It’s tako night in Richmond

28 Jul

The Holy Trinity of tacos! BOKA Tako Truck in Richmond serves it up. Clockwise from top right: Shrimp and Grits Taco, Fish Taco with Agave Watermelon, Asian Beef Taco with Kimchi

I keep waiting to eat a food truck meal that’s sub-par in some way. You know… too salty, too soggy, too wilted, not hot enough, nothing special, etc.

Thursday was not the night for that to happen. I suspect it will happen at some point before the end of this trip, but in the meantime, I’m just going to enjoy buying food from people who are really good at preparing it.

As planned, I checked out Richmond’s Food Truck Court at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery. Every Thursday during the summer, Hardywood serves up its specialty brews and opens its parking lot to 1o or so local food trucks.

Thursday was really really really hot– as in, still hotter than 100 degrees after 6 p.m., and it occurred to me as I drove over to Hardywood that perhaps people would shrug off the food trucks in favor of their air-conditioned living rooms. I was way off.  Several hundred Richmondites (ers?) showed up to dine at the food trucks and drink ice cold craft beer. Pretty perfect summer combo, eh? Take that, AC!

Before I even arrived, I knew BOKA Tako Truck was a must-taste. I’d read lots about them and had been emailing with owner, Chef Patrick Harris. Technically, BOKA is a taco truck… specifically, that’s an oversimplification. While traditional Mexican street tacos (with lime juice, radishes, and cotija cheese!) will always be one of my favorite mobile meals, I appreciate the idea that you can put pretty much anything in a tortilla and achieve varying degrees of a favorable result (and by “you,” I mean hotshots like Chef Patrick– people who know what they’re doing).

Oh, and does he ever know what he’s doing. After agonizing over what to order, I settled on a trio of tacos:

The Asian: Shredded beef, kimchi, sesame aioli, Thai herbs (Outstanding! Chef Patrick makes his own kimchi– something I, admittedly, haven’t always enjoyed. I’m not sure what his fermentation process is, but wow! I also really dug the strong sesame flavor)

The Fish: Agave-marinated watermelon, white fish, habanero slaw, sweet soy (The idea of putting watermelon in a fish taco really knocks me out of my chair. This is the perfect summertime taco)

The Shrimp & Grits: Crispy prosciutto, onions, white cheddar, shrimp, grits (The addition of prosciutto, an alternative to the traditional bacon in this dish, was remarkable.)


Food truck essentials: menu, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, napkins, tip jar

I’m not sure I’ve ever had three items on the same plate that were more different from each other, or more individually perfect. And yeah… shrimp and grits in a taco?! I don’t know if Chef Patrick is the first person to hook up those two meals, but until someone tells me otherwise (and please feel free), I’m giving him credit.


Summer 2012 is making me very happy so far.


UP NEXT… Noshin’ in North Carolina!


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