The Truck: Contigo, found on Tuesdays at the P-I building (101 Elliot Ave.) from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sundays in West Seattle at Uptown Espresso from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Contigo.
The Fare: What owners Erik Gust and David Rodriguez call "modern Mexican" -- tacos and gorditas with a flair.
The Stop: At first, Contigo owners Erik Gust and David Rodriguez each dreamed up their own, separate plans to open street carts. They were high school buddies and intermittent roommates who were on different ends of the continent, doing their own things.Gust was doing his dreaming from Seattle, working in the restaurant industry and hoping to sell roasted corn. Rodriguez was in Mexico, getting inspiration from an "ancient lady" selling gorditas -- fried and stuffed corncakes -- from a satchel. Both Gust and Rodriguez had simple ideas: specialize in something, and sell from a cart.
But when swine flu broke out in Mexico and affected the city Rodriguez was teaching English in, he returned to Seattle and brought his street food idea with him. That's when Gust and Rodriguez began tossing around the idea of serving "modern Mexican"- not fusion, Gust was adamant to distinguish - food.
Contigo has both what the duo considers traditional, authentic Mexican fare, like the chicken mole tacos, and more "modern" fare, like the sweet potato and pecan gorditas.
Rodriguez is proud of Contigo's chicken mole tacos. He said that the mole takes over 14 hours to make and includes 28 different ingredients, and that he labored over the recipe, trying to make Contigo's mole as close to what he had in Mexico. It's turned out to be one of Contigo's most popular item.
The sweet potato and pecan gorditas, great for dessert, are a Thanksgiving inspiration, and also a twist on a Mexican dish Rodriguez loved that consisted of roasted sweet potatoes, brown sugar, and guava juice. It's the type of sweet and savory, fried goodness people will crave at any time of the day.
"We took all the Mexican flavors that we know - dried chilies, mole that David makes by hand, and all sorts of other flavors," said Gust. "We just started tweaking, and we landed where we landed."