For this week, I'm showcasing a truck that some might disparage as a corporate attempt to hone in on a grassroots movement, but being a Seattle-area native, I consider to be NW comfort food: Taco Time Traveler.
Two of the victims of the Capitol Hill condo-fication were the Taco Time on 15th Madison and the Taco Bell on Broadway. When I lived on 'the hill', I was a regular at both. Usually Taco Time during daylight hours (or a quick bite before going out on the town), while Taco Bell was my 2am, drunken indulgence. When Dan & I moved to South Seattle, one of the perks is that we have a Taco Time and not one but two Taco Bells in our area. I even brought Taco Bell to our friend Craig on his last birthday, as we were often together on those drunken visits to the Broadway TB. And both bring up childhood memories of getting the treat of having fast-food for dinner, and high school years spent at Taco Bell.
Given my love of both, I was super excited to see the Taco Time Traveler parking regularly in the SLU neighborhood. They have a very limited menu of crisp & soft tacos, crisp burritos, and tostada salads, plus Mexi-fries (Regular and Sweet Potato). My real weakness on the menu is the crisp burritos, but couldn't justify the calories, so I went for the classic Chicken Soft Taco ($5.50 with tax). I could tell you how it was, but if you've ever had one, you already know. Just like their brick & mortar restaurants, the food was consistently produced using fresh ingredients, and was just what I expected. The service was also really friendly - coming out of the truck to greet me and take my order, and with a table set up with hot sauce, napkins, etc.
On my second visit, I went for the Bean Tostada Salad ($7 with tax). I'm not sure I've ever ordered one at their restaurants, so wasn't sure what to expect. It apparently normally comes with Ranch Dressing, but I was given the option of hot sauce instead. It was a little sad for the price - a flour tortilla bowl with beans, shredded lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, black olives and hot sauce. I didn't intend to eat the fried bowl, but couldn't resist a few bites... which turned into half the bowl. Oh well. It's a salad, so it's healthy, right?
Say what you want about Taco Bell, but don't you dare disparage my Taco Time. They're a local, Seattle-born company celebrating 52 years since they opened their first store in White Center back in 1962. I'm happy to see they continue to evolve to match what customers want, and that I can get my fix here in SLU. It's worth noting that they give you enormous bags to carry your food away in, and as I carried the walking billboard into my building, it caught a lot of attention from folks excited about the prospect of Taco Time for lunch, too.