NEW ORLEANS — In the parking lot of a drive-thru daiquiri bar that sells frozen White Russians in plastic to-go cups, Fidel Sanchez is running an illegal enterprise that's too unwholesome to be tolerated, according to politicians here in suburban Jefferson Parish.
Sanchez is selling tacos out of a truck — and judging from the lunch-hour line outside Taqueria Sanchez el Sabrosito, many Louisianans have become fast fans of his flavorful carne al pastor and spicy pork chicharrones.
But not everyone is enamored of the newest cheap eats to captivate the Crescent City. Jefferson Parish politicians, who have long turned a blind eye to whites and blacks peddling shrimp out of pickup trucks and snow cones on the street, recently outlawed rolling Mexican-food kitchens, calling them an unwelcome reminder of what Hurricane Katrina brought. Soon, Sanchez will be run out of business.
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For some of us from L.A., and no doubt elsewhere, the ubiquitous taco trucks are the gold standard of street eats. Those things are everywhere. The food is prepared fresh right on the truck, and the fare is orders of magnitude better than the little 'roach coaches' that sell packaged food.
My favorite is a fried egg and cheese torta (aka 'sandwich') with chorizo or al pastor. If you go with tacos, about three of 'em'll make a meal, all of different flavors if you choose, at about a buck and a quarter a pop. I leave the lengua and buche alone, but there are plenty of choices.
The taco rigs are cheap, fast, delicious, and they either come to you or are easy to find. They're real time-savers at lunch or break time.
There's an 'American Dream' element in play here as well. There used to be a taco truck here in my little mountain town. Its operators have parlayed it into two quite popular small sit-down restaurants. They've expanded their menu, of course, but the favoritos de troka are still on it. I think the truck's up on blocks somewhere just in case...
It's too bad that Louisiana pols are using this issue to strike back at an increasing Latino population. Times change.