El Maestro del Taco serenades the taste buds

Food trucks seem to be everywhere these days. Any trip to a somewhat populated city center inevitably turns up a couple of the mini-restaurants on wheels, usually feeding a line of loyal followers. To me, food trucks bring up images of greasy, authentic and oh-so-satisfying food. It was with these thoughts in my head that I took my first visit to a food truck in years.

Located in Crossroads on the intersection of NE 8th street and 156th, El Maestro del Taco specializes in lightning-fast Mexican food, churning out tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas, sopas and more to its patrons.

El Maestro del Taco struck me most as a charming little pocket of Mexican culture in the middle of the Pacific Northwest. Not only are traditional Mexican foods served, Mexican snacks of all kinds are also available for purchase, most of which seemed very alien to me. All the fun of travelling and checking out crazy snack food, available right in the middle of Crossroads.

Multiple types of meats are served, including the familiar beef, pork and chicken. For the adventurous eater, cow tongue and cow cheek are likewise served. I ended up springing for three tacos at $1.50 each, one regular beef, one tongue and one cheek. Judging by the approval of a fellow diner, I ordered the right thing.

The tacos were nothing like the Americanized grocery-store supplied creations I make at home, but something else entirely. Meat, onions and cilantro were all that stood on the tortilla, with some radish slices for garnish, hot peppers for spice, a slice of lime for squeezing and some salsa on the side.

Without a doubt, the tacos were some of the best I’ve had. Simple meat with a little vegetable crunch satisfied beyond belief. Hours later I was shocked that only a trio of smallish tacos kept me feeling full for so long. The more exotic meats added a wonderful texture to the taco, I only regret they didn’t have tripe available to complete the trifecta of underrated yet amazing meat options.

I have no idea just how authentic El Maestro’s food is. Never having been close to Mexico, my experience is rather lacking. Judging by the clientele and how ravenously they devoured their dishes however, I’m willing to bet the tacos were more authentic than anything I’ve had in a while.

El Maestro del Taco has undoubtedly made a fan out of me. I plan to return and sample all the dishes they serve, with all the possible combinations of meats. For a relatively cheap and immensely satisfying meal close to BC and Bellevue proper, nothing else has come close. Even my love of Asian food has been challenged.

My usual go-to at Crossroads is Thai or pho, but I foresee a great deal of tacos, burritos, tortas and Mexican snack foods in my future.

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