Taco Crawl on York Blvd.
April 17, 2010 5 Comments
This post is to pay homage to the folks over at York Blvd. and to Eat Drink & Be Merry. A couple of posts on “York Blvd.” and the taco post of taco posts by “Eat Drink & Be Merry” inspired me to go on a taco crawl of my own. It took me some time to get familiar but once I had things down, I was confident about this particular crawl. I put together what I could find from both of these blogs and what I came across was a glorious feast of tacos for about $10.
On a certain stretch of York Blvd. in the neighborhood of Highland Park, on a good day, you’ll have yourself about five taco stands and trucks to choose from. Let the journey begin…
York Blvd. & Milwaukee
These folks used to be over on York Blvd and Ave 56 but they moved east quite a bit to where they currently set up.
There aren’t that many places that serve al pastor with pineapple but this is it. The sweetness the pineapple goes really well with the al pastor. And this combo goes great with their handmade tortillas.
The tripas here are not so bad and the chorizo here ain’t that bad either. But at this particular stand, it’s all about the al pastor and pineapple on their handmade tortillas. Dress it with onions and cilantro, squeeze some lime on it, and top it with the green salsa that kind of looks like guacamole, and you’ll have some happy taste buds. Make sure you specifically ask for some pineapple. And ask for the green onion as well. It’s another great addition to the taco. Tacos here are a dollar each.
York Blvd. & Ave. 57
It was my first time seeing this stand. Tacos and Enchiladas. They set up across the street from the stand with the al pastor and pineapple and the closest signal light is a block away. You’ll need to do some crazy J-walking to get there. Try doing that with a group of 11 people and you’ll get madness.
I didn’t try the enchiladas here though most of the people in my group did. I didn’t want to fill up my stomach with enchiladas. It was too early in the game to fill my stomach. So I passed. But it’s an interesting addition to the scene on York Blvd.
Birria de Chivo on York Blvd. & Nolden
This trailer is well known among those searching for some great birria. Birria is goat meat for those who didn’t know. It was getting dark so I couldn’t get a picture of the tacos. Goat isn’t for everyone. It leaves a heavy aftertaste, kind of like certain Mediterranean food. If you like that, then I totally recommend it. The chorizo here is pretty dang awesome too. Tacos here are a dollar each.
Pupusas on York Blvd. & Ave. 56
I have yet to get my hands dirty when it comes to Salvadorean food. I’ve tried the pupusas here when they first began to set up towards the latter part of last year. It was my first time trying pupusas and it seemed like the people here weren’t in business that long. I didn’t really know what to order so somehow I ended up with a pupusa filled with beans. I’m not big on beans. Also, what I got was falling apart way too easily. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t like it as much as I did tacos. So this time around, I decided to pass on the pupusas. But I guess practice makes perfect. The pupusas they were hammering out today looked quite good and literally intact. They do take some time to make but I’m willing to give these pupusas another try the next time I’m here. I believe the pupusas are a dollar each.
York Blvd. & Ave. 56
What I like here is the al pastor. I feel like the al pastor itself is actually better than the taco stand with the al pastor and pineapple. But the pineapple does a lot of great things. Anyway, it’s not cooked on a spit here but that’s okay. The chunks are bigger and the meat actually tastes better. The carne asada tacos here are pretty good too. I remember the first time I was here they had tripas. They made some mean tripas. But that was the only time I’ve seen them have tripas. Tacos here are a dollar each.
Tacos La Estrella on York Blvd. & Ave. 54
It sucks that this is the only picture I’m going to give you. But don’t worry. On a brighter day and when I won’t be nearly as full as I was, I will give you some better pictures. This post is a work in progress.
But fortunately, I’ve been here enough times to know what is good. May I recommend to you the carnitas and the carne asada. At one point, the tacos from Tacos La Estrella were my favorite. The carnitas here is great. The carne asada was pretty good, but I’ve had better. However, when judging the taco as a whole package, I had to give the carne asada taco here a big nod of approval. The tortilla was cooked perfectly where you had a bit of crisp to it. And must I mention their salsa roja? It wasn’t too spicy where all you feel is heat and it had enough of that smoky taste as well. It’s perfect. Oh yeah, and did I say the carnitas taco is great here too? Al pastor isn’t that bad either. Also, this is I believe one of four locations. Tacos are $1.25 each.
El Pique on York Blvd. & Ave. 53
This truck is literally a stone’s throw away from the La Estrella truck. And at this point of the taco crawl, I was too full to even eat anything.
I’m not too big on the tacos here, though the al pastor here is pretty good. But what I really like here is the quesadilla. This is the last stop on the York Blvd. taco crawl, or first if you’re coming from the opposite direction. But assuming this is the last stop, if you’re not full at this point, though I don’t know how you wouldn’t be, a quesadilla will do the trick. But really though, I think you should try their quesadilla outside the context of a taco crawl. The quesadilla with carne asada here is pretty money. They’re generous with the mozzarella cheese, but my favorite part… I really like how they grill the quesadilla so that the tortilla is nice and crisp. And both the salsa roja and salsa verde go well with the quesadilla.
The course… It’s literally all on one street. Before the taco stand with al pastor and pineapple moved, it was a good course to walk all the way through. Now, you may need a little driving to do. So after your tacos with al pastor and pineapple, drive to the birria truck. After some birria, I suppose you could walk but the next stand is a couple of blocks away, driving isn’t a bad idea. Once you’re on Ave 56, walking to La Estrella isn’t that bad. But should you decide to walk the whole thing, prepare for a long walk back.
Trucks are parked throughout the day and until late night. Stands begin to set up around 6PM and should close at around 10PM, and they’re usually there every day but on occasion, they may not set up.
For the crawl itself, bring a lot of one dollar bills. Giving them a $20 bill is a disservice to them and if you could prepare that ahead of time, that’d be great, and you wouldn’t need to worry about them not having change. Also, come in comfortable shoes to walk in and bring some outerwear just in case it gets cold. Most importantly, be prepared to EAT!
This post is a work in progress. When I can, I’m going to update with more pictures and actually have pictures of the food I’m talking about. Stay tuned.