It had been too long since my last Fruitvale crawl; a year ago I missed Feldman fest while working on the election. So after discovering that Jing and Martin had never really explored the tacos on International, we set out to see what was new or merely delicious.
The good news: everything was delicious. As flavorful as my memory of my first crawl in this area with Ruth years ago. Martin wondered why anyone would eat at Wendy's with the options in this area.
More good news. The Fruitvale transit district feels like a success. We happened upon a farmer's market and bought herbs, organic strawberries, and Japanese eggplant. There are postings for free outdoor movies Friday nights. The energy on the street was welcoming with lots of families out for a bite or two or three.
We peered in the windows of the Jalisco restaurant and cantina, which was closed. It looked elegant--wooden chairs with calaliles, traditional ceramic tile on the floor. Is this the place that was across the street, simply dressed up?
The usual highlights:
-tripe tacos (now $2) at the Guadalajara truck
-a bag of tart mango with lime and chile
alternating with the juiciest elote (sweet corn) with all the toppings that I can remember
-al pastor tacos at the Gordo truck, still only $1. While we waited, we stared at a huge pan of other meats that looked equally succulent. We were too full to try them. Anyone had their cabeza or buche?
-tostadas de camerones at La Costa. This being an R month, we also got 9 enormous oysters ($1 each), served with saltines.
New to me and recommended:
-I'd been curious about the Deep Roots Urban Teahouse, which is on 34th Avenue, just east of International. They serve 40 kinds of organic teas in a funky art gallery atmosphere. We collapsed on pillows on the floor. Our server came over and ceremoniously poured warm water to wash our hands. The couple at the next table discussed Supreme Court appointments and the war economy. Because of the heat, we had a tea sangria made from hibiscus and grape juice and another room temperature blend with honeybush (?). I'd love to return for the real tea. Prices are very modest. Several sandwiches and salads and cakes are offered too.
-Noticing the huarache toppings at La Torta Loca included huitlacoche and flor de calabeza, I ordered one with both. (Were they meant to be combined? I wasn't sure, but the menu did say "huitlacoche y flor de calabeza.") Regardless, both were winners. One of them was quite spicy.
-We dug into a cabeza taco long after we should have been full at the Ojo de Agua truck. Juicy, tender, and served with a sour green salsa. Jing loved it. We also got them to blend liquado flavors--banana chocolate, strawberry walnut. Cost a little extra but worth every penny.
Now why don't we have anything nearly this good in the city?