By New Times
By Robrt L. Pela
By Lauren Saria and Heather Hoch
By Deborah Sussman
By Robrt L. Pela and Amy Silverman
By Kathleen Vanesian
By Eric Schaefer
By Heather Hoch
It's late. You're hungry. Options? Pickin's are slim in this town, unless you know where to look. Point your peepers to 16th Street and Van Buren. The Jack in the Box? Nah. The adult bookstore? Not now. Track down the truck. See it? The white one with the awning? The sign reads: La Frontera Comida Mexicana. That's the joint. Open from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. every day, 'til 2 a.m. on the weekends.
Now stop. Parada. Seriously. And prepare for a food wonderland on wheels.
Dig the scene: A few tables covered in easy-wipe vinyl tablecloths, metal chairs, familias busily busing their own tables, adolescentes pulling Jarritos (sodas mexicanas y del pais) from the truck's icy womb while yapping on celéfonos, a vagabundo trying to sell a digital clock for $5. Bustling, but polite.
151 N. 16th St.
Phoenix, AZ 85034
Region: Central Phoenix
Ready? Belly up to the truck.
Forget about your English. It's no good here. But don't puss out, gabacho. The menu is tight Sonoran goodness. All you need to do is pop off your pick to the señora agradable behind the window: First make good with the meat: carne asada (marinated and grilled flank steak), lengua (beef tongue), carnitas (pork roasted in lard and citrus juices, then shredded), barbacoa (meat barbecued in a pit), pastor (thin slices of pork marinated in achiote and roasted on a spit), or chicharrón (fried pork rinds). Then, tap its transport: Taco, burrito, torta, or tostada.
Por ejemplo: Lengua tostada, please. Un tostada de lengua, por favor.
Muy bien. Quesadillas? They got 'em three ways: mixta (grilled flour tortilla with meat and cheese), sencilla (grilled flour tortilla with cheese), or sencilla-maiz (corn tortilla with cheese). Choose your chow's liquid companion (all in gigantesco cups) of horchata, super-sweet limonada, or aguas frescas naturales.
Now dig for the dinero, amigo. You won't need much — everything at La Frontera's under $4. You heard me. Under $4. And cash only, por favor. That truck don't run on plastic.
Hear your order? Get your culo up to the window, ahora. Your meal is weighing heavy on a paper plate, surrounded by fresh-cut cukes and limes. Carry it back to one of the tables and make sure you take the bottles of salsa and guacamole.
Late-night, cheap Sonoran grub. Off a truck. ¿Qué más podría usted pedir?