“I like food more than people,” La Fantabulous owner Josie Paredes joked from behind the flat-top grill in her roving taco truck with the seductive mermaid on the side.
At least I think she was kidding.
But the former chef at J. Black’s, who also helped open the original Eddie V’s downtown, turns out juicy salmon that makes a strong argument for the case that she at least knows food as well as she does people. The thick fish, liberally salted, falls apart in pink slabs at the touch of a fork. And it’s the size of a small entree. The type of fish, buried in a spicy slaw mixture shimmering with a vinaigrette alive with jalapeno, rotates at the food truck that is stationed on Rainey Street at night and roves business parking lots during the daytime. Sometimes salmon, sometimes mahi mahi. Never tilapia. (My only gripe: I would have liked a lime to squeeze on my fish.)
The salmon is cradled in two corn tortillas straight from the bag. The same delivery system is used on toasty shrimp that taste like they must have something more going on than just Kosher salt, but Paredes says that’s all there is to it. That and knowing when to pluck those puckers from their sizzling dance to go on a taco dusted with queso fresco and that crunchy cabbage slaw. The shrimp tacos usually come with sections of mandarin, but with no fresh ones available, they were absent on this day. And Paredes wasn’t about to scoop them from a can.
The salsas are both green, and though the smooth avocado carries the “spicy” moniker, the glowing salsa verde has that grass fire kick that sneaks in on the back end. They worked with interchangeable ease on both tacos. Paredes, who gets much of her inspiration from time spent bouncing around Cabo, says she will introduce blue corn tortillas to the menu on February 1.
In addition to the roster of tacos that includes achiote and veggie-friendly bean tacos, the menu also offers occasional specials, like green chili pork quesadillas (on flour) that manage to keep the meat moist despite the gooey embrace of melted cheese.
Paredes also operates a monthly pop-up dinner series called Nelly Nights. The next event will be on Valentine’s Day at 7 p.m. at Nest Modern. The dinner will feature aphrodisiac foods from Mexico. You can purchase tickets here.
Hours: Check the La Fantabulous Facebook page for times and daytime locations.
- Fish tacos, two for $9
- Shrimp tacos, two for $9
- Green chili pork quesadilla, $8