A Little Hawaiian Vocabulary - We're here on the Big Island again (visiting Kona), and it struck me that knowing a few Hawaiian words can come in handy while visiting the islands. Aloha ...
Friday, July 5, 2013
I'd always been intimidated by the long lines that grow at Tacos El Tajin starting very early. But what I never observed was just how quickly that line moves. As I learned on my first visit there this week, they are a well oiled machine!
One person takes orders and relays them to the people cooking from the first window at the back of the truck. Orders are called out as they are ready from a second window, midway down the truck. Then a third guy, standing curbside next to a condiment table, focuses only on payments. The whole thing went so smoothly that before I made it to pay, I had my tacos in hand. It looked like more complex orders might take a bit longer, but I didn't see anyone waiting long.
Their menu is also designed for speed, with their 10 menu items numbered and with clear pricing right where you need them and big enough (and not in someone's handwriting) so that it's easily read. There are five meat choices (Asada - Steak, Pollo - Chicken, Al Pastor - Spice Pork, Carnitas - Refried Pork, Lengua - Tongue), all with English translations. Sides are available to customize your choice, but also kept to a short list: rice, beans, avocado, cheese and extra meat. Only the drink menu is somewhat long. I figured I'd start at the top, and go for the #1: 4 tacos for $5 special.
I went with my taco truck standby, the lengua (tongue) as my first taco choice, on two tacos. I decided two meats would be the best option, so I'd be sure I knew which was which. 4 different meats can get a little confusing, I've learned. The lengua was tender and flavorful, and the start of the tacos, with just cilantro, onion and lime wedges to accompany them in the small double-corn tortillas. Of course, I couldn't resist the super-hot sauce (in the yellow bottle), plus some tomatillo salsa and crema. Even with a little crema, I was feeling the heat for awhile after eating.
I also went for Chicken tacos, which were on the dry side, so I'll probably stick with lengua or try the pork options in the future. I'll be heading back soon to try a torta, most likely... or maybe just more delicious and quick tacos.