Talking tacos at Taqueria Tamaulipas | Rock Candy

Talking tacos at Taqueria Tamaulipas




You learn something about yourself when you eat at a taco truck. Are you the kind of person who prefers the luxury of padded seating, air conditioning, or a waiter to talk you through a menu when you dine? Or are you content with a tasty morsel no matter what conditions it is served under, perhaps inhaled from the front seat of your Honda Accord? Are you comfortable eating in sometimes questionable locales, the parking lot of a pawn shop, behind a now abandoned Blockbuster video? Or do you prefer the valet-serviced glitz of a swanky downtown hotel restaurant? Taco trucks speak to everyone differently and are adored by patrons in nearly every city in the nation for their cheap, often authentic food, with each new truck holding the hope that this latest find will the greatest hidden treasure in town. Some truck locations move daily but some tend to stay planted, allowing their fans an opportunity to get their fix without the need to constantly stalk a Twitter feed. Taco trucks and trailers are essentially the granddaddies of all mobile dining, they have been in the business for a long time, but they manage to stay relevant and popular today due to their ability to offer patrons a quick, delicious lunch in an environment that welcomes all comers...if you've got the cash, they've got the tacos.

It helps to know some solid folks on Twitter, as they can be invaluable when needing to find a secret gem to grub out. I recently posed a question to Twitterworld, asking where the best tacos can be found in Little Rock, as I was seriously jonesing for some tortilla love. Luckily, I was provided with many-an-option, adding to my steadily growing list of Mexican restaurants and shops to try. This week, I decided to stop by Taqueria Tamaulipas, a trailer parked in Sherwood near the parking lot of a Walmart, just the kind of place I would expect to find brilliantly done Mexican food.

The set-up is familiar. An indiscrete, no frills white trailer parked in the lot of an antiques shop just off Highway 107 in Sherwood. A solitary wooden picnic table rests under a small makeshift awning, shading a few lucky patrons from the heat as they wait patiently for their promised culinary gold. The cash-only menu is decorated with classic Mexican favorites, burritos, tortas, gorditas, hamburguesas, and tamales...but I came for one thing only, the great equalizer…the tacos. Tacos are offered in 7 or 8 filling varieties, with the usual adornments which includes cilantro, raw chopped white onion, red or green salsa, a wedge of lime, and grilled onion slices, all wrapped up in a corn tortilla. Fillings include chicken and steak, marinated pork, chicharron (pork skin), or desebrada (shredded beef). I ordered up four ($1.50 each) and took my spoils to enjoy in the front seat of my car.

These were beautifully done tacos. First, the tender corn tortillas were perfect. Lightly coated in oil and thrown on the flattop, the result is a tortilla just on the edge between crispy and flimsy. Enough crunch to support the fillings, but tender enough to remain soft and supple with each bite. The addition of the translucent, grease coated grilled onion slices was a welcome accent. These onions were caramelized on the edges, slightly sweet and aromatic...delicious enough to eat on their own, but perfect in a taco. Of the tacos I tasted, the marinated pork was by far the show-stopper. The spicy pork came bathed in a bright red sauce that danced over the tongue like tiny flavor fairies in the springtime. The chicharron taco also delivered a rich, fatty pork flavor that coats the tongue as it slides down the old pie hole. Their pollo and carne asada made noteworthy appearances, but unfortunately the desebrada was sold out by the time I had placed my order.

For such an inconspicuous, unassuming taco joint, I was surprised how quickly the line grew given the less than optimal temperatures outside. But good food waits for no one and even the awesome power of Mother Nature will not stop a valiant taco hunter on a mission to sample the best a city has to offer. Taqueria Tamaulipas may not look like much from the outside, but once sampled, you’ll never be able to pass by this stretch of road again without experiencing uncontrollable taco cravings.

Taqueria Tamaulipas
8715 Highway 107
Sherwood, AR

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