Taco Truck Takedown: Tacos Carnitas Edition

The Dish

Brave is the food truck operator who stays open during some of the crappiest weather Seattle has seen this year. The past several days have been nothing but heavy rain and flooding, and yet, just feet from the watery roadways remain the glowing 'open' lights of mobile food trucks, turning out hot food for those of us chilled to the bone. This week in Versus, we pay homage to two of our favorite taco trucks -- the lights at the end of our hydroplaning tunnels and the unsung heroes of our city's blustery days. When it comes to the best pork tacos, which taco truck proves the best spot for pigging out?

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Photo by Julien Perry
The Rivals

Beloved Mexico

4721 Fauntleroy Wy. S.W., 478-0496

This taco truck, parked in the lot of the West Seattle Produce Co., has only been around for about a month and already is gaining a loyal following in the neighborhood. Beloved Mexico is a little more expensive than your average taco truck, but the tacos are quite a bit larger and it's clear more care is taken in their assembly. Also, the kitchen crew is not stingy with the meat. For $2.50, you get a six-inch double corn soft tortilla filled with braised pork (carnitas), cilantro and onions served with a pickled, spicy carrot and a pickled jalapeno. Beloved Mexico also offers three different types of homemade salsa - all very, very good: tomatillo, habanero and a traditional mild salsa (our favorite). The pork was a little dry and could have used some more seasoning, but the fresh ingredients and large amounts of meat made up for it. The salsas added some moisture and spice, which made this taco very enjoyable.

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Photo by Julien Perry
Tacos El Asadero

7300 MLK Jr. Wy., 760-9903

There are two locations for Tacos El Asadero: Rainier and Othello.

We recently visited the latter, in the parking lot next to a Christmas tree farm on Martin Luther King Jr. Way. If you haven't been to a Tacos El Asadero, they operate out of a revamped school bus that includes a kitchen and a rather long waiting room to escape the rain. As an added bonus, the buses are decked out in holiday lights this time of year which makes them not only easy to spot, but a shining oasis in a sea of gray during the winter months. Their four-inch tacos are quite a bit smaller than Beloved Mexico's, but they are juicer. Actually, they are soaked in a sauce that finds its oily way into each taco, making for a very satisfying snack. The grease covered up the taste of the actual meat, so we can't really give an accurate description of the quality of pork they used, but it did have a bit of caramelization that created a really nice texture and taste. Other than that, there really wasn't much going on with these tacos. They were very simple, not dressed in anything but the sauce the pork had been simmering in and a few onions. This is the kind of greasy taco that you crave; the kind of miniature snack you can't wait to order half a dozen of because they're so addictive. And cheap. At $1.20 a taco, you could buy twice as many pork carnitas as Beloved Mexico for the same price.

The Champ

There were certainly no disappointments with this Versus challenge. We consider ourselves lucky to be within a short commute of two wonderful taco trucks. Both places delivered solid tacos, but one was just a bit tastier, satisfying and better constructed than the other. West Seattle's newest taco truck, Beloved Mexico, for the win.

 
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