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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tamarindo Truck

Tamarindo Truck
Various OC Locations
(714) 640-9371

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The food truck craze is starting to come full circle now. For years there were the dime-a-dozen taco trucks that would show up at construction sites, warehouses, some office buildings, etc. When Kogi started a little over three years ago they were Korean food fused with Mexican but still mostly Korean. Then other "gourmet" trucks (at least more "gourmet" than the roach coaches) started up and many of them had nothing to do with Mexican food apart from the odd taco and burrito here and there, usually with non-traditional fillings. Now, in just the last couple months a couple trucks have started up that feature what is pretty much straight up Mexican food but operating at a level with the so-called gourmet trucks out there that attract rabid foodies from miles around. A shining example of just such a truck is Tamarindo Truck, who recently agreed to the following interview with us:
How and when did you first get the concept for the truck?
We were traveling in Mexico for the better part of last year and no matter how many delicious acclaimed Mexican restaurants we ate at (and enjoyed) we always found ourselves coming back to street food. It didn't matter if it was a stand selling tacos, mariscos or tortas, there was something very true about them all. It wasn't fancy or a "reinvention of the wheel" but it was damn good. Real food for real people made with generations of care. You could taste it and you could feel it. That's what inspired us to get back to basics, bring some delicious food to the streets of Orange County and serve it up with a little love. To this day the compliments that stick in our minds the most are the ones that revolve around home, people saying that eating our food reminds them of their childhood or makes them remember their mothers, grandfathers, sisters, etc. As a cook there is nothing better than that.

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How long from conception to reality?
The hardest part for us was finding a truck that suited our needs. We take pride in buying fresh and cooking everything from scratch, that requires a certain type of kitchen.

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Have you been successful finding local, organic, sustainable food on your truck?
We do our best to source locally; I would say this is our number one priority. We are hoping that the trend catches on and it becomes easier for everyone to do so. We love working at Farmers Markets, its great to be able to walk a few feet off our truck and pick up some amazing ingredients. It's even better to be able to talk to the people who had a hand in growing it. That's the culture behind food that inspires us to cook.

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Any story behind the name Tamarindo?
We love Tamarindo, plain and simple. When we are in Mexico we buy it raw, peel it and eat it. My mouth is watering now talking about it. I don't know who came up with the saying “raisins are natures candy”… they obviously never encountered tamarindo. The natural combination of sweet and sour is just delicious and doesn't require any altering. Look out for Tamarindo shrimp in the upcoming weeks, we know its gonna be a hit!

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Are tamales working for you?
Everyone is really enjoying the tamales. We wish we could keep up with the demand but as you know, they go quick and are incredibly time consuming to make from scratch. We are going to be selling them in bulk for the holiday season. Tamales are very traditional in Mexico around Christmas and Posadas. We hope they bring something special to those who might not be able make it home this season.

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For years there were Mexican lunch trucks and not much else in the way of other food trucks. When the gourmet food truck craze started the only way you could find Mexican food was if it was fused with another cuisine. But your truck is straight up Mexican while bordering on gourmet. Are people grasping this concept?
The only thing we are concerned about people grasping is that we are passionate about cooking fresh and delicious food. Food can evoke so many feelings and it's our hope that our food does that for people. The word gourmet has gotten a lot of hype lately and it's hard to grasp. We use fresh products, clean flavors and cook everything you are eating from our little truck. It's what we are passionate about, eating real food from the earth with as little processing as possible. If that makes us a gourmet food truck, lunch truck or anything else for that matter, we will take it. Mexican food really can push the envelope and make you think, “Hmmm, what is that flavor I am tasting?” We choose to use traditional, fresh and at times deliciously simple touches to evoke that in the Tamarindo Truck experience. That's what we want people to grasp and we definitely think our customers are.

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Will there be any dessert items?
We will have dessert items in the very near future. We want to carry our theme of clean and authentic flavor profiles throughout our desserts, highlighting freshness of course. Some of our favorites include churros with a tamarindo caramel dipping sauce and delicious fruit popsicles just like all the ones you can find all over the streets of Mexico. We are partial to flan and buñuelos as well… But who isn't!


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Thank you to Sarah Resendiz for graciously answering our interview questions. We'll be highlighting other "Gour-Mex" trucks soon…

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