Monday, August 22, 2011

The Blue Route Taco Truck at Whole Foods: Eat the Tacos, but Hold the Chicken

There was a time when I probably would not have been caught dead in a Whole Foods. They quite simply did not have enough unhealthy options for my fat-and-sugar-loving palette. But now that the wife has me eating healthy (fruits and vegetables can taste good; how about that), I find myself going there a little more often. Plus, the fact that they serve beer not only in six-packs, but incredibly cheap growlers helps.

Well, add one more line to that list of reasons not to dread going to Whole Foods: they have tacos!

This past Thursday, the wife, myself, and Saucy Jr. checked out the Blue Route Taco Truck, a charmingly underadvertised haven for the taco lover on the roof of the market chain's Plymouth Meeting store. They had a Happy Hour deal (one that I believe will still be going on every Thursday for a few more weeks) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. where you could get three tacos for five dollars as well as one of their selection of canned beers for $1.99, and we figured, "Heck, why not? It's fun for three people to eat for less than $14. Let's give it a try."

The first thing that impressed me about the truck was the selection. They actually had a very respectable six-taco menu (as well as six different beers, and a variety of their 365 brand sodas and Steaz teas). For my meal, I decided upon the barbacoa beef with queso fresca, the pork carnitas with tomatillo sauce, and the spiced chicken with pico de gallo. The wife also partook in the barbacoa beef, but switched up the order with the Tecate fish taco with chipotle mayo and the special, which consisted of grilled chicken and cucumber salsa. Opinions were unanimous on the beef barbacoa. We both found the beef to be tender and flavorful, with a smoky taste that was complimented wonderfully by crumbles of queso and bits of cilantro. The wife raved about the fish taco (which I did not sample), especially noting that the beer-battered fish filet was not only delicious, but ample, and the cole slaw topper of cabbage, carrot, lime juice, and cumin seed ably bolstered the dish. For myself, I did enjoy the pork carnitas taco, even if I felt that the pork could have been a little bit more liberally spiced. I used up a whole lot of Cholula hot sauce bringing it up to a heat with which I could work. It also seemed to be maybe a tad overcooked with a little bit of a mushy texture. Overall though, I would say it won out.

One aspect of their offerings that needs work though are the chicken tacos. My spicy chicken taco was not spicy at all. In fact, I would have to say that it fell a bit on the bland side. The wife had the same to say about the grilled chicken special. Another thing that could have restricted the flavor on some items was the tortilla they used to house the ingredients. They used two shells on each taco, I suppose, to stabilize the insides and keep the dish from getting too sloppy, but to me it seemed like even one of their shells would have been too thick and now you were being asked to consume two (although I suppose I could have taken one off if I wanted to). This led to the shell, at times, seeming like the dominant element of the dish. This is something I don't think anyone wants to serve as the final takeaway when eating a taco (I guess there are some flour maniacs out there, but they can't be prevalent).

The beers we had, for some reason, both missed the mark. My selection, Cisco's Whale's Tale Pale Ale, from Nantucket, Massachusetts' Cisco Brewers Inc., lacked any sort of hoppy bite, while the wife suffered through a Wittekerke witbier, which I found to be stunning since I had always heard great things about the Belgian brewery that produces the beverage. However, I did try it, and she knows her beer. It was a dud. Maybe those are two brands that don't do cans well?

If you're looking for a cheap dinner (and maybe have to pick up some sort of soy-based snack that your husband is sure to despise), make sure to stop by Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting. You might want to skip the chicken tacos until the place has a little more seasoning, but the majority of the dining options will have you leaving happy and with a wallet of appropriate thickness.


Blue Route Taco Truck at Whole Foods Plymouth Meeting
500 W. Germantown Pike
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

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