The Truck: El Naranjo's, found daily at the Shell gas station on the corner of Aurora and Winona, from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
The Fare: Tacos, sopitos, burritos, carne asada -- the usual Mexican truck food.
The Stop: Parked permanently at the Shell gas station, where the crayon-coloring patrons of Beth's Cafe merge with Greenlake's exercise pants-wearing, latte-holding residents, El Naranjo is a little taco haven that for the most part, has remained under the food truck radar.Named after owner Orencio Naranjo Guzman, and likely, a play on naranja, the Spanish word for "orange," this truck is cheerily adorned with lime green and orange... oranges. It's also emblazoned with a face that looks suspiciously like it was modeled after Martin Luther King, Jr.
El Naranjo's menu is full of the standard taco truck fare like tacos, mulitas, sopitos, burritos, enchiladas, and -- a rarity for taco trucks -- carne asada. Each order comes with spicy pickled carrots and jalapenos, and sliced radish.
And yet, it contains a few notable items that make this truck visit-worthy.
Put simply, the sopito is the taco's more attractive, bustier relative. They're both decent, but one is, well, better. On a very basic level, both tacos and sopitos are made from essentially the same things -- meat, onion, cilantro -- but with a few major differences. Sopitos have a thick corn tortilla that's both crispy and soft, and are heaped with little mountains of lettuce, your choice of meat, tomatoes, onion, and a huge slice of fresh avocado. And although the tortilla is small, at only three inches in diameter, it's mighty. Be warned: sopitos cannot be gracefully eaten with hands; forks and knives are required. If you only have two dollars in cash to spend at this truck, go for a sopito. There will be no disappointment in sight, or in stomach.
The tacos, at a dollar each, aren't anything fancy except for the fact that they're packed to the very edges with your choice of meat, onion, and cilantro. The meat is what makes the tacos awesome. El Naranjo offers the usual meat selection: steak, pork, chicken, and lengua. Both the pork and lengua tacos are winners, the pork slow-cooked and a little bit fatty (who doesn't like a little bit of flavorful danger in their lives?), the tongue soft and pliable. If you like a lot of tongue, go for the lengua -- El Naranjo is generous.