Every Tuesday, from 4pm until dark, live music fills the rolling hills of Hyder Park, children frolic, frisbees sail, hipsters hipst, and recreationists recline on their blankets in full leisure mode, waiting for their dinners, courtesy of three food trucks that preside over Tasty Tuesday.
Those that order from the Irrational Pie or Street Food Institute food trucks can remain in full relaxation mode until their orders are ready. They will send you a text when your food is ready. And if you choose a dinner of frozen treats from the Pop Fizz Paletas-mobile, you don’t have to wait at all.
Parents often begin with these postres, enjoying the unique pleasure of watching their children spaz away their sugar buzzes before dinner, via ice cream taco perhaps, or a raspberry, coconut or lime paleta, all of which are highly recommended.
My wife and I began with some pork belly tacos from Street Food Institute for the simple reason that we always order the pork from Street Food Institute; the Santa Fe-based operation has a way with pork that one misses out on at their own peril.
Mrs. Ari LeVaux leans more toward the vegan end of the spectrum than the pork eating, but those pork tacos, drenched in sauce, draped in garnish and sprinkled in white cheese, even had her murmuring with approval. Street Food’s banh mi, with herbs and pickles, could hang on the streets of ‘Nam. And the Korean pork, which I’ve seen in both taco and sandwich form, is next-level as well. It’s cooked to a chicharrón-esque consistency with a crispy exterior, while remaining succulent and juicy on the inside.
Be sure to ask about their agua frescas; we tried a lime jalapeño and a pineapple melon, both of which were delicious, refreshing and refreshingly unsweetened.
The Street Food Institute is a nonprofit culinary program dedicated to encouraging small businesses and entrepreneurs by helping them to develop cooking and business skills, while engaging New Mexico’s local food and agriculture scene. The organization’s somewhat presumptuous name is backed up by serious cooking chops. Be sure to ask about their agua frescas; we tried a lime jalapeño and a pineapple melon, both of which were delicious, refreshing and refreshingly unsweetened. Vegetarians will enjoy the calabacitas tacos, which are packed with colorful slices of zucchini. Children will appreciate the large grilled cheese sandwiches. I enjoyed a reuben, which contained a generous amount of succulent meat. The only portions at Street Food Institute that are not large are the “small bite” appetizers, like cheese fries. And given they are specifically called “small bites,” it’s hard to fault their quantities.
We also tried a pepperoni pizza from Irrational Pie that was basically solid pepperoni atop a springy, fleshy crust and a thick layer of mozzarella. Even better was the margherita pie, with its sausage chunks and basil leaves among the mozzarella and tomato sauce.
If your belly isn’t full after all that, here is a pro tip to help finish the job: There is an unadvertised dessert pizza at Irrational Pie that’s not to be missed. It’s something of a cross between pizza and calzone, filled with Nutella and bananas, toped with strawberries and sprinkled with powdered sugar. It’s a great cap to a special evening in a charmed corner of this crazy city.