One of the things I love about New York City is that every day can hold something new. A new restaurant in TriBeCa, a new show on Broadway, a new friend. You never know what might be waiting just around the corner. Fortunately, however, there are some constants that keep our heads from spinning right off and flying into the East River — these constants are usually people, more than places (after all, even Balducci’s closed, and I thought that place would be around forever). Of course, even people have this magical ability to relocate themselves from Manhattan (a skill I’ve yet to acquire, it seems). When said people come back for a visit, I generally do everything I can to spend as many waking moments with them before they disappear to that other place…outside of New York. Somewhere. They think it’s sweet and that I want to get my fill of them in the short time they’re here, but my ulterior motive is to barrage them with the fabulosity of New York and convince them to move back.
My latest victim: C-Lo, who decided to drop in from Australia for a week and some. She and I studied abroad together with B-Ji and Nat Osborn. Nat, being the rockstar that he is, had a gig later that night for which he had to prepare so it was just C-Lo, B-Ji and myself that evening when we met for happy hour at Bua (where, coincidentally I ran into another friend on layover to London). After Bua, we strolled down 1st Avenue and across Houston and stumbled across Tacombi, the taco truck stand at Fonda Nolita (on Elizabeth St, btwn Houston and Prince).
Taqueria. Tacos. Tickets. String lights. It’s ho-down meets drive-in movie (a Woody Allen film projected on the wall). There’s a counter, at which you buy your tickets ($4/ticket, virtually everything on the menu is priced at 1 ticket). Across the way is the taco truck itself, an old VW van w/the top cut off and the insides converted into a kitchen out of which a man serves you up your taco, ordered from the chalkboard menu behind him. They’re tiny but filling, and they don’t mess around when they claim something is spicy. The whole process is a little confusing at first, no lie, and there is some mystery about the availability of beverages. I could have used some water as, following B-Ji’s example I had poured the condiment sauce all over my beef taco which rendered my tongue a burning mass of…tongue (it was on fire, basically).
I won’t say it was the best taco I’ve ever had — I think I actually made the best taco I’ve ever had, and it was pretty hard to beat. But the guy in the Tacombi VW Van knows what he’s doing and for the barnyard experience in the middle of NoLIta, it’s worth $10 and a saunter downtown.
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