Thursday, November 4, 2010

West Coast Tacos

Ok, I know I am late in reviewing West Coast Tacos, but sometimes things take awhile.  The concept of the food truck is obviously gaining popularity across the country, what with entire television shows being dedicated to it, but hubby and I were a little surprised by it, I guess because food trucks (at least in San Fran) have been around a long time. (San Francisco’s are usually burrito trucks vs. taco trucks, but same idea).  I do find it interesting though, with the advent of things like Twitter, how a food truck can really move around and serve lots of people.  Usually food trucks in San Francisco stayed in one place and when one occasionally had to move, it was a crisis trying to figure out where it had gone.  Now, West Coast Tacos has taken full advantage of social media and moves all over town both for lunch and dinner.  I am sure this is a great boom for them because they can serve so many varying groups of people.
After checking Twitter, the first time we went, we headed to the east side to catch up with the truck.  It was fairly early in their service hours (I think they usually serve 11:00-1:00 or so) but there was already a line.  The choices on this day were chicken or steak with red sauce or green sauce.  We got three of each, the chicken with green sauce and the beef with red. 

Steak with red salsa
When I made it back to the car with my half of the order, hubby had already eaten one of the chicken ones (hence the picture missing a taco) and was declaring it, “frickin’ awesome.”  I started with a beef, and while it was not bad, I wasn’t seeing what the fuss was about really.  The meat was thinly sliced and covered with a mix of onion and cilantro and then covered in the red sauce.  The sauce wasn’t very spicy—I enjoyed the onion and cilantro mix more I think.  And considering every other review I have read talks about how spicy the red sauce is, I am starting to wonder if maybe they forgot a couple of ingredients on this day or something.  All the tacos are served on doubled up soft corn tortillas.  After hubby finished his first chicken taco, he had a beef and promptly agreed with me that he thought the beef was just okay.
Chicken with green salsa

Next I tried the chicken taco and could understand what hubby had been excited about.  This one was darn good.  The chicken was lightly seasoned and cut into cubes; there was more of the cilantro/onion mix and a wonderful green salsa that had so much more flavor than the red.  We regretted not getting one of the steak tacos with green to see if that would have changed our opinion of it.  The chicken ones were good enough that I can see why people crave them. 

Pork tacos

So, since it seemed like maybe it was an off day with the red salsa, I decided to do a second trip before finalizing this review.  On the second trip, the choices were steak, pork or chicken teriyaki tacos.  Red salsa was your only choice on the pork or steak.  We tried them all.  The red salsa definitely had a lot more flavor this time, which was interesting because there was less of it on the taco than there was the first time we went. It was much spicier—but not so spicy that it was overwhelming.   I think between the steak and the pork though, the pork was definitely better.  It was much more flavorful and had some nice caramelized edges to it.  The chicken teriyaki sounded intriguing, but it was my least favorite of all the tacos I have had from West Coast Tacos. The chicken tasted like it had been marinated a bit in teriyaki sauce, and had a slightly darker color to it than plain grilled chicken, but there was not a lot of teriyaki flavor to me.  And the taco was drizzled with what I assume was Sriracha, an Asian hot sauce.  I don’t know, those are not two flavors I would normally put together.  There also was none of the onion/cilantro mix, just a bit of green onion, and I missed it. I think the freshness of these flavors is one of my favorite parts of the tacos.  And the Sriracha made it so hot, that you couldn’t taste any other flavor nuances with the chicken.
Chicken Teriyaki & 2 Steak

I also know a lot of people have complained about the size of the tacos, and that they aren’t very filling, but I was pleasantly filled when I ate three full ones (the second time I didn’t finish the third one, the chicken teriyaki).  I tend to have a lighter appetite than most though, so I can understand the argument.  You can order them individually, but they are more expensive that way (generally they are 3 for $5 or $2 each).  I did see people ordering 4 to make a meal.
You have to be prepared to make do with wherever you are to eat them—in our case, the first time, this was on the truck of hubby’s car in a very hot parking lot.  The second time we took them home to eat them when the truck was located very near to our house.  I think I personally would choose the location somewhat carefully on any future visits and go somewhere where there might be somewhere to sit down (or to bring them home again).  I am not a fan of eating on the fly (or standing up for that matter), so this dulls a food experience for me, but what the hell, it’s coming out of a truck right?
West Coast Tacos
(various locations throughout the city, check twitter to find out where) @WestCoastTacos

West Coast Tacos (Mobile Food) on Urbanspoon


  1. Try Taco's without Borders next :) They aren't street tacos like WCT but they are really good!

  2. i live in Broad Ripple and the truck is almost always parked outside of Cardinal on weekend nights. Finally, i tried it out and i ordered the Chicken Teriaki and holy crap! it was so spicy i couldn't finish it. all i tasted was the hot sauce. i didn't realize the menu changed, so i'll have to try the verde sauce next time.

  3. Kim- well I think the menu varies from day to day...not sure how often they have the green salsa but I am sure if you ask them on twitter for the day's menu, they will let you know. They are quite responsive.

    And Jamie- I will put them on the list.

  4. Interesting. I nearly like the chicken teriyaki the best, but I'm also a huge fan of Sriracha (at home I keep a few hot sauces - and it is my go-to). My wife jokes that I've "burned off all my taste buds."

    I should note that WCT has a new mongolian beef taco that I've yet to try... I also liked the pork more than the steak, so I'm curious to try the newest offering.

    -Tom H

  5. The pricing at this truck is not transparent (even on their website or social media sites.) I believe the teriyaki & Mongolian beef tacos are $3 and started out as 3/$8. Then it became 2/$5. Were you able to get yours now for 3/$5?

    I'm a relatively lean woman, and it takes about 5 of these small, 4-inch tacos to fill me up. My bf, who is also not overweight, is not full 'til he eats 10. Unless we're looking for a snack that we're willing to wait in line for, we usually prefer to eat Mexican at a taqueria for more flavorful, cheaper eats or Korean at one of the sit-downs in town. Then there's the whole issue of drinks--we've swung by McD's to get the $1 extra-large drinks before hitting the truck. The teriyaki and Mongolian beef tacos didn't taste that great to me and all the choices were not a good enough value to have me following this truck around town.

  6. Tom- Yeah, they had advertised the Mongolian beef taco the day I went, but didn't mention it when I ordered.

    Katie- I am not totally sure about the pricing to be honest. I thought I heard them say the chicken teriyaki were 2/$5, but when I ordered sets of 3, they just charged me $10 (for 2 sets of 3). Could have just been a mistake. But if they are charging more for the chicken teriyaki, honestly I am not sure why.