Tag Archives: barbacoa

REVIEW – Tacos Don Martin (in Sugarhouse!!!)

Tacos Don Martin stands as a guard which watches over the glorious Sugarhole in Sugarhouse.

Tacos Don Martin stands as a guard which watches over the glorious Sugarhole in Sugarhouse.

Tacos Don Martin

Highland Drive and roughly 2150 South

(right in front of the Sugarhole in Sugarhouse; across the street from the library and Barnes and Noble)

3.5 out of 5 stars


Slctacos.com is back.  I apologize for a bit of a lull in taco journalism, but since last year I was nearly robbed of my entire summer I decided to grab the summer of 2009 by the reigns to make sure I could enjoy it as much as possible.

But this post is not the true miracle I want to talk about this evening.  Tonight I want to talk about how dreams come true.  Some of you remember that I have lamented the fact that while in the past there was a pre-SUGARHOLE taco stand in Sugarhouse.  I actually scribbled this on the top of my Christmas list to Santa :

“a taco stand in sugarhood”

Christmas has come early for this young man because now there street tacos which are walking distance from his home!  What else could you want?  You wanted a burrito?  Tacos Don Martin has you covered.  Oh, you want a vampiro?  Tacos Don Martin has those too!  Excuse me, you wanted a full plate of asada? Done.  Tacos Don Martin is back.  It may very well be the driving force which revitalizes the heart of Sugarhouse.


The SUGARHOLE in March, 2009.  Notice the lack of buildings, but more importantly notice the lack of TACOS!!!

The SUGARHOLE in March, 2009. Notice the lack of buildings, but more importantly notice the lack of TACOS!!!

Years from now, our children will be sitting in class and learning about history.  They will learn about the settlers of the Salt Lake valley and they will learn about how Obama made good on his promise in 2011 for every child to have his own jetpack.

Even more importantly, they will learn about the magnificent return of street tacos to Sugarhouse.  They will read about the events leading up to this : Wallstreet greed, credit shortages, recession, and finally SUGARHOLE.  Finally they will read about the singular event which changed Sugarhouse as we know it and ultimately ended the Recession in the United States.  This event is the return of tacos with the opening of Tacos Don Martin.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  You are a taco enthusiast and you want to know more about the tacos.  Taco Enthusiast Dr. Wilkin was the same way when I called him up a few weeks back.  He was chomping at the bit to try out the tacos at this new stand, so we decided to make a date of it.  Dr. Wilkin is a medical doctor and the only thing he loves more than saving lives is eating tacos.  Dr. Wilkin leads a fast-paced life of medical breakthroughs sprinkled with miraculous events of saving the lives of orphans.  Since his time is precious, I was sure to be on time when I walked down the street to his home for our taco adventure.


FILE PHOTO : Dr Wilkin on another taco.  He works hard, but he plays even harder.

FILE PHOTO : Dr Wilkin on another taco adventure. He works hard, but he plays even harder.

We arrived at the taco stand on a beautiful summer evening as the sun was setting over the rugged shores of the Sugarhole.  We looked over the menu for a bit and decided to get down to business.  Here are a few items on the menu and their prices.  This is definitely one of the cheaper places to dine in Sugarhouse :

Tacos – $1

Vampiros – $1.50

Plato de Asada – $6

For those curious of what styles of tacos served here, the list is as follows :

Asada, Al Pastor, Carnitas, Pollo, Cabeza, Buche, Barbacoa, Chicharron, Birria, Lengua, Tripa


Dr Wilkin unwinds at the taco stand while other taco goers try to jump into the frame amidst serious taco journalism

Dr Wilkin unwinds at the taco stand while other taco goers try to jump into the frame amidst serious taco journalism

Our tacos were good.  For some reason I didn’t take any photos.  Maybe I was starving.  Maybe I was giddy that there was a taco stand in Sugarhouse.  Maybe I was laughing with a fellow taco customer next to me and the stand owner  when some other “gringo” walked away with paying.

At any rate, I enjoyed the Carnitas and the Barbacoa most.  The Al Pastor was also tasty and I will definitely order it again as I continue to revel in street food in Sugarhood.

Tonight I stopped by the stand and had a quick Barbacoa taco while I asked the stand owner how business was going.  She said that it is up and down.  Some good days and some very slow days.  I was surprised when she told me that her busiest time of the day is at lunch.  I would have assumed more people at night since I often see quite a few standing around when I drive down Highland.  If you want to make an order to go, or have them cater a party, you can call the number above and they can set you up with some delicious treats.

Reading the lettering on the stand at Don Martin, you wonder to yourself if they can live up to the claim of serving up street delights “a la altura de su buen gusto“.  In this humble reporter’s opinion, I believe that they do make delicious tacos at the height of your great taste.  Sugarhouse is back on the map!


REVIEW – Tacos El Ranchero

Standing outside Taco El Ranchero.  A North Temple institution

Standing outside Taco El Ranchero. A North Temple institution

Tacos El Ranchero

Taco Stand

900 W North Temple (parking lot of Century Cleaners)

4 out of 5 stars

For many years I worked at a place of business near the SLC airport and during this time I learned about the available food options round abouts.  The first location was in the Salt Lake International Center.  There’s a gas station there with potato logs and there’s also a “food” court there called the Admiral’s Galley which offers a man nothing but a serious case of the ol’ galley stomach.  Want to know what that is?  Ask a pirate.

The other location I grew to love was North Temple.  Co-workers and I tried places up and down North Temple when one day we noticed there was a taco stand buried behind a crowd of cars, vans and fellow taco enthousiasts.  This stand is Tacos El Ranchero.

Noyens tacos from Tacos El Ranchero.  I cant even remember what he ordered.

Noyen's tacos from Tacos El Ranchero. I can't even remember what he ordered. Today I have failed you as a taco journalist. Maybe Noyen remembers?

I recently spoke to the good hombre named Martin who owns the stand.  Martin is from the town of Chihuahua and told me that Tacos El Ranchero has served taco lovers at this location for over 4 years.   The stand currently resides in the parking lot of Century Cleaners but Martin tells me while the cart itself has only been at this location for 4 years, it has already seen 10 years of active service.  So this taco cart is a veteran.  Possibly even a general.

I give this general a ranking of 4 well earned stars to add to its decorated career.  Let me show you the delicious tacos I enjoyed there :

Clockwise from the top : Al Pastor, Barbacoa, Carnitas, Lengua

Clockwise from the top : Al Pastor, Barbacoa, Carnitas, Lengua

I’ve been to this taco stand a couple times in the last 3 weeks.  I went once with Rob Tennant whilst helping with an article about taco stands for City Weekly.  Then I came back with Noyen since we hadn’t been to this place in a long time (we worked together at our place of work near the airport).  On the first visit with Rob I tried the barbacoa and fell in love.  This is one of the best barbacoa tacos I have tried at a stand in SLC.  Delicious stuff and very tender.  I don’t often order this one, but I had to try it again a second time and it was worth the repeat.

The Al Pastor was also delicious.  It’s certainly not as sweet as the Al Pastor you get a few blocks away at Chunga’s, but that might be a plus for some taco readers and I do believe this is the best Al Pastor I’ve had at an outdoor stand in the last year.  I’m looking forward to having another one of these.  Finally, the carnitas were a savory delight and the lengua was tender, but neither was as great as the Barbacoa or Al Pastor.

Vans (left), Tacos El Ranchero (middle), church (right)

Vans (left), Tacos El Ranchero (middle), church (right)

So go hop down to North Temple and say hello to Martin and his smiling helpers.  On these trips I only had room for tacos, but I have to recommend their tortas as well.  I used to have their tortas back in the day when I worked closer to this area.  So go have a taco and a torta.  While you’re at it, feel free to drop off your dry cleaning at Century Cleaners.

REVIEW – Tacos Alex

I've been to Tacos Alex for at least a couple years now. To this day it is delicious.

Tacos Alex

Taco Stand

3500 S. 3872 W.

North side of 3500 S, In the parking lot of Los Feliz

4 out of 5 stars

It’s been at least two years since I had been to Tacos Alex.  A friend of mine first brought me there one summer night to celebrate and try what he said were his favorite taco cart in Salt Lake.  While I was in the area this week I stopped in and decide to try it out again as part of a TACO SHOWDOWN between this cart and “Tacos El Jaripeo” which does business directly across 3500 S.

In an effort to be fair I made sure to try 2 of the same style of tacos : 1 al pastor and 1 lengua.  Besides these, I asked the cook which taco they felt was a good representation of their food.  The two people working at Tacos Alex told me that I should try the barbacoa so I agreed and ordered one of those.  The old woman cooking also asked me if I wanted cebollitas and told her that some onions sounded great.

While I was waiting for my food, I asked them if I could take a few pictures for a review of the taco stand.  They gave me a confused and nervous look.  They asked why and I told them that I was a taco journalist covering all the taco stands possible in Salt Lake City.  They still looking a bit confused and did not quite believe me (I left my taco journalist badge at home that night).  Finally I paraphrased my goals of the site which I have outlined here.  After this, they were excited.  They quickly asked for the web address and wrote it down saying they were excited to check it out.

1 al pastor, 1 barbacoa, 1 lengua. Also featured is a big fat pepper and some delicious onions up top.

They handed over my tacos and I dug in.  First I tried the al pastor.  It was good but nothing terribly exciting.  Flavorful, but more or less medium.  When I asked them how their pastor was, they seemed to admit with a bit of a shrug that it was not their best taco.  Then I tried the lengua which was much better.  The meat was very tender and was very juicy without being full of grease.  The lengua was delicious with a few of the large onions in there.  At last I tried the barbacoa.  One of the best barbacoa tacos I’ve had in town.  Delicious.  I don’t remember that I’ve ever tried the barbacoa at this stand before but I will definitely order this one from now on.

Tacos Alex also has a large menu of Tortas on the right of the window.  Next time I will have to try some of these like the Milanesa. The prices at Tacos Alex are very reasonable.  I had 3 tacos for $2.50 which is a much better price than what you pay these days around the Sears \ 800 S State area.

So check it out.  Hopefully the owners of the stand read this review and are happy with them.  I will definitely be stopping in more on Monday nights since I will now be teaching and English class very close to Tacos Alex.