sort of food truck quick bite: indian tacos?
We are driving through Nevada (I think it was Nixon, somewhere way past Reno) when I started seeing signs for Indian tacos. Hmmm, color me intrigued. Of course, this is also the trip where I'm on my way to my first Burning Man and for those who've been, you kind of know, this area is real close to your final Black Rock Destination. It's when the long drive starts to get to you and all you can think is, "speed up! Let's just get there as fast as we can! We are almost there!" Problem with that is there is a speed limit in this area and burners can be easy targets, thus you have to fight that urge immensely.
This closeness anticipation also leaves you wavering about, should we stop for anything? Gas? Food? The answer to these questions is usually no. You've fully gassed up in Reno. There are enough provisions in the RV to feed an army. And, more importantly, it also has a toilet. Taken all together, we ain't stopping. Still, being unfamiliar with this particular type of food, I was torn till I figured we could just as easily stop and try one on the way back home. I mean, these little stands and their signs were plentiful, so it's not like I won't remember once I see those signs again.
Flash forward ten days and voila! Here we are having survived and heading back in all our grunginess. From here it becomes my own personal test to decide which one of the places to stop at. After rolling by a few, I finally spot one on the horizon and say, "that one looks colorful and cute, let's stop!" Maybe not the best way to chose a spot, but not the worst either.
Yes, I picked a tiny trailer painted with the bright Rasta colors of the Jamaican flag. Sue me, it looked fun. As you can see from the picture we weren't the only burner folk stopping at these places. How can you tell? Besides the "I haven't showered or washed my hair in five days look." He's basically wearing her pants and she is wearing his. In a nutshell, that's what Burning Man is all about (If you like, you can troll through my Instagram for that kind of thing).
But I'm here for food, so what is an Indian taco? I did a little search and really, it is more about the frybread that makes up the base of the taco. It's a simple deep fried dough created by the Navajo in the 1800's. Many folks say the Navajo still make the best, but evidently tribes across the country have perfected their own versions of it. It is used as the based for both savory and sweet things. Kind of reminded me of the funnel cake stuff you can get at state fairs. Though the dough itself isn't sweet like pancakes. It is more like tofu in that it will flavor up with whatever you add to it. My frybread version was by the Pyramid Lake Paiute and here it is all taco'd up.
Frybread topped with ground beef, pinto beans, shredded cheese, lettuce, tomato and red onion. Basically taco stuff. At $7 a pop it is completely a bargain because it is HUGE! This is like single serving pizza size in San Francisco. They don't skimp on the toppings here either. Veggies are fresh and the bread is hot and crisp. It's a big, hearty, filling plate of food. Kind of why it is hard to complain about it, but it's me and it's what I do. Though really, it comes down to flavor, it is rather dull. There are no spices in the meat or beans. Like the bread, it is all very basic. Not terrible tasting or anything, just bland. Sadly, the place we stopped at didn't have any salsa, sauce or pick me up to add for a little kick. Too bad, I think even a splash of Sriracha would have been just the thing.
Before all Native American nations come down on me, for the most part, I did enjoy this. And outside of the no kick thing, it does hit many of my sweet spots for trying. Right price, fresh meat and veggies, large size, etc. It is like a solid Midwestern dish, not many bells and whistle, just basic, simple food to fill you up. It's a what you see, is truly what you get kind of food. I still think it is worth trying, especially as a regional, traditional dish not necessarily available everywhere. Though next time, I'll be better prepared with my own kick ready at hand to add. I'm already adding it to my list of provisions for next years Burning Man road trip. I mean, radical self-reliance is one of their ten principles and for me, making my food excite my own taste buds falls squarely into that ideal. We all make Burning Man our own after all, right?