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Beyond Breakfast: Gringos Tacos | Hatteras, NC

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It’s not surprising, with the proliferation of food trucks and pop-up stands nationwide, to see mobile food and small-scale restaurants crop up on the Outer Banks barrier islands, too. Even on Ocracoke Island, accessible only by ferry, there’s a taco truck, hot dog stand, BBQ truck, and a handful of ice cream, snow cone, and coffee carts. This type of business model makes perfect sense for the hard-to-access islands whose economy is based on a seasonal clientele. So it’s no surprise to find a small wooden shack in the middle of the Hatteras Landing shops acting as a taco stand.

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At first glance Gringos Tacos might seem like your standard Americanized Mexican restaurant, and while there are elements of that, they offer a few surprises and most importantly, an inexpensive and very flavorful way to enjoy some local seafood.

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Case in point: the daily menu above, with crab nachos and mahi mahi tacos.

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We sought out Gringos for a quick lunch while stuck in line for the Ocracoke Island ferry. We ate a few tacos while watching fishing boats come and go and enjoyed the fruits of their labor. First up: the surf and turf taco with shrimp and shredded beef. Very tender and well-seasoned beef, plump little shrimp perfectly cooked, plus lettuce, cheese, and a very flavorful pico de gallo, all served in a flour tortilla.

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Second was the blackened mahi mahi taco, with a generous portion of fish, lettuce, cheese, and pico. Again, a real winner. Filling, freshly made, with balanced flavors.

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I’m hoping to make a return trip to Gringos again before we leave the islands. Even if I can’t, I hope this crew stays busy so we can see them again next season!

If you want to visit:
Gringos Tacos
58848 Marina Way (map it!)
Hatteras, NC 27943
(252) 986-1088
Follow them on Facebook

Open daily 11a-8p

Gringos Tacos on Urbanspoon

Beyond Breakfast: Taqueria El Fogoncito | Columbus, OH

Thanks to the hard-working crew at Taco Trucks Columbus, Columbus residents have had an easier and more enjoyable time discovering the large variety of taco trucks around town. We’ve had the pleasure of exploring many of them, from the group gathered on the southwest side of town, to diverse offerings along Morse Roads and 161, to some closer to home near Clintonville and Victorian Village. One of our favorites has become Taqueria El Fogoncito, located (currently) on the south side of Morse Road, at approximately 2733 Morse (see map here). We’ve visited this truck often enough that our four-year-old Will calls it “our taco truck.” Once, when we forgot to order his chicken taco, one of the cooks asked us if he should prepare Will’s usual. Imagine that, our four-year-old being a regular at a taco truck! I couldn’t be prouder.

We begin our meals at the truck with mandarin Jarritos, the orange-flavored version of the fruit sodas. They come in a range of flavors, although we most often see the mandarin and mango.

Fogoncito’s menu focuses on a handful of Mexican favorites: tacos (with or without cheese), gringas, and tortas. Gringas are the particular specialty at Fogoncito and their sister, both the truck and brick-and-mortar locations of Los Guachos. From our understanding, Fogoncito is owned by a relative of the Los Guachos owners, so they feature many similar favorites. The gringas are a simple open-faced flour tortilla topped with your choice of meat, melted cheese, plus onions and cilantro. Tortas take similar ingredients but sandwiches them between thick slices of bread. Pictured above is our four-year-old’s regular order: a chicken taco with cheese on it.

In addition to the gringas, our favorite is the al pastor tacos. You can order any dish with your choice of meat: chicken, asada (grilled steak), suadero (beef), tripe, campechanas (seafood), and al pastor. Let me make it easy on you: you came for the al pastor.

Al pastor is a preparation that begins with thin, marinated slices of pork stacked on a trompo (pictured above) and is fired on a spit. A pineapple is usually skewered above the meat, so that the fruit juices and fat from the meat saturate the pork, which is turned slowly and seared. At the time of serving, they slice thin strips of the meat from the side. The pork is served with a slice of the pineapple and layered on two corn tortillas, then topped with onions and cilantro.

Garnishes include sliced cucumber, lime, and a very spicy pickled hot peppers. Fogoncito also makes their own red sauce (a type of spicy salsa, I believe) and avocado/cilantro/wonderfulness sauce. I love, love avocado/cilantro sauce on the al pastor tacos and gringas, and am tempted to put it on everything else I eat. Spicy, smooth, sweet, savory. It’s one of those simple dishes that keeps you guessing.

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In November of 2012, Fogoncito moved to its current location on the south side of Morse. In the past it was located further west on Morse, then at the corner of Morse and Westerville Roads, but they were kicked off that location (which is only now being developed). They were closed for some time, so we were very excited when we got word – thanks to Taco Trucks Cbus and some dedicated Twitter fans – that they had re-opened, we visited almost immediately. Above is the current view of the truck from Morse Road. The truck is perpendicular to the road, FYI.

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But they’re back serving up our some of our favorite tacos and gringas in town. Wherever they set up shop, we’ll follow them! As Will would say, it’s “our taco truck.”

ALSO NOTE: They serve two-for-one al pastor tacos on Wednesdays. So if you’re looking for a chance to try them…

If you want to visit:
Taqueria El Fogoncito
Located at 2733 Morse Road (map it!)
Columbus, OH
(614) 900-4784

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