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New taco discoveries on International Blvd., Fruitvale, Oakland (long)

David Boyk | Aug 2, 200505:12 AM

Cyrus Farivar and I went on a little taco crawl a couple of weeks ago and, alongside a couple disappointing places like La Chiquita Grande, made two good discoveries. One was El Rebozo Blanco (The White Shawl), at 3215 International. I'd been there before on a previous crawl, and I posted at the time about the delicious chorizo tacos I got from the cart they have in front, which you can see in its unmanned state in the picture I linked below. However, I can't find that post anymore, and I don't think anyone replied at the time, anyway. The cart was gone when we went, but the chorizo tacos (sín papas, but you can also get them with potatoes, if you like) were still very good: light and not overly spicy. The adobado was also fabulous, and decked out, like the chorizo, with fantastic, well-caramelized grilled onions. They were out of horchata, but the sandia agua fresca (watermelon juice) was very sweet and pretty good. The only problem was that the tortillas in the tacos were a bit old and crusty.

We also went to Cinco de Mayo, at 3438 International. Pretty much all the signs are obscured by trees and whatever, except for a painted sign on the window that says "PUPUSAS," but you can see a picture below. We didn't try the pupusas, but we did have a fantastic taco de birria, which seemed like legit birria de chivo (goat stew), good and red and warming to the heart. The al pastor taco was also very good, a bit sweet. The guy was very friendly, but didn't seem to speak any English. They also had a nice plate out, with sliced habañero chiles, onions and some other goodies.

Before those, we tried a new taco place - can't remember the name, but it's at about 3441 International, next to a jeweler, which is on the corner, and opposite from Four Star Pizza and Taqueria. It's all plasticky and serves things like "pollo con salsa teriyaki," and the tacos weren't very good. At the end of our crawl, though, when we were all out of room for anything but dessert, which as everyone knows goes in a separate stomach anyway, we went on a quest for churros down in the uncharted territories at about 40th St. We didn't find any, though, so we came back to this place, because we'd seen a sign there advertising churros for 95 cents. We ordered one, contending with the excessively jokey owner who kept elbowing us in the ribs, trying to get us to laugh at his practical jokery with the painter who was working on a garish mural. It took forever to come, since they had to squeeze the dough through a pasta cutter-type machine, but in the end, it was delicious. Plus, it wasn't an "it," but a "they" - three or four mondo churros, about two inches in diameter. If sugar was snow, they would have been the Alps, and about as craggy, too - they were pretty much entirely surface area, with deep furrows for maximum external crispiness, but with a great, mushy, sweet inside.



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