I decided that it was time I stopped resting on my Oakland taco truck laurels and broke some new ground.
I've long been convinced that there must be some good stuff farther out International in the far wilds of East Oakland. The "known" taco trucks on International peter out around 55th, where International becomes really blighted. This time my "trek" took me down the stretch on the other side of 73rd, where International turns into a viable commercial strip again.
Tacos Santiago Papasquiaro
7915 International (at 79th)
Some of the best taco truck tacos I've had recently. Carnitas was tender and only slightly browned, but still moist and flavorful; pastor had pieces of meat that were actually identifiable as pork, not just meat nubbins, and they also had shrimp tacos -- mine had six decent-sized (51-70/pound size) shrimp with grill marks, a little overcooked but still tasty, same price as the meat tacos. Salsas were good and hotter than most taco trucks.
Interesting neighbor: Louisiana's Best Halal Meats (across the street). Love the cultural interplay of "Louisiana" and "halal."
Flor de Jalisco
80th and International
Menu reads more like a sit-down place than a truck, with enchiladas and other "plates." Seemed to be catering more to the African-American segment of the neighborhood. I was intrigued by the idea of carne asada fries, but in the end didn't order anything here.
Interesting neighbor: JJ Fish and Chicken "originally from Chicago" -- extensive menu of fast-food soul food (fried fish and chicken, with sides ranging for Mac N Cheese to collard greens)
El Taco Loco
88th and International
Most interesting thing on the menu was the choice of "birria de chivo & res mixta" in a burrito. Sounds tasty, but I was low on cash and stomach space.
90th and International
Got a decent pastor taco here, with a nice charcoal-smoke flavor. Offers the option of sour creama and cheese on your taco (50 cents extra), again, I think, to appeal to the African-Americans in the neighborhood, as that menu item was in English only (and I don't think I saw another Caucasian the entire time I was in that area).
As de Oros
94th and International
Just drove by -- looked good, though.
Interesting neighbors: the 9500 block has two Mi Tierra Mercados facing each other across the street. One has a large cart out front with fruit, corn, tamales, etc. With the last of my cash I bought a pork tamale and a jalapeno cheese tamale -- both were quite good.
100th and International
Did a drive through the parking lot -- nothing on the menu really stood out. They looked like they had a good number of happy customers, though.
As reported previously, the second El Ojo de Agua truck is parked at 104th and International.
I drove back downtown on San Leandro Blvd. and was noting the lack of taco trucks when I spotted one: El Centenario, 85th and San Leandro. There may be more in that area serving the industrial plants during the week.