“Tony, I love that you keep us updated on what’s going on in the city… but when are you doing another food truck column?”
I hear you — all of you — and so here I am, ready to sacrifice my waistline once again to bring you another entry of Food Truck Tours.
This edition features a food truck that many have recommended since I started this series two months ago. The owner, Jesus Falcon, also invited me via email and said all I had to bring was a giant appetite — although he said it in a Spanish slang word that is not quite appropriate for this family-friendly publication.
As always, you can send me recommendations at [email protected]. Dates, times and locations for the recommendations are helpful.
TACOS EL CHUY
Usually going into an experience with sky-high expectations leads to some disappointment. Your friend or family’s favorite restaurant, movie, TV show, etc., might not fall in line with your fancies — opinions are subjective, after all.
I give this as prologue because for months I heard glowing reviews of this red, jalapeño-emblazoned truck that cruises to various locations in Santa Cruz County. One reader recommendation said Tacos El Chuy had the best tacos in the entire county — truck or restaurant.
I haven’t tasted every taco available in county limits, so I don’t know if I can say that. But I will say that if someone ever did a March-Madness-like super tournament to determine the tastiest tacos in the county, Tacos El Chuy would be a No. 1 seed.
There is no way you can taste the tacos from this truck and not think that — at the very least — they are great. The meat is soft and savory with a near-perfect char that saves it from turning into bland crispy and crunchy bits. And the tortilla is thin but strong, smooth but slightly crackly, and lean but satisfying. It’s exactly what a taco should be.
I ordered two tacos — one carne asada and the other pastor, $2.50 each — and a chorizo torta ($7). The tacos came prepared with the classic cilantro and onion one-two punch, and the torta came stuffed with lettuce, tomatoes, slices of avocado, mayo and fresh pinto beans with a side of pickled jalapeños and carrots that I threw into the mix for some added spice.
The truck had a quartet of different salsas and toppings to choose from. I splashed my asada taco with the green tomatillo sauce, and the dropped some of the sweet onion-pineapple mix on the other. The meat on the asada taco was some of the best beef I’ve ever had — the first bite gave me the distinctive taste of the carne asada marinade and the subsequent chews had me thinking I was eating filet mignon. That’s no doubt a testament to the corn tortilla, which was oiled up and toasted just enough to give the total package the fatty, comforting taste that is expected of the prototypical Mexican tacos — one of many reasons why they pair so well with a beer (or two or three).
Thankfully, that’s how many are enjoying Tacos El Chuy. Flacon sets up every Tuesday and Saturday from 7-10 p.m. in front of Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing tap room, 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz. He also makes stops at several locations in South County. I hope he secures a steady location in Watsonville sometime soon.
Location: This truck is all over the map, but the best way to get a hold of them is on Tuesday and Saturdays from 7-10 p.m. at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing tap room, 402 Ingalls Street, Santa Cruz.
Follow them: On Instagram, @tacoselchuy.
Editor’s Note: Food Truck Tours is a recurring column from Managing Editor Tony Nuñez. Have food truck recommendations? Send them his way at [email protected]