Thursday, December 17, 2009

I-5 Eats: Faster Fast Food at the El Taco Sinaloa Truck

Are you planing a holiday trip up north this season? Anyone who drives from LA to the Bay Area knows the long and culinarily depressing stretch that is I-5. From the Grapevine to the 580, there is precious little to eat close to the interstate. There are the big fast food chains, the alluring but always disappointing Harris Ranch and the hokey, substandard Apricot Tree and Anderson's Pea Soup joints. There are a few In-n-Outs on either side of the trek, but none stationed in the vast middle.

But on my last trek, we found something more. After putting some good miles down, we pulled off at the Apricot Tree exit, hoping for the possibility of finding something edible on its sad, sad menu when we saw it: a lone taco truck parked in a huge vacant lot with rows of tires lined up along the back of the lot. El Taco Sinaloa sits at the edge of the lot closest to the road alongside a table with a single bench. The clientele seemed to be a mix of locals who knew the place and Latino truck drivers.

I don't know that I've ever been so glad to see a taco truck, and a good one at that. El Taco Sinaloa offers a simple version of standard taco truck fare. The pastor taco had nicely crisped chunks of pastor, the plump bits of lengua were cubed almost to a brunoise, and the carne asada was also nice and crispy; the tortillas on the tacos were crisp and fresh and the salsa verde was citrusy and well seasoned if not too spicy.

A simple taco truck perhaps, but also some of the best I-5 exit food between LA and the Bay, and faster and cheaper than the fast food chains to boot. It will surely be my regular stop; let's hope it stays parked right there.

El Taco Sinaloa
I-5 exit 368 (Panoche Road - same exit as the Apricot Tree)
East side of the Interstate in the big lot with the tires along the back
Firebaugh, CA


Anonymous said...

There's another taco truck on I-5 that has been around for years. This one is on the East side of the Highway 58 exit (Buttonwillow), just north of the northbound exit. This is about 120 miles N. of LA. It also beats most fast food choices.

Also, your claim about being no In-n-outs in the "vast middle" is inaccurate. The Kettleman City (Highway 41)franchise is 170 miles north of LA and around 210 miles south of SF. Believe me, I've counted.

Geoff said...

I looked for this truck on Wednesday February 10th at around 4 pm. No sign of it, unfortunately. Not sure whether they've moved on or if I was just there at the wrong time.

sku said...

Uh oh. That's the thing about trucks I guess. Hopefully it will reemerge.