On Wednesday Arne and I finally made it to Marble Brewery to try Dia de los Takos. I’d been excited to try this food truck since it was brought to my attention in a comment on my review for Supper Truck. My first opportunity to check out this gorgeous little truck happened on Vegetarian Week, but we were unperturbed: Dia de los Takos has a vegetarian taco every day. Also, when we are vegetarian we are pesce-vegetarian, and the specialty of this truck is a beer-battered Baja-style fish taco. I crave Baja-style fish tacos – forget those lame grilled-fish tacos, I want some crispy batter in there – and it’s surprisingly hard to find a really good one. So I knew we’d have all the options we needed
(Side note: I have seen the fish-eating style of vegetarian spelled pesco-, pesca-, and pesce-vegetarian, and I’m going with pesce for the simple reason that it’s what Crescent Dragonwagon uses. She’s one of my earliest food mentors through her wonderful cookbooks, and author of the 1100-page labor of love Passionate Vegetarian, and what’s good enough for her on this subject is good enough for me.)
We walked through Marble from the parking lot to the dining patio, and I’ll tell you this: The brewery is not hurting for business. It was about 6:45 on a Wednesday night, and the place was packed. All the picnic tables outside were full, many being shared by two small groups. The weather was gorgeous – ah, New Mexico! outdoor-eating weather on a mid-December evening! – but we retreated inside to the only spot available, a pair of cushy chairs with no table by the back door. Arne held down the fort while I ordered us two fish tacos and two sweet potato tacos.
It seemed that Dia de los Takos wasn’t hurting for business either. They offer one free cupcake from Princess Pastries with each order of three tacos, and they had liquidated six dozen before 7:00 pm. I was looking forward to that Funky Monkey cupcake, but not as much as I like hearing that our food trucks are doing a good business. I vowed to get there earlier next time.
I settled back into our comfy chairs and Arne went to order a beer for him and a Coke for me. (I’m not a teetotaler – though I was in college – but I’ve never learned to like the taste of beer. Arne reports that his Dark Secret beer was excellent.) Before he’d come back with the drinks, our tacos had arrived, hand-delivered two to a paper boat with a nice thick napkin – a nicety I appreciated.
I’m going to skip over describing the Baja fish taco – merely the best in Albuquerque – and move straight to that night’s vegetarian taco, which was mind-blowing. Let me be clear: We have been on a search for the best Baja fish taco in town, one with crispy batter that’s not too heavy, topped with delicious sauce and slaw, in a good corn tortilla that doesn’t fall apart in your hands. Dia de los Takos’ fish taco is all that. But it paled next to the brilliant beer-battered sweet-potato taco.
The chassis of this taco is very much like that of the fish taco; in fact, it was tricky to tell them apart by sight, especially in the brewery’s dim light. Both rest on a slightly crisped corn tortilla and are topped with tangy slaw and creamy sauce. But the magic of this taco is the vegetable. The batons of sweet potato are roasted to fluffy creaminess, then dipped in feather-light, tempura-crisp beer batter – the same batter used for the fish taco. They are then expertly fried so their crispness is unmarred by greasiness. The resulting combination of crisp, fluffy, creamy, sweet, tangy, and spicy is inspired.
We bought two more of the sweet potato tacos as soon as we finished the first ones. Honestly, I could have eaten them all night long, but we restrained ourselves. Sometimes I hate being good.
Dia de los Takos doesn’t always have the sweet-potato taco, but the descriptions of their other vegetarian tacos are enticing – especially the beer-battered avocado. I’ll be dreaming of that one – just imagine the seductive creaminess of warm avocado against the crispness of that batter! – until I get to try it. There are meat tacos too, of course. Wednesday night’s was the “Carne Ado Vato,” with red chile and apple braised pork, green apple slaw and cheddar. All the possibilities sound delicious – for more information, check out the Dia de los Takos website. All tacos are $3 each or 2 for $5 – an absolute bargain for such perfectly executed food.
The lavishly painted truck and its extremely friendly staff are at Marble Brewery most Wednesdays and Sundays, and make occasional appearances at La Cumbre, Tractor, and other spots around town. Check out their calendar to find out where and when you can get your fix.