Tacos El Ranchero
900 W North Temple (parking lot of Century Cleaners)
4 out of 5 stars
So, back on the 4th of this lovely and strange month, Kelly rescued me from an unemployed funk day of being stuck in the house. Kelly is probably the most selfless person i know, and offered to pick me up and hit the town for some tacos. No man comes closer to the grace of Ghandi than Kelly. After getting in the taco-mobile, Kelly, sensing i was feeling a little down, asked me what my soul craved besides my girlfriend. I paused and looked out the window, realizing it was a beautiful day. I answered as i normally do: “Tacos…. How about this supposed Liberty Park taco stand?”.
By now, we know this mythical kitchen on wheels does exist, but at the time i was skeptical thinking that the city would never allow a taco stand in the park. I felt that this one was going to be hard to track down. As we drove around Liberty, we did not see anything resembling a mobile haven for tortillas and meats. However, we did spot a dry erase board on the side of the road that seemed to point somewhere off in the distance, maybe Narnia, maybe it was pointed towards hell (Provo), or maybe someone was playing tricks on us.
We decided we needed to hit this motherf*cker on foot, so we started walking around the park in search of it. We spotted another taco enthusiast in the park looking for this taco stand as well. He had expensive tracking equipment, and clearly had a 1-up on us.
Weary, tired and beaten down by “the man”, we gave up. “Screw this!” I say. So we do what anyone with an honest hunger for a taco would do. We went to one of the most deadly neighborhoods of Salt Lake, known for it’s presence of land mines, snipers and mean men sitting on couches on their front lawns with flame throwers. Kelly and I, however, are trained to handle these types of situations since we are professional taco eaters.
We used to work up the road from this spot at Microsoft Games Studios/Indiebuilt and would frequent East Seas restaurant, which is across the street from this lovely taco stand. Tacos El Ranchero is situated in the parking lot of a laundry mat. It may look a little intimidating. If you’re a true taco enthusiast you’ll find yourself standing before a lovely array of condiments consisting of one of the best quacamole sauces, salsas, cabbage and other nibbly things.
Since Kelly and I started working on this site, I made it a point to tell him that i was ready to take some changes and do things I haven’t done before. I promised him that i would sample every type of meat i came across, without fear. So to keep that promise, i ordered up two tasty Lengua (tongue) tacos, two Al Pastor, and two Carne Asada. After dressing my tacos i was ready to chow down on the lovely plate of food.
I love cucumbers, so i loaded up on quite a few. The first taco that was going to enter my mouth hole was the tongue taco. I’ve never made out with a cow before, so for a first time french kiss, i must say it was pretty damn good. Once i got past the somewhat sketchy texture, i let the taco do it’s little dance in my mouth. The tongue was tender and succulent, with flavors bursting from each cow taste bud i devoured. I highly recommend trying this if you never had. It tastes like the rest of the cow, kids. That, and you can tell your neighborhood friends you ate tongue and you still sleep at night without guilt.
Next up, i threw the Al Pastor tacos down the hatch. By comparison to Chungas Al Pastor, these don’t really get close to the wonderment that an Al Pastor taco from Chungas can do for your solar plexus. That aside, these were good. Very good, in fact. The red hot sauce kindly provided by the condiment table accompanied these quite nice. Be careful of the red sauce though, as it’s a bit hot in comparison to some other hot sauces I’ve come across at taco stands.
To finish things off, i end things with a solid standby, the Carne Asada tacos. The meat was flavorful, and seasoned wonderfully. It’s hard to do Carne Asada wrong, and the master chef at El Ranchero knows how to grill up this standard.
My belly satisfied, it was time to return back to reality. Kelly returned to work, and i went back to my cave. The feelings I had that day still stay with me, as i fondly look back on March 4th. It was a day i will never forget, and i will definitely try to repeat when i come back to the neighborhood. Tacos El Ranchero is one of the better taco stands in the downtown area. You really can’t go wrong with the street tacos produced here. A good friend, a sunny day, and a warm tortilla in your hand can do wonders for your body and soul. Go check it out.