and this is a specialty there. It's all served on thin crispy tortilla.

I really didn't care for this either - it was really hard to eat a 1/4 of a hard crust pizza and to me the toppings were all fairly dry so they didn't mesh together as well as the last two items.

That said - it's a huge menu and I'm sure if I tried something else - I'd find something I liked. I do really appreciate Bethia bringing us different items from each vendor - it gets us out of the box to try new things.

La Super Torta on Urbanspoon
Next up was a sweet stop - Las Delicias! It's next to a nudie bar - so um - yeah - if you get done with the taco trucks - you can see some "entertainment". :-)

We had nieves which is a frozen desert. It looks like ice cream but is more shaved ice. There were a few different flavors like almond, coconut, strawberry and even burnt milk. I went for the coconut. It's very refreshing - but not a favorite of mine. I saw it and was hoping for creamy - which it's not - but it does have a great coconut flavor!

Las Delicias Salvadorena on Urbanspoon

Then for our last stop - we headed to a Mexican restaurant & supermarket - La Plaza Tapatia. I'm used to the Mexican grocery stores that are the size of a public restroom - this was like a Kroger!!!

We stopped into the restaurant first - chips and salsa please! 

While they were getting our drinks - we snuck over to the market to check out the goods. Chicharrones (fried pork rinds) anyone?

Tongue then? (Seriously - that's huge.)

Remember the agua fresca we had? That tamarind flavor - comes from this tamarind bean! 

Or would you like some peppers?

Back to my drinks - I had a Coronita (tiny bottle of Corona) with my chips & salsa. 

There we are enjoying our drinks - and our full bellies!

Before we headed home I picked up a few snacks for the team and I have to say - those little chocolate mints were awesome! I wish I'd bought about 10 more bags! 

La Plaza Tapatia on Urbanspoon

And so ended our trip to Columbus for the Taco Truck Tour. Bethia is such a wonderful tour guide. I find that most tours do a lot of talking - too much talking really - but this tour is perfect! She talks a little - feeds us and then talks more while we eat. LOVE IT! 

Tickets for the Columbus Food Adventures range between $50-60 per person and it's a great deal! You get a personal driver for the tour, knowledge along the way and a guarantee that you're getting specialties from every stop. Plus I guarantee these are NOT the places you'll find in a quick "where should I eat in Columbus" tour! These are tucked away hidden treasures - which are the best kind - right? 

If you are a food lover, want something fun to do with a buddy or if you just need an excuse to go to Columbus - I highly recommend Columbus Food Adventures. 
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