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24 Catt. 3: In re Latin & American Flavors

2013 October 23


When I first approached the Latin & American Flavors (“LAF”) food truck, it struck me as plain. While the typical food truck these days is dressed up with splashy graphics, LAF is the color of a school bus and its only decoration is a name decal so basic that it probably could have been designed with Microsoft Paint. But don’t get me wrong — these were all good signs. The Justices of this Cart have found that “the best food comes from the least adorned, even spartan, establishments.” In re El Floridano, 2 Catt. 2 (2011). So LAF’s exterior excited me.

Latin & American Flavors

Latin & American Flavors

On the other hand, its menu of tacos was not especially exciting. Let’s be honest: there are a lot of taco trucks out on the streets. This Cart has tried quite a few already. See, e.g., In re District Taco, 21 Catt. 2 (2013); In re El Chilango, 12 Catt. 2 (2012); In re La Tingeria, 18 Catt. 3 (2013); In re Sol Mexican Grill, 9 Catt. 4 (2012). Nevertheless, I stepped up to LAF’s window with high hopes for this unassuming food truck.

A simple whiteboard on the truck’s side announced the day’s menu in handwritten lettering. At the top was LAF’s taco deal: 3 tacos for $8. On my visit, the available meats were steak, chicken, and chorizo. I ordered one of each.

Before I can reach the merits of LAF’s tacos, I must determine whether tacos qualify as true street food; that is, “the kind[] of food[] that can be cooked in front of you and [is] meant to be eaten with your hands, without forks, while standing up.” In re Eat Wonky, 2 Catt. 5 (2011). This is easily done. The Cart has repeatedly held that tacos are street food. See District Taco, 21 Catt. 2; El Chilango, 12 Catt. 2; La Tingeria, 18 Catt. 3; Sol Mexican Grill, 9 Catt. 4. Because tacos are street food, the Cart must affirm LAF’s tacos unless they suffer from a significant flaw. See In re Big Cheese, 6 Catt. 2 (2012). Although they were not perfect, LAF’s steak, chicken, and chorizo tacos are affirmed.

Steak, Chicken, and Chorizo Tacos

Steak, Chicken, and Chorizo Tacos

LAF served its tacos the authentic Mexican way: on two soft corn tortillas and topped with cilantro, onion, and green salsa. It included garnishes of fresh radishes and lime wedges. So far, so good.

Now the big question: how were the meat fillings? The steak, chicken, and chorizo were all flavorful. Even the chicken, which is often most in danger of being bland, was well-seasoned. That being said, the steak and chicken were on the dry side and too finely ground for my liking. They veered too close to the texture of sawdust. The oiliness of the chorizo saved it from a similarly dry fate.

Even though the meats could have been executed better, I was impressed by the heaping portion included in each taco. Of the taco-serving trucks that we have tried to date, LAF wins for the largest serving of meat. I was full after three tacos and remained so through the afternoon, even skipping my usual 3pm snack.

LAF’s tacos weren’t the best tacos I’ve had, but they were good enough to satisfy my craving for authentic Mexican tacos. Plus they were incredibly filling and a solid deal.



As we often do, my sister and I sampled the mobile gastronomic enterprise on separate days. My sister was met with steak, chicken, and chorizo tacos. I encountered carne asada, chicken, and grilled tilapia.

I assume my “carne asada” and chicken tacos and my sister’s “steak” and chicken tacos were, respectively, the same. Nevertheless, as our assessments differ somewhat, I write separately with regard to those offerings. My sister says that though she found the steak and chicken “flavorful,” she found them to be “dry.” But to quote Dinah Washington, what a difference a day makes. My chicken and carne asada were as moist as a Duncan Hines yellow cake. I have no complaints whatsoever with regard to the carne asada taco — it was delicious — and my only complaint with regard to the chicken taco is that it fell apart when I picked it up. And that’s a rather minor complaint.

I alone, I suppose, encountered LAF’s take on a classic fish taco. LAF prepares its tacos with tilapia — a cheap, relatively flavorless that I associate with institutional kitchens, a fish that nobody likes but nobody actively dislikes because there is so little taste to dislike. That said, LAF’s tilapia taco was flavorful and delicious, a real testament to the truck’s piscine prowess. Its profile was fresh, clean, bright, and vibrant. The fish paired well with the chopped onions, cilantro, and radish slices, and with the pucker of lime. Texturally, the fish was shredded and could almost be described as velvety.

Tilapia, Chicken, Carne Asada Tacos

Tilapia, Chicken, Carne Asada Tacos

As my sister notes, the servings were substantial, and more than I expect from a taco truck. Three tacos were more than enough for a satisfying lunch. While perhaps no El Chilango, see In re El Chilango, 12 Catt. 2 (2012), LAF made for a meal I’ll be happy to have again.

In conclusion, LAF is a serious taco truck, and certainly no LAF-ing matter. (My apologies. Had to say it.)


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