The Melrose Trading Post is a lot of fun. It’s nowhere near as vast as the swap meet at the Rose Bowl, but it’s close to home and most definitely has it’s own charm. There is one stand that always has wonderful, vintage kitchen things – specifically 60s-70s Pyrex bake-ware. I also love to shop for vintage cookbooks there.
I was elated to receive a Tweet informing me that celebrity chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger's, Border Grill Truck would be there this Sunday, and they almost never leave the West side of town. It seemed so fortuitous that I would be able to spend my Sunday both shopping for fun kitcheny stuffs and try out the extrasolar Border Grill Truck. And even more exciting, my roommate, Chris, met me there! This way I can try more items on the menu (and enjoy his delightful company).
The woman taking my order – upon being asked for suggestions – listed about a dozen menu items that were extraordinary. And as usual, this was not really that helpful. There was a chilequiles special that looked dynamite (and was one of the woman’s suggestions), but it seemed messy and a bit ambitious for food truck fare, so I passed. I ended up ordering the Green Corn Tamal ($4), the Carne Asada Quesadilla ($5), and the Crispy Baja Fish Taco ($3). There were a lot more things I would have liked to try on the, very sharp looking, menu. But as I appear more zaftig with each passing food truck day, I stopped myself.
The food is a modern (and successful) twist on traditional Mexican and Latin American cuisine. The tamal was served in a snow cone cup, with a fork, which I find to be an extremely clever solution to, otherwise, sloppy eatables. The sweet corn was topped with crema and salsa fresca, and it was delectable and fun to eat.
The fish taco was the opposite of the tamal in the tidy department, but was so effing good, that it mattered not. Both Chris and I found that this myriad of flavors provided a perfect piquancy. It’s chipotle honey and creamy salsa fresca granted us with both sweetness and spice, and the pickled cabbage was a wonderful surprise. All elements worked brilliantly with the hot and crispy, fried fish.
The carne asada quesadilla was my least favorite item, but was, by no means sub par. I found the meat could have been a bit more tender and I would have liked its marinade to stand out more. I enjoyed the carmelized onion and guajillo salsa, adding a nice essence and adornment to the carne asada. While the tortilla was cooked perfectly in its crispness, the actual quesadilla was not hot.
With thoughtful presentation and solid food, and all for $13 for two people to find themselves entirely sated, the Border Grill Truck has got it going on. I will have to say that these “Too Hot Tamales” just can’t seem to go wrong.