Hey readers, get ready. We're putting new meaning into the term "street food." For Chow Bella's latest mission -- "Eating 16th Street" -- we've employed a young woman who's literally eaten her way around the world. Alex Rodriguez has eaten borscht in Moscow, steak in Buenos Aires and a "life-changing panna cotta" in Bra, a small town in the Piemonte region of Italy. Now we've set her palate loose on Central Phoenix's 16th Street. Rodriguez will try it all, from Jefferson Street north to Thomas Road -- and report back, place by place.
The Place: La Frontera Comida Mexicana Truck The Food: Tacos, tortas, burritos, quesadillas, tostadas, vampiros. The Back Story: Family owned and operated for over 15 years (different mode of transportation, of course). The Price: $9.50 for two tacos, a torta, and an agua fresca. Cash only, amigos.
Coming from a completely non-Mexican influenced city (Miami), you can only imagine the thrill it is for me to be in Phoenix.
There is Mexican food everywhere. Ah, how my ancestors would be proud. It was a thrill to see La Frontera Taco Truck next on Chow Bella's list for Eating 16th Street.
So, it's a truck, but it's a restaurant. As in, it doesn't move. But it has wheels. Make sense?
What you'll likely first notice about the stationary food truck is that it's not particularly inviting to the naked eye. Most especially on the day we visited (it was grey and rainy, so Mother Nature's color palette that day wasn't so lovely). But Mama always said, "Never judge a book by its cover," so we didn't judge
going in walking up.
We opted for two tacos ($1.50 each), a torta al pastor ($4.50), and an agua de jamaica ($2). Yeah, we'll admit that's a lot of food for one person. But you know, we're doing this all in the name of journalism, so whatever. The man who took our order was very polite and patient with my friend who doesn't speak Spanish. Brownie points! Everything comes with plenty of lime and fresh sliced cucumber. Extra brownie points!
Two tacos de carne asada came out by mistake. We actually ordered tacos de carne al pastor but we didn't mind the mix up. If things like that bother you, you should probably double check your order. The carne asada was simple. But because of the simplicity and, to be honest, lack of flavor, we kept having to drown them in the salsas provided on the tables. Sadly, even the salsas needed a kick.
Note: Salt is okay, people.
Allow us to be clear: these tacos were not bad. They just weren't great.
The torta al pastor showed better promise. Carne al pastor is generally a tastier meat, so perhaps that was this torta's saving grace. The Mexican sandwich came adorned with chopped lechuga, tomate, y aguacate. While the torta was a little greasy, the flavor was quite good. Nothing's better than a rustic, al pastor flavor. Extra salsa wasn't necessary, thankfully.
With a decent (though not fantastic) taco de carne asada, a good torta al pastor, and a banging agua de jamaica, we'll leave the verdict as: try La Frontera if you're in the area, but there's no need to go out of your way for it.
Eating 16th Street, So Far: Pollo Sabroso
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.