I’ve eaten at hundreds of establishments around town. I’ve spent hours reading menus, digesting branding and analyzing curb appeal. It has given me the ability to do some quick-glance analysis about places. I think Malcolm Gladwell must have a chapter about it in one of his books.
Often I’m right. Quite often I’m wrong. And, I’m just as happy being wrong as I am being right.
All of which is to say, I was wrong about Capital Taco.
I don’t even know what it was about the trailer that I was suspect of. Probably several things at work: The fire-engine-red trailer looked a little too pristine, too boring. Its name and logo seemed too cute, too generic, almost like a taco trailer plucked from a movie set. And it was sandwiched between Austin’s Pizza and Corner Bar, neither places I choose to visit with much frequency. It all just seemed a bit forced, a bit odd, a bit … off.
Yep, I was wrong.
When I see a food trailer menu as big as the one at Capital Taco, I get a little nervous. Can they really pull off ginger chicken, brisket and migas tacos? Here they can. The order started with the standard first question: Do you make any of your tortillas? The nice gentlemen answered “no,” but with a grin that seemed to say, “I understand they are usually better that way, but wait until you taste what I’ve got cookin’.”
He was right to grin. I have little use for white meat chicken, but this bird was wrapped in a flour tortilla bursting with bold flavor, from the fierce little bits of piquant ginger to a tart salve of sour cream, floral cilantro and chunks of ripe mango that could be at home in a first-rate fruteria.
Having good neighbors can mean an extra set of eyes on your place when you’re gone, or a cup of borrowed sugar when you’re in need. For Capital Taco and Brown’s BBQ, it means one of the best brisket tacos in town. Capital’s taco packs lean and fatty cuts of the excellent meat from the neighboring bright red trailer, and isn’t afraid to leave its own mark, shoving the $4 taco full of hunks of avocado, shredded mozzarella and pickled jalapenos. It’s a delicious mess. And almost enough to make a meal in and of itself.
I saw the words “turkey” and “mole” and got a little worried. I envisioned slightly dried and stringy meat in a thick, heavy-handed sauce. What I got was juicy shreds of turkey bathed in nimble mole whispering notes of winter spice and chocolate. The pickled jalapenos and cilantro brightened the dusky dance of meat and sauce.
And, though the breakfast hour was behind us, given the accomplishments of the other tacos, I had to try the migas. Good call. The robust twirl of eggs dotted with tomatoes encased crunchy tortilla strips and gooey cheese. A touch more salt and pepper and we’re talking one of the best of its kind in town.
Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention. I had intended to hit another taco place this morning and found out it had closed. So, after some quick thinking and recalling a Twitter exchange between two taco lovers I respect, I decided to hit the nearby taco trailer. Capital Taco is the closest taco purveyor to my house. I have driven by it thousands of times without stopping. I won’t be making the same mistake in the future. Being wrong never tasted so right.