America’s Next Top Taco Truck: El Grullense

It’s Taco Tuesday which means it’s the most appropriate time for thenext edition of the  greatest excuse to eat tacos I’ve ever had…

America’s Next Top Taco Truck!

In today’s episode, my brother and I head all the way to just south of the Miracle Mile to visit Ell Grullense which occupies the vacant lot on the corner of Harding and Pacific/Madison.

lAs you can probably tell by the photo, the vacant lot on Harding is not El Grullense’s only location. It’s a chain of taco trucks that comes highly recommended throughout Stockton. Multiple people have suggested (which you can do too btw) trucks along the El Grullense chain, that’s why we picked it. I’ve never been so disappointed.

Before we get to the tacos, I have to comment on the atmosphere of this particular El Grullense. It too was once  the nearest taco truck to one of my many past Stockton residences. I avoided this taco truck like the plague. Partly because it was just a couple blocks too far from my house to constitute walking their regularly, and partly because every time I walked there I figured I might as well walk the half a block further to go to the infinitely more awesome Duck Nook across the street (It’s hard to describe the Duck Nook. Just go there and be amazed by their breakfast. And by the amount of ducks.). But mostly, I avoided El Grullense because of the posse of homeless people that hang out in that vacant lot. I have no problem dealing with homeless beggars, it’s part of the Stockton experience, but these dudes were persistent. We arrived with just enough money to afford our tacos and one guy managed to ask us for change multiple times throughout our 5 minute stay. I’m fine with being asked for change, but no means no, I don’t care if you mistook my keys for jingling change. My brother also added he “just didn’t like the guy” in the truck. He declined to elaborate.

$1.25!? That extra quarter better be worth it!

The menu at El Grullense is very basic, the pork is just pork instead of carnitas, which my brother informs me is different. Also, the tacos are a whole 25 cents more expensive than normal. It would be forgivable if the tacos were 25 cents more delicious than usual, but we’ll get to that. But hey, they have sodas! On to the tacos!

Ummm, yum?

I should preface the actual taco reviews with this, our tacos were incredibly burnt. I’m sure this isn’t the case most of the time, but for this review our meat was horribly overcooked. My brother Miguel partook in the pork and tongue tacos while I opted for beef and chicken. As the picture shows, onions make up a decent portion of the taco toppings. We assumed it was too many but were pleasantly surprised when it the toppings turned out perfect. The meat may have sucked (this time), but the toppings and sauce were top notch.

Now for the tough part. The pork tacos ranked a disappointing 4 on the Taco Fierceness Scale. As with most of the tacos, the meat was just distractingly dry. The tongue/lengua was a bit better, coming in at a slightly above average 6 out of 10. It clearly did not spend as much time on the grill as the rest of our tacos. The carne asada receives a charitable 4 with the Cajun style preparation being the culprit again, and the chicken tacos (also overcooked) limped it’s way to an average 5 rating.

I hate to be so negative based on one visit, but that’s the experience we had this time. El Grullense does have a great reputation and there’s a more than likely chance we just got a bad batch of tacos, but I call ’em like I taste ’em. Fry time aside, the sauce was excellent. Before we parted ways I asked my brother to rate the tacos on sauce/toppings alone and we both agreed that, taking meat out of the equation, the sauce and toppings could rate as high as an 8 on their own.

El Grullense has potential, but until further review we’re going to have to give them a 5 out of 10 on the Taco Fierceness Scale. The sauce is good, but the meat was over cooked and they gave us carrots instead of radishes (which admittedly is a personal preference thing).  When it all balances out, it’s an average Stockton taco truck experience. Good seasoning that you can’t get anywhere else, but sometimes you get burned.

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~ by Slick Diaz on August 3, 2010.

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