Taco trucks became a noticeable presence in the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina, slinging fast taqueria fare in the parking lots of destroyed pharmacies and gas stations and moving around to wherever there were recovery workers.
The trucks catered to the palates of the many Hispanic and Latino laborers who arrived after the storm, offering hot food in harder-hit areas of town where restaurants were closed due to flood damages. They also were a small blessing for foodies who had long complained that the city ran short on authentic Mexican cooking. They became a symbol of the post-Katrina era, their images lampooned on Carnival floats and their offerings surveyed in these pages and elsewhere.
The Jefferson Parish Council outright banned them in 2007, but as time went on, it became harder to find them in New Orleans, as if their diminishing numbers were a metric of the city's recovery.
You can still find a few holdouts, however, including the resilient Taqueria D.F. and Taqueria los Poblanos, which recently set up more-or-less regular hours between a pair of Mid-City locations. When we were mired in the muck of early recovery work, trucks like these promised a fast, tasty, $5 lunch, and today, as a quick break on a busy day, their appeal remains just as strong.
Recent visits to Taqueria los Poblanos and Taqueria D.F. also turned up a meat option I had not spotted at other trucks before, one called buche. The woman making my torta at Taqueria D.F. described this as simply "pork," though its taste and texture were different from the pork carnitas and al pastor meats I usually order. Chopped into a chunky, salty hash, this buche was chewy, but also griddle-crisped, tasting here like bacon, there like chicharrones and sometimes soft but not necessarily fatty. A little research answered my questions: buche is pig stomach. Offal aficionados will want to give it a whirl, though I think I've satisfied my curiosity.
On most days, Taqueria los Poblanos is in front of the Home Depot at 500 N. Carrollton Ave. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. before it moves to the 100 block of South Broad Street, where it stays until about 9 p.m.
Taqueria D.F. has been on the 8800 block of South Claiborne Avenue (at the corner of Eagle Street) for years now. It serves from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. everyday except Sunday, when it closes at 4 p.m.