Food & Drink

FOOD: “El Original”, the Taco Loco Truck on Philly’s Washington Ave

Danny Barron 12/20/2012 No Comments

I’ve heard its praises and pass by every day I ride my bike to work, but never thought to stop. Now it only comes down to one question: would you believe that some of the best tacos in the city come out a fairly-unassuming camper in South Philly?

Yeah, probably.

Taco Loco, “El Original”, they claim, is painted up in the colors of the Mexican flag, parked out by a neighborhood ballfield on Washington Ave with the city’s skyline in the background. An awning covers patrons from the sun, even in winter. Only one guy operates the truck on an early Saturday afternoon, but since there’s only one other customer, it’s no bother.

The menu is simple; tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas with a variety of meats to choose from (there are no vegetarian options). The ingredients are listed in Spanish first, which I believe is a good sign.

Feeling pretty hungry, I ordered three tacos: chorizo, al pastor, and lengua. A trio that could battle for my heart, and they did. Tacos are only served on soft tortillas and come with cilantro and onions, though other toppings cost extra.

For me, al pastor is a sort-of test for trying a new Mexican place, in the same way as judging a pizzeria by their plain slice, and it was a solid choice, especially with the cilantro addition. The chorizo taco was tasty with a good amount of spice. But the lengua taco was the best, and a tough act to follow at that. It neared the point of being just too salty, though a thorough squeeze of a lime’s juice and a generous spoonful of salsa balanced it out wonderfully. I finished it with the thought of never going back to ground beef.

Taco Loco certainly holds its own in a neighborhood with an abundance of great Mexican places (like El Zarape or El Jarocho). It’s cheap and delicious, although probably inconvenient if you aren’t already in the neighborhood.