New Mobile Kitchens Take the Roach Out of Coach
Taco trucks and I go way back. Way back to San Diego, Calif., where I was born. In the mid-1970s, there were two kinds of taco trucks: the proverbial roach coaches that sidled up to my Dad’s small holster factory, and those down in Tijuana.
Neither resembled the modern mobile kitchens of today. The roach coaches were what amounted to pickups mounted with a thermal container. Down to Tijuana, you’re talking pushcarts manned by fellows who split their time frying up tacos and shooing stray dogs. (Yes, shooing, not chasing with a machete).
When three trucks recently rolled up to the campus of Oklahoma Publishing Company, they did so with full kitchens. When you order a burger and fries from the POPs truck, it’s made to order not wrapped in foil. And they’re good burgers, too. The the French-frying of the potatoes happens on the truck, which is huge. The old roach coaches couldn’t even offer fries as they don’t hold up at all. It’s also a plus that you can get a Dublin Dr Pepper from the POPs truck. Just say no to high-fructose corn syrup.
Over on the Big Truck Tacos truck, the prep work is done back at HQ, but when you order a taco, it’s cooked and put together to order. The truck also boasts a variety of salsas. Big Truck chefs Cally Johnson and Kathryn Mathis are classically trained chefs, and their expertise really comes through on the menu. The magic of the south-side taco trucks I’ve always loved, and always will, is simplicity. Small bits of meat with careful seasoning plus onions and cilantro with a choice of couple killer salsas on a great corn tortilla. Neither Big Truck Tacos nor Odelay! can touch the corn tortillas available on south-side trucks. One day they will, and when they do it’ll be hard to compete with them. But for now, Big Truck and Odelay! rely on their training. Big Truck’s menu is unmatched. The fillings are perfection. I love the Flaming Lips. I love the Beef Al Carbon with its coffee rub.
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