California taco vendors might be in a bad way these days, but here in New Mexico we’re still blessed with roadside vans serving some of the best little tortillas smothered in slow-cooked meats and homemade salsas.
Remember, a few weeks back, I told you about hauling off 1,480 pounds of metal collected in our backyard? That weird and wacky recycling center sits on Hwy 47, between Albuquerque and the Isleta Pueblo. It’s a curious drive past junkyards, gravel lots, the graveyards of clunky old cars.
Come lunchtime, a fair stretch of 47 simmers in the scents of hot air and roasted corn. Trucks are parked, tables set beneath awnings. Worm your way up to the window and order what you wantâ€”but don’t expect too much. Not in variety, that is. Though the signboards might boast a dozen items, this is an “authentic” sort of dining experience in which the cook has what she has, nothing more, nothing less. Beef? Chicken? Fish? Shrimp?
No, no, no, no, “only puerco.” So it was on a recent day. And a fine pork, indeed: succulent, tender shreds of pig meat that had been tended and attended with great spice and care. Scoop it onto a warm tortilla (or a torta bun, below):
top it with onion, aromatic cilantro, tomato, lime and your choice of salsaâ€”red, roasted red or guacamole greenâ€”and you’ll be stuffing your face just like everyone else who makes this little pit stop on 47.
Then sit back, relax, and watch the scene: Southwest airplanes rumbling overhead (airport up the road), and a big truck towing (by rope) a little dead truck with its engine in the bed. They jerk to a halt at an iffy turn. Then slowly, precariously, the two trucks bump their way into the lot across the street where old vehicles go to die. Forever at rest, with a view of tacos and the eternal aroma of pulled pork to keep them company.