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New Oakland taco truck find: Casa Maria

Ruth Lafler | Aug 25, 200412:15 AM

Casing International yet again with an eye to another taco truck trek (stay tuned for the announcement shortly), I noticed that the uninspired Tio Tono truck parked in the lot in front of a derelict taqueria by the same name had been replaced by both a taco truck and a restaurant by the name of Casa Maria.

A couple of things caught my eye: first, the trucks (there were actually three: one in operation and two being cleaned and serviced) were emblazoned with the word "barbacoa" and pictures of sheep. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that's their specialty(vbg) -- weekends only. Second, the truck menu had quite a few items not normally found on taco trucks. And third, the sign outside the restaurant proclaimed: "Barbacoa dehorno estilo Hildalo, Texcocc, Toluca, D.F.Y Anexas" -- I have only a vague idea what that means, but I do know that "estilo" is not typical Fruitvale fare.

The restaurant didn't have any take out menus, but a brief persual identified some dishes not commonly found in local Mexican joints -- a whole menu section of enchiladas, including "en mole," for example.

Even though I wasn't at all hungry, I couldn't resist ordering a quesadilla from the truck. Not my normal order, but they seem to be a specialty with a range of fillings including flor de calabeza and huitlicoche. I ordered the former. What I received was clearly an authentic *something* although it didn't much resemble what I think of as a quesadilla. It was a thin disk of masa (or a hand-made tortilla) folded over a generous amount of filling made of flor de calabeza and goodness knows what else -- quite hot -- with just a small amount to Mexican cheese and some shredded lettuce. I picked out the lettuce (as far as I'm concerned the only redeeming qualities iceberg lettuce has are that it's cool and crisp, which putting it on hot food so it becomes warm and limp completely obviates). To be honest, I'm not sure I like the filling, although it could be if I were hungry it might be more appealing. But I think it's definitely worth going back to try again with one of their other fillings. For sure I'm going back to try the barbacoa.

Casa Maria
4021 International

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