A community united by tacos

 With the inception of the newly formed Asociación de Loncheros L.A. Familia Unida de CA.taco truck owners and workers banned together to fight for their rights to sell tacos. The community forum hosted by the union was held at the Casa del Mexicano and everyone and there mother showed up to support the trucks, the union and to bask with fellow taco lovers under a full moon and a full plate. During the meeting, the union reassured everyone in attendance that the union is organizing and working with both city and state officials to find a solution to the harassment the trucks face. The one of the biggest priorities mentioned during the forum was that taco truck owners and workers have rights that cannot be ignored and have to be respected. The trucks all operate with city and health permits that require rigorous regulations that require trucks to be within 100 feet of a public restroom and to house their at a commissary.

During the meeting, some members of the union and their children gave testimonials about the importance of value of the trucks. Seeing their eyes water up and hearing the passion in their voices instilled the importance that a lot of these trucks have been around for years and for some families it’s their only means of support. Taco truck owners are putting their kids through college and giving them the opportunities they never had themselves. The laws barring the tuck owners greatly impacts the livelihood of the families and the loyal customers, like myself, who frequent these mobile eateries.

Another huge issue that was discussed during the meeting was La Crisis and how it’s affecting the trucks and it’s customers. I for one have never felt prouder to be a proud taco truck patron. Like other’s there tonight, I grew up eating at taco trucks on any given weekend and my parents at one time were taco truck owners themselves. I know what it’s like to live the taco truck life style, the hard work that goes into it and the laws and regulations governing the trucks. 

In total, there were six trucks in the parking lot dishing out everything from tacos, to ceviche and tortas hogadas. Families and local residents all came to support because they understand and relate to the truck owners. They understand and sympathize with them because they know that all the truck owners want to to do is work and serve delicious food at reasonable prices. Many of the people I talked to while waiting in line agreed that the laws are unjust and should be revoked. Off the top of my head I can’t figure out how many tacos were given away tonight, but I know it was a lot.  

Being one to never pass up good food, I indulged in a torta hogada de carnitas. I thought it would be a great way to kick off the night, but man was I in for it. When I was handed my torta, I was asked if I wanted hot sauce. I replied by saying that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was even warned again that this was no ordinary hot sauce, this was some REAL SALSA. I paid no attention to his warnings and told him to make that torta swim. Half way into the torta I start crying not because it was that good, but because it really was that freaking hot. I manned up, finished it off and scrambled to find a truck with water. Damn that torta was hot. I think I just shortened my life by a few days after eating that salsa.


8 thoughts on “A community united by tacos

  1. I’m guilty of eating at taco trucks, but I am still divided on the issue. I understand that they operate with the city license, but I’ve never seen a rating on a taco truck. Anyway, what recourse do I have against say a restaurant if I get food poisoning? I guess I have better odds against a restaurant than a taco truck. I understand that with “La Crisis” taco trucks offer the best bang for the buck, but is it always the best bang when you get sick? I usually stick to a couple of taqueros but even that way, I’ve had my share of incidents with the food. Should I rat on them? Hold them to the same standards as restauranteurs are held? How about the sales tax? Have you ever been charged sales tax at a taco truck? Seems like a nice cash business where a good portion of taxes could go to the general fund of the city. You know, like for libraries, schools, parks, etc… But then again with “La Crisis” you are better off cooking your own food, eating healthier, and at the same time spending less money.

    PS Random – ask for a media ahogada next time… only half is dipped in salsa picante.

  2. When the trucks were banned, a lot of unlicensed vendors set up shop with carts or tables. The health risks probably increased significantly, because these vendors didn’t have running water.

    Also, while these trucks were facing a crackdown, nothing really happened to deal with a few vendors who have innovated their shopping-cart cooking operations by using hot charcoal to cook the food! I kind of like these shopping-cart vendors, but this was too much even for me. It’s very dangerous to be burning hot coals in a metal box, atop a shopping cart.

    As a big city, it is almost necessary to have street vending. They create businesses and jobs in the best-possible market conditions: a daily shortage. During busy times, there is generally a food shortage (you can tell because there are lines) and food carts and trucks help keep the people fed.

    These truck-based caterers are inspected, licensed, and operate safely, not only for the customer, but also for the workers. Having eaten at many trucks, I’ve only gotten ill a few times — and not really more than regular restaurants.

    In contrast, when I’ve eaten from unlicensed carts, or carts that are illegal because there’s no category for them, I’ve gotten sick more often. They just can’t keep the food hot enough.

  3. Good info and update on some of the real heros of free enterprise and the “trickle up” theory of economics.

  4. I speak from experience when I say it’s possible to cook food without a truck (and running water) and still be hygienic. Also, it would be nice if folks used food safe containers rather than 99 cent plastics to store salsas etc. but whatever, people have eaten “sketchy” food from the moment of our existence as humans.
    I’ve eaten street food all over Mexico and Los Angeles have been fine. My worst case of food poisoning came from a pseudo-fancy French-ish restaurant in Long Beach.

  5. Pingback: Another Victory for the Loncheros | YORK BLVD.

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