No Labor For Trucks On Labor Day…
It’s Labor Day. I’ve tried to track down almost every one of SF’s beloved new generation food truck to no avail. They’ve all taken the holiday off, which grants me an epiphany, are those trucks really here for us locals? However, I know where I can go. I can go to the entity that’s there on every holiday, the entity that is surely there for locals, the entity that started the whole damn movement without even trying. The taco truck in the ghetto.
That taco truck that you’d risk feeling uncomfortable, exposing your pasty underbelly, to sink your wooden teeth into something that melted off a face and turned into a delicious pot roast-esque texture. That truck that you had to machete through concrete jungle, rusty and barely recognizable cars, and accusing glares. Because you knew that type of food didn’t exist at your neighborhood Chipotle. But, I’m not going to write about a local truck, not yet anyway. This is a holiday after all. I’m going to write about my hometown neighborhood truck, and you’re going to like it.
It might not always be a pleasant neighborhood, but it’s my neighborhood.
I’m a fleer. I fled attempting to forsaken the impoverish environment I grew in and end the cycle of generational ignorance; I hide my working poor roots within my ex-boyfriend’s middle class background. However, today is different.
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I walk down the straight and narrow road (from my nana’s) that contains front yards burdened with shady trees bearing walnuts, almonds, peaches, figs and grapes. Why did developers stop planting fruit trees? They chose instead to plant trees that produce flowers that instigate severe allergies in humans and animals. On one road, I have eaten my weight in produce fresher than anything that the supermarket has and gratis. This road, so fertile in nourishment and food, is now left to decay at the hands of renters, property managers and landlords that could care less about the aesthetics of their cash cow. This road that leads me to…
Tacos El Sinaloense sits on one of the busiest streets in Sacramento and is popular amongst the Latino workers in the neighborhood. It even sits there today, on Labor Day.
I stood under the shady awning and devoured a taco de cabeza (braised cow’s head and cheek) and a taco de carne asada (grilled thin beef). The tacos topped with the most amazing salsa and not that watery and sometimes bland pico de gallo. One picante avocado based salsa that’s perfectly acidic with a slight tropical aftertaste. The other salsa tomato based, with cilantro leaves floating on inner tubes of slices of jalapeno. Tacos come with traditional accountrements: radish, cilantro, onions, pickled carrots and jalapeno and a lime wedge. The cabeza, cooked down into a most tender, and somewhat sticky, shredded roast texture. Unnecessary garnishes pushed aside, no benches to sit down, no accoutrement bar standing next to the stale tortilla chips. Just downright, honest, and affordable tacos.
Walking the three blocks to my mom’s house from this business, my senses become aware of my surroundings. A cauldron of Southeast Asians, Russians, Ukrainians and Mexicans…they make this neighborhood. When it’s time for the cows to come home and the blue-collared men to walk through the door from a day of busting their tuchus mowing your lawns and picking up your dog’s excrement…it all brings wonderful smells that linger on the horizon. It’s the smell of baked bread, fried potatoes, chorizo, charred chilés, curry, onions, garlic and pride.
Pride in what we create. Pride in how we live our life. As my face is sunbathed in that pre-autumn sunset and the Delta breeze, I don’t consider all the wrought-iron fences on this block barricades anymore. I consider them protectors of childhood memories. Protectors of heirloom recipes. Protectors of a sense of self…a sense of pride.
Yes, this is the ghetto. It might not always be a pleasant neighborhood, but it’s my neighborhood.
If you ever find yourself traveling through, this is where you can find El Sinaloense:
In the parking lot of Young’s Auto Center4285 Fruitridge Road Sacramento, CA 95820