The Fare: Mexican>"/>
The Truck: Happy Burrito, permanently parked near 3rd and Bell at erratic hours - supposedly daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Fare: Mexican fare: tacos, tamales, burritos.
The Stop: Wedged in a Belltown parking lot between a grocery store and office building, Happy Burrito seems more sad than anything else. It's a sorry sight, one that most people ignore as they, and their retriever mixes, make their way to the dog park that's a block away. To add to Happy Burrito's dreary image, a chain-link fence stands between the truck and sidewalk. And at night, a dim floodlight barely illuminates the shadowy tables that sit underneath a canopy.
With this in mind, you'd think that the food from Happy Burrito would be pretty damn cheerful in order to make up for the truck's somber setting. For the most part, though, it's not.
The meat is what drags this truck's food down. And when you're dealing with food like tacos or burritos, the meat is especially important. Happy Burrito lets customers choose chicken, beef, or pork. Oily, tough, and chewy, the little chunks of pork and chicken are rubbery and taste like they've only been seasoned with salt and pepper. The shredded beef is a step up, but gives the impression that it's been cooked and re-cooked. Multiple visits to this truck brought on multiple servings of disappointment.
Let's talk about the Happy Burrito, which bears the truck's name. It's filled with beans, rice, pico de gallo, sour cream, avocado, cheese, and beef, chicken, or pork. At $5.99, that seems like a pretty basic, decent burrito that would make everybody happy. However, it - at least in pork form - proves to be disappointing. Although the fillings mask the less-than-stellar taste of the pork, the texture is off-putting.
At $1.50 each, the tacos are the basic three-inch in diameter corn tortilla type, with a pile of meat of your choice, on top of a pile of lettuce, onions, cilantro, and cheddar. The mulitas, also the same price, are essentially the same as the tacos, but with corn tortillas on top. Both things would be much, much better with - no surprise - better meat.
An order of a beef tamale, pork mulita, and chicken taco.
Ah, but there is some hope: Happy Burrito's beef tamales are passable. Steamed in leaf wrappers, thick stretches of masa - corn dough, essentially - surround shredded beef. In tamale form, the beef is moist - perhaps because it's insulated by the tamale's sticky dough. Nothing fancy, but certainly, nothing horrible - nothing unhappy.
Maybe in the near future, this Belltown truck will turn its frown upside down so that its food fits its name. For now, though, Happy Burrito is a truck that doesn't make my stomach happy.