New York On A Nickel A Day Pt 1: Taco Truck

Oh, think of all the lemon drops, peanut brittle, and ginger whips you could buy!

I certainly can relate to not having enough ready money to fill one’s little tum-tum, so with that in mind I thought I’d point out my favorite places for wayward waifs of today to eat for cheap.

In the 21st Century, one of the best cheap things to eat in NYC is tacos. If you want really good deals, you need to go out to either Sunset Park in Brooklyn or out to Queens where there are good spots lining the 7 train from Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, out to Corona.

If you are in Manhattan, occasionally the cheap taco spots of Queens will come to you, in the form of taco trucks.  Tacos El Idolo out of Corona is one of those trucks. I believe they actually have a few trucks. I’ve seen one on 6th Ave by West 4th St,  but the one I go to is parked on the NE corner of 14th and 8th.

They have a pretty extensive menu, but I’ll do you a favor and walk you through it. First off, DON”T GET A FUCKING BURRITO.  Southern Mexicans are the ones doing the cooking here and they don’t eat burritos. I have literally eaten here about 100 times and I have never seen a Mexican eating a burrito.  Stoners eat burritos. Off duty architects on track bikes on their way to a social media app workshop buy burritos. Girls powering up before a league game in kickball eat burritos.  Bros walking around shirtless in Manhattan in cross-training sneakers and soccer shorts who just finished training for a 10k eat burritos. That’s why the burrito is on the menu here. Fuck that shit and get yourself a Milenesa de Pollo Torta. It’s the best chicken cutlet sandwich you’ll ever have.

For a long time, my go-to meal there was two tostadas; one tinga and one al pastor.  Tinga is a spicy chicken, with a heavy chipotle flavor that almost tastes like barbecue. Al Pastor is pork traditionally cooked on a spit in the style of a Middle Eastern schwarma, flavored with pineapple. Alot of places skimp on the pineapple, but El Idolo has finely chopped chunks in theirs, which adds a nice taste. They have no spit there, as far as I can see, but it’s a truck for chrissakes. Oh, and for some reason the Al Pastor is not on the menu, but they always have it. The tostadas are a flat hard shell, smeared with refried beans, your meat of choice, and topped with lettuce, tomato, cotija cheese , and crema fresca (that nice, drizzly sour cream). The tomato and the crema cut the greasiness and saltiness of the meat and make it feel more like meal @ 2.50 a pop.

For the really broke amongst the brethren, they have tamales for 1.50 each. The chicken with red sauce is my favorite, and unlike some places there’s a nice ratio of chicken to cornmeal. No big bites filled with nothing but cornmush.

Most of the tacos are good, I haven’t gone all Food Network Bald Fat Guy and had the ear, tripe, or tongue, but the chorizo, chicken, and carne asada are all solid (though any of the beef options tend to be a little salty for me personally).  If you are really trying to fill up, I’d get a gordita instead of a taco, as it costs the same but the gordita shell is thicker.  The flautas are a decent deal for 4 bucks: 4 rolled and deep fried taquitos topped with crema, lettuce, avocado, and tomato. Also, I have no idea if the enchiladas are good or not as they cost 9 fucking dollars.

About peter

musings about music, culture, food, and more... twittering, tumbling, and instagramming: @PgunnNYC
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