If you’re going to have a battle, there’s something simple and clean about it being between just two combatants rather than a messy free-for-all. When it’s one-on-one, you can expect a resolution to the question of who won, and most importantly, why. And yet, that’s not what happened at the first Burque Battle of the Food Trucks, which was held one chilly December evening at Marble Brewery.
The Battle was a collaboration between Leo York, founder of Inhabitants of Burque, and Howie K, community manager at Yelp Albuquerque. Thanks to late notice, a recent freeze, and an “organic” advertising regimen, the only two trucks that showed were Gauchito Catering, with Argentine parilla in tow, and Dia De Los Takos, purveyors of fine local beer battered fish tacos.
It was a contest between the finest grilled meat to be found on the streets of Burque, and the kind of fish tacos that one might expect if New Mexico had a living sea coast. Choosing between them was as hard a decision to make as if it had been one truck selling red and another selling green.
The first two judges cast their votes: one for each truck.
It was up to Leo York to break the tie. After a moment of consideration, York said just about the only thing that he could reasonably say in such a situation.
“I don’t think I can choose.”
The boos came immediately. This is Duke City. There has to be a winner. An inhabitant of Burque was duly chosen from the audience to decide. A human coin toss, perhaps, but he picked Dia De Los Takos.
Now, about those fish tacos.
As we were at Marble brewery, the breading on the fish included Marble Red Ale. It’s a standard Dia de los Takos practice, explained owner Dominique Valenzuela, to use the local beer when set up outside a brewery. I got the special del dia: three tacos plus a cupcake from Princess Pastries for $8.
I chose the signature Baja Fish Tako, with “sushi grade” snapper, dry slaw and cilantro crème; a green chile fish taco (with two deep-fried roasted green chile pods per taco); and a special: deep fried beer battered avocado slabs.
As I waited, I could not resist my chocolate wafer cookie muffin. “Ever” is an overused phrase, so I’m cautious here. But no. It was the best cupcake I’ve ever had, and I could spend the rest of this article discussing it.
When my tacos arrived, I barely paid attention to which one I was eating. It’s like they were in a race for the bottom of my belly.
Dominique and company must be breathing a sigh of relief after squeaking by el Gauchito last week, but defending the title at the Battle of the Food Trucks Part 2 will not be easy. As of press time five trucks have lined up. Dia’s tacos are so good it’s hard to imagine anyone wresting the title away, but anything can happen in a free-for-all.