Keep on Truckin': Taqueria El Palomo

With food trucks being all the rage these days, one can easily forget that they -- specifically, taco trucks -- have been around for a long time. Back in 2007, Robb Walsh even named his Top 10 Taco Trucks in Houston. These taquerias on wheels don't have fancy fusion food, and you don't have to track them on Twitter or Facebook.

I discovered Taqueria El Palomo while waiting in line at Melange Creperie at Westheimer and Taft. While I was standing in the sweltering heat waiting for my Nutella crepe, the smell of meat and spices filled the air. My nose led me next door to AvantGarden's parking lot. As far as I can tell, this truck is parked there permanently, shuttering the windows when they are closed.

The truck's all white exterior is modest, with just its name and a few words in bright red painted on, and the extensive menu tacked on the side door. The menu consists of tacos, sopes, huaraches, burritos, tortas and, to my joy on that hot day, aguas frescas.

You can get the usual proteins of beef, pork and chicken, but chicharron (pork rinds) and lengua (beef tongue) are other more adventurous options.

I stuck with the basics and ordered three different tacos ($2 each), the taco al pastor (marinated pork), carne asada taco (grilled beef steak), and taco de pollo (chicken). Each taco is served on a corn tortilla and garnished with fresh cilantro and onions. Along with slices of lime, El Palomo also serves the tacos with slices of orange.

They don't skimp on the meat here, making it definitely worth the few cents extra you pay. All the tacos were very good. The meat in each was extremely flavorful, even the chicken -- although a little dry. The best one of the three was the taco al pastor. The dried chile marinade permeated the meat. There were chunks of pineapple that added sweetness and a squeeze of the lime and the orange added the perfect citrus touch. The dried arbol chile salsa added a smokiness and a fierce kick to the taco.

My friend's carne asada torta ($4) was a huge sandwich. The bread was a crusty bolillo stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, beans, avocado and a large slice of mild cheddar cheese that melted over all the ingredients, melding the flavors together.

All this great food was washed down with an extra-large watermelon agua fresca ($2). The simple concoction of fresh fruit, water and sugar was refreshing and hit the spot.

All this and I still had a crepe to take down.

Have you tried this truck? What are some of your favorite "old school" trucks around town?

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