In the inaugural edition of the Food Truck Tour we took a tasty bite into some of South County’s more eccentric trucks: El Volcan and Tacos La Chilanguita-Estilo D.F. Both of those trucks — the former more than the latter — provide a plethora of different eating options with unconventional smorgasbord-like variations for each selection.
This week, under the recommendation of emails, social media messages and face-to-face conversations, I got back to the basics, paying a visit to two trucks that have earned acclaim for their simplicity, speed and hospitality.
Taco lovers, this one’s for you.
G’s Mexican Tacos
When I think of a taco truck, I imagine a small trailer that bobs up and down with every move the operator makes. And I fantasize about the smell of the grilled meats, chopped onion and slightly charred tortillas inside the truck.
That’s my longwinded way of saying G’s Mexican Tacos, based in Pajaro, is something out of dream. It has everything that a taco truck should have, and the service is fast and super friendly. Some people might not like being called “mijo” or “joven” — son and young man, for those who do not speak Spanish — by a vendor, but when “cariño” is said in an earnest way it can set a comfort level that induces a “take-me-back-to-my-childhood” nostalgia.
That’s what I felt when I ordered two tacos from the fine folks at G’s during a popup session at Beer Mule in Watsonville. I got one pastor taco and another with campechano, and asked for all the fixings — cilantro, fresh onions, grilled onions and fresh cucumber — on both. They set me back $7.
The pastor was good, and the campechano was a delicious change of pace from just about every other taco I’ve tried around the city. Speaking from past experience, the recipe for campechano varies a bit from vendor to vendor, but the prototypical formula carries thinly sliced salted beef, chicharron and spicy pork sausage. The campechano at G’s followed that, and added just a small dash of melted cheese that served as the all-star point guard of the taco—keeping everyone together and making them better.
Look out: This truck travels. Follow their social media pages to catch their popups.
Location: 120 Salinas Road, Pajaro
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Tacos Los Jacona
Very rarely am I surprised at the speed of a food vendor’s service. I’m usually patient because I understand great food should take some time to prepare. So the fact that I received my order of four tacos — two asada, one pastor and one chorizo — before I could even put my change into my wallet made me double take. That type of speed is a big plus for most of us who are in a breakneck gear from sunrise to sundown. Another big plus: the food at Tacos Los Jacona is in-freaking-credible.
ABOVE: G's Mexican Tacos can be found in Pajaro daily, and at a local brewery or tap house on occasion. (Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian)
Like G’s, the menu of the truck at the corner of Freedom Boulevard and Marin Street is limited — tacos and quesadillas are on its short list of options — but the warm folks at Los Jacona take pride in quality over quantity. I’ve eaten at this truck more than a dozen times, and I’ve never walked away thinking I’ve just wasted my hard-earned cash. That’s a testament to both the food and prices. The four tacos and a canned soda set me back only $9(!!!).
The menu might be skinny, but the options of fixings is arguably the best in the city. They have four salsas, pickled carrots and jalapeños, limes, freshly chopped and mixed onions and cilantro and, my favorite, sliced cucumber doused in an aguachile-like green sauce that will have you breathing fire like Drogon (I’ve never watched an episode of “Game of Thrones” but, I have Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat, so I get it).
The lines get long anytime after 7 p.m., so plan accordingly.
Look out: This is a cash only truck and it doesn’t always arrive at 2 p.m. sharp
Location: 1345 Freedom Blvd.
Hours: 2 p.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday; 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday