Talking Tacos with Chris’ Taco Stand

Earlier this month Meal Ticket reported the opening of Chris’ Taco Stand on the Temple University Campus. Considering the number and variety of food trucks on the campus, it is a surprise it has taken this long to get some taco action up there. According to Meal Ticket, Chris went to Temple and his credentials include working at Tinto and DiBrunos. I asked Chris about what set him on his taco venture and he answered, “I started with the taco thing because of experiences that I had traveling through Mexico. I think that tacos are the perfect street food. I love that the meats were being grilled right in front of me and perfectly complimented by the the heat and acidity of the salsa.” I have to agree with him there. It is fun to watch Chris work the grill, making every taco to order  inside his tiny, shiny cart.
The menu is straight forward so far, usually with 3 different tacos every day. The steak ($3) and black bean ($2) are available daily and he switches off the pork carnitas and chicken. As all good taco stands should, Chris offers a selection of Jarritos and sodas in glass bottles.   I got to try all of Chris’ tacos and I got some intel on how he makes some of his products.

The beans in the black bean taco were served whole, I might have liked them more if they were mushed up and had a little more flavor. It was thoughtful of Chris to include a vegetarian option, but I will probably stick to the meat.

The pork carnitas were served in chunks, not like the little strips that you typically except in a carnitas taco. But this made it easy to see that he is using good quality meat. I loved the bright pink pickled onions on top, they added another dimension of flavor that was missing (but his twitter account has let me know he has since updated the recipe). I will put it out there that my hands and breath were extremely stinky after consuming those onions, the kind of stink even Altoids can’t help. This would not stop me for asking for those onions on all my tacos from now on.

The chicken taco was actually prepared in more of a carnitas style. The small pieces were beautifully browned on the grill. The was picking up the flavor of coriander. This was my second favorite.

The winner and shining star of the cart would have to be the steak taco. Chris marinates skirt steak in a mixture of blended oil, crushed black pepper, coriander, cumin, lemon, lime, and paprika. After that, he seasons with salt and pepper and sears it leaving the inside rare. To order, he cut it against the grain and grills it for about a minute. For $3, you get many pieces of beautiful medium rare steak. The steak was the most filling of the tacos, 2 would probably be enough for a lunch. In future visits, to make it even better, I would ask for a topping of the pico de gallo that he uses on the black bean taco.  Hot sauces and limes are also available for your seasoning needs.

So far, business has been good up at Temple, but Chris will probably need a summer location for when the students go back home.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • Made to order truck tacos for cheap cheap cheap
  • The medium rare steak taco goes beyond what you would ever expect to eat from a cart
  • Jarritos and Mexican Cokes are exactly what you want to drink with your tacos

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • There could be a wait, after all it is only one guy making all tacos to order
  • Some salsa on the other tacos would amp them up
  • The black bean taco is not as inspiring as the others

Chris’ Taco Stand, 12 and Norris St , follow on Twitter for location updates



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